SPECTACULAR ECONOMIC NEWS….
MOSTLY UNNOTICED BY PEOPLE PREOCCUPIED WITH MONEY, JOBS, DEBT
and EARNING A LIVING
(and UNTANGLING THE CONFUSION THAT EXISTS BETWEEN ECONOMICS AND FINANCE)
William Daniels Copyright. Please distribute this freely for non-commercial purposes.
(USA) 503-314-6902 I am available to speak, write on specific topics, lead
firstname.lastname@example.org workshops, etc.
This book is dedicated to my billions of billionaire-equivalent
sisters and brothers.
I am delighted to participate in informing us of our good fortune.
With thanks to: Wendy, my wife, the love of my life, my best fun friend, fan and supporter; the loving universe; all the people in my life (who have contributed to this, whether you know it or not); the people of planet earth; and you, a participant in this work.
When I first wrote this manuscript, I ended it with this:
And, finally, what could have been said first, and what really says it all: reality based economics is a love story. When you and I are in a true love relationship with a partner, child or friend, we "share with freely".
Well, since I realized that I could say it first, I am.
And, I am sharing this freely with you. And, I am actively looking for more things that I can share with you, freely. My goal is to do everything that I do, for free. I invite you to do the same.
Do it for fun. Do it for free. Do it for love. Do it to inspire and transform the world.
DATELINE 2009, U.S.A.
A NEW PARADIGM, A NEW OPPORTUNITY
THE CONDITION ON PLANET EARTH IS ABUNDANCE
WHAT IS ABUNDANCE?
HOW FAR AND FAST WE'VE COME
MONEY AND FINANCE IS NOT ECONOMICS
DEFINITION OF ECONOMICS
WHAT IS MONEY AND FINANCE?
MONEY & FINANCE, BY ITS VERY NATURE , DELIBERATELY
DETACHED and ERRATIC
COST OF A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT?
TECHNOLOGY VS. THE ENVIRONMENT?
ACTUAL ECONOMIC RESOURCES
CREDIT AND DEBT
THE SELF-MADE PERSON
MAGICAL, MYTHICAL, ABRA-CADABRA MONEY
"OWNERSHIP IS ONEROUS"
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON
WORKABLE ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT
YOU AND I AND EVERY HUMAN HAVE EQUAL VALUE
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
WHEN HUMANS FINALLY GET SELF RESPECT
ALL HUMANITY IS IN THIS TOGETHER
WHAT'S NEXT / INTO ACTION
This book is titled BILLIONS OF BILLIONAIRES for three reasons:
First, Wendy said I should.
Second, I'm paraphrasing something that I remember that Buckminster Fuller said around 1980. He said that we effectively have 4 ½ billion billionaires aboard planet earth, who have yet to be informed of their good fortune. It doesn't mean that every person can own multiple houses and automobiles and boats that sit wastefully idle most of the time. It means that we the people of planet earth have the productive capacity to provide every person access to the highest standard and quality of life and
free up our time to do whatever we love to do. And, extremely importantly, it also means that we can do this without destroying the environment.
Third, BILLIONS OF BILLIONAIRES is a catchier title than REALITY BASED ECONOMICS, which is what this book is about. This book reveals the spectacular opportunity that humanity is smack in the middle of, and is mostly unaware of, and what it will take to accept the opportunity. This book describes and distinguishes economics from economic management systems that use money and are therefore based on everything except reality. This is a book which looks at economics from the point of view of the facts, the point of view of the universe, the point of view of Reality.
There are many other titles that I considered for this work. I am presenting them here, because every one of them is technically correct. Reviewing them will help to reveal the clear, yet mostly unnoticed distinctions that this book is designed to reveal. It will help to reveal the mindset that this book is aiming to reveal, that is so needed by humanity. It will help to make the clear distinction between economics and money & finance. Each potential title illuminates an aspect of this work that will support the understanding of the whole of it.
ABUNDANCE BASED ECONOMICS; ABUNDANCE: IGNORED, UNNOTICED, UNREALIZED; ABUNDANCE UNSHACKLED; ACCURATE ECONOMICS; ACTUAL, FACTUAL, HONEST ECONOMICS FOR ACTUAL, FACTUAL, HONEST HUMAN BEINGS; ALL INCLUSIVE ECONOMICS; BASIC ECONOMICS; BEYOND MONEY AND FINANCE; CLEAR ECONOMICS; COLLABORATIVE ECONOMICS; COMMON SENSE ECONOMICS; CO-OPERATIVE ECONOMICS; COSMIC ECONOMICS; DEBT-FREE ECONOMICS; DIRECT ECONOMICS; DIRECT- ACCESS ECONOMICS; DIVINE ECONOMICS; DO IT FOR FUN, DO IT FOR FREE; DO IT, JUST FOR LOVE; EARTH ECONOMICS; ECONOMICS IS A STORY ABOUT LOVE; ECONOMICS CAN BE FUN AND EASY; ECONOMICS FOR ME IS FOR FUN AND FOR FREE; ECONOMICS FOR THE 100%; ECONOMICS FOR THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO LOVE (UNCONDITIONALLY); ECONOMICS FOR WE THE PEOPLE; ECONOMICS OUTSIDE THE BOX; ECONOMICS, THE 100% SOLUTION; ECONOMICS WITHOUT MONEY; ECONOMICS 001; EFFICIENT ECONOMICS; ENERGY ECONOMICS; ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS; EVERYDAY ECONOMICS; EVERYONE IS AN ECONOMIST; FACT BASED ECONOMICS; FAIR ECONOMICS; FINANCE-FREE ECONOMICS; FREE ECONOMICS; FREE-FOR-ALL ECONOMICS; FREEDOM BASED ECONOMICS; FRIENDLY ECONOMICS; FUNCTIONAL ECONOMICS; GENUINE ECONOMICS FOR GENUINE HUMAN BEINGS; GIFT ECONOMICS; GOOD NEWS ECONOMICS; GOOD NEWS: THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO MONEY; GREEN ECONOMICS; GUESS-FREE ECONOMICS; HEAVENLY ECONOMICS; HEAVEN'S ECONOMIC SYSTEM; HONEST ECONOMICS; HUMANE ECONOMICS; INTELLIGENT ECONOMICS; INTUITIVE ECONOMICS; IS ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE TRUTH ABOUT ECONOMICS?; KINDLY ECONOMICS; LIVING ECONOMICS; LOVE BASED ECONOMICS; LOVE AND SANITY BASED ECONOMICS; MATURE ECONOMICS; MONEY-FREE ECONOMICS; NATURAL ECONOMICS; NEEDS BASED ECONOMICS; NO B.S. ECONOMICS; NO MORE IMAGINARY ECONOMICS; NON-COMPETETIVE ECONOMICS; NORMAL ECONOMICS; OPINION-FREE ECONOMICS; PEACEFUL ECONOMICS; PEOPLE BASED ECONOMICS; PEOPLE OF PLANET EARTH: MESMERIZED BY MONEY, BLIND TO ECONOMICS; PRACTICAL ECONOMICS; PRE-PAID ECONOMICS; PROVABLE ECONOMICS; PURE ECONOMICS; RATIONAL ECONOMICS; REAL ECONOMICS; REAL-TIME ECONOMICS; RECESSION FREE ECONOMICS; RESOURCE ECONOMICS; RESULTS ECONOMICS; SANITY BASED ECONOMICS; SCIENTIFIC ECONOMICS; SET OURSELVES FREE ECONOMICS; SIMPLE ECONOMICS; SPACE AGE ECONOMICS FOR SPACE AGE HUMAN BEINGS; SPACESHIP ECONOMICS; STABLE ECONOMICS; NO MORE STEALING PLANET EARTH; STRAIGHTFORWARD ECONOMICS; STRAIGHT UP ECONOMICS; THE ABUNDANT UNIVERSE; THE AGE OF ABUNDANCE: MOSTLY MISSED IN THE FRANTIC SCRAMBLE FOR MONEY AND "EARNING A LIVING"; THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM OF HEAVEN AND EARTH; THE ECONOMICS OF FREEDOM; THE ECONOMICS OF LOVE; THE ECONOMICS OF PEACE; THE GOLDENAGE OF PRODUCTIVITY; REVERSING THE THEFT OF PLANET EARTH; THIS BOOK IS SUPPOSED TO BE FREE…. JUST LIKE EVERYTHING IS SUPPOSED TO BE; TRUE ECONOMICS; TRUE, SIMPLE, HONEST AND LOVING ECONOMICS; TRUTHFUL ECONOMICS; UNEMOTIONAL ECONOMICS; ULTIMATE ECONOMICS; UNIVERSAL ECONOMICS; VOLUNTEER BASED ECONOMICS; WAKING FROM THE MONEY TRANCE; WHOLE EARTH ECONOMICS FOR WHOLE EARTH HUMAN BEINGS; YOU ARE AN ECONOMIST; 100% ECONOMICS
The purpose of this work is: To expand access to true wealth, for all humanity. There is a saying: "It's not what you know, it's who you know". The meaning of this is that if I have access to the right people, I can gain access to something desirable, something that will increase my wealth. Access is the key to wealth. True wealth then, is measured by the amount of access that one has to goods and services that support the highest standard and quality of life, indefinitely. So, obviously, I (we) don't use up and destroy our home (Planet Earth) in the name of living in our home.
In this writing I have made a number of bold statements and assertions. I am making four Declarations. I am not trying to say: "This is THE TRUTH". These Declarations are starting points, places to stand and look and be, and then participate in life from these perspectives. I invite you to make these Declarations yourself, and live from them.
I am trying to reveal ignored facts that show a different and far better economic reality than we see currently, and that illuminates unnoticed and unprecedented good news. I am gathering seemingly unrelated facts and bringing them together into a cohesive whole. I am aware that you or I or others can pick around and find fault with one point or many. Even so, facts are facts, and this work is based on looking at facts. My intent is to share something wonderful with you, and to invite you to share and participate with me, and all of our billions of brothers and sisters.
I ask for your patience. We, all of us, me included, are used to looking at life and relating to life and our activities, according to how much money it costs, how much money we can make, or how much money something is worth. It takes some mental discipline and commitment to get beyond this ingrained and now automatic approach to life. Individual ideas from a new perspective sometimes seem nonsensical or irrelevant, until a moment is reached when a new and viable whole is perceived.
This work is a generalized look, a way of seeing broadly. Buckminster Fuller pointed out that we humans have become very specialized. We are experts in a narrow range of activities, work and research. While this approach produces useful results, it is incomplete. It fails to take into account both the larger and smaller patterns of what is happening in the world and universe, but also the side effects, problems and opportunities that arise from human actions and experience. We have explored and gathered data from almost everywhere on earth and are exploring the surrounding universe. It is now a critical need, that we the people give ourselves a generalized education.
Bucky Fuller looked at the universe and world as a single system, and humanity as a single family. Inherently, when we look from this perspective we desire to have everyone be successful. If I look at my body and say: "Everything is important, except my little toe." well, if my little toe gets cut off, and I ignore it, I could bleed to death. So, in a whole system, everyone and everything is important.
Bucky Fuller is most known as the inventor of the Geodesic Dome. That is only one of the tools he developed. He asked: "What information do we need, what tools do we need, what strategies do we need, for everyone to be successful?"
I worked with Bucky Fuller briefly, and studied his work quite extensively. He, and his work, and his relationship with his wife, Anne are the inspiration for this work that I am engaged in.
Reality based economics is rooted in common sense. You do not have to go to school, enroll in any special or expensive courses or be particularly smart to have common sense and to understand the fundamental principles of the universe in which we live. However you must be willing to have an open mind. Humans, all of us, are used to thinking in ways that we don't question or examine. We have a notion early on in life and never stop to consciously examine it to verify its validity. We grow up in a world that has money and uses money and assigns a money value to many things, and we never ask the questions: "What is money?" "Is money necessary?" "Is there a better way?"
To experience a wonderful new way of perceiving the world and your relationship to it and to all our sisters and brothers, you must be willing to consider the unthinkable. You must be willing to consider the possibility that some ideas we have about the way the universe works are wrong or, at minimum, incomplete, and that the facts of the human experience on Planet Earth today have never been faced before, and they call for a new approach to address them. You must be open to an expanded sense of relatedness and caring for our planet and all our brothers and sisters that are on it.
My intent is to point us in a direction, to follow paths of simple logic that reveal a cohesive whole to us, and the FACT that we have MADE IT, in terms of our capacity, our capability to provide a very high standard and quality of life for all humanity. My goal is to empower you to be more effective in your life, your interests and activities.
One of my specific goals is to free up our time. Our artists, our musicians, our healers, our teachers, our creative people should be free to practice, unconstrained by the requirement to make money to survive. YOU should have your time freed up, to discover and do what you love.
Also, I love to have people engaging with me directly, whenever possible. I invite you to get in touch with me, to give me feedback on this publication, and to participate in sharing this message with others. There are other specific projects that I am engaged in, or that you are engaged in, that we might collaborate on.
Many people are uninterested or intimidated by economics. They feel that it is complicated or boring. Economics, when understood properly, is neither complicated nor boring. It is what children are engaged in when they learn about dressing themselves, weather, growing plants, caring for animals and playing music. It is what everyone is engaged in. If you exist, you are engaged in economics. The basics are simple and understandable by almost everyone. When it gets complicated or boring, it is almost always because money & finance has been confused with economics.
IF you are willing to look at economics completely independently of money & finance, you too will see a far different economic reality than what you see when you make no such distinction.
DATELINE 2009 U.S.A.
There are programs to bail out banks, builders and homeowners, make loans to car companies, create more jobs, cut taxes, raise taxes, rebuild infrastructure, re-regulate financial companies and give taxpayer rebates. AND, NO ONE can say for sure if or when any of it is going to work.
We don't know what will work, in large part, because we don't:
recognize basic facts of the world and universe;
understand basic definitions;
know how to appropriately and efficiently measure and manage economic activity;
stand and act from the highest, life-enhancing ideas and ideals.
It is well known that water flows downhill and that it follows the path of least resistance, in other words, it takes the easy way. It can hardly be said that humanity's financial systems are the easy way to support human life.
Are we going to repeat the same old and tired routine of fixing and rebuilding financial systems that then still again go through cycles of growth, recession, depression, inflation, deflation, bubbles, crashes, politicians for sale to the highest bidder, frauds, identity theft, etc. etc. etc.?
Are we going to continue with systems that regard caring for the "house" we live in, called Earth, a "cost", that might be too high to pay?
Are we going to continue valuing all human activity in the same way, whether it be for weapons, reconstruction after war, art, music, prison building, farming, building a skyscraper, rebuilding after a hurricane, stock trading, space exploration or environmental cleanup, they're all just part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), just different ways of making a living? This is what humans have been doing for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Humanity's current situation suggests that the entire system is defective.
Just how many ways do money systems have to fail, before humans ask: "Is there a better system than money for managing economic activity?"
A NEW PARADIGM, A NEW OPPORTUNITY
We, all of humanity, are in a new paradigm. The triple combination of: 1) technological accomplishments, 2) their poorly managed side effects, and: 3) population growth, present us with an entirely new set of problems and along with them some amazing new opportunities, that have been considered unrealistic, and unattainable. We need to look from a different perspective on the entire subject of economics. And as is true with all paradigm shifts, things that seem unsolvable and unrelated or are little recognized or contradictory, suddenly reveal a new reality that resolves the previously unresolvable. Climate change, extremes of wealth and poverty, working just to pay the bills no matter how unsatisfying the job, the capacity to produce more than what is needed, saving money is good for the consumer, but might not be good for the economy, jobs for everyone, productivity increases, illegal immigration and free trade are some examples.
The Industrial Revolution began the rapid development of two types of machines. The first type of machines are the ones that can do what human beings can not do: concentrate large amounts of power, work much faster, work almost non-stop, perform in adverse conditions, quickly produce great quantities of an item, and pieces that are identical from one to the next. If all 7 billion humans got together in one spot and stood on each other's shoulders, we could not get anyone to the moon. If all 7 billion of us threw someone towards the moon….. still not going to get there. We need machines to do what we can never do on our own.
The second type of machines are designed to do what human beings can do: math calculations, assemble parts, clean things, move things around, and perform repetitive functions. The purpose of these types of machines is to increase the standard of living and to enable people to spend less time doing it. However, the standard of living is being reduced almost everywhere now (2009 - 2012) and for most people. Also the time that people spend working is not going down in many places, but in fact is rising. Every tool and every machine that does what a human can do is a type of "labor saving device". Why then are we not laboring less? Why bother inventing these machines if we are not going to labor less? Humans have successfully invented machines to do our jobs for us. Now we want to create new jobs. Self-defeating isn't it? Why is this contradiction NOT a matter of public awareness and discussion?
In 1972 I was a third year wood model maker apprentice, a skilled tradesman, in a job shop in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. We did work primarily for the auto makers. Word came that there were big changes in store. The company was acquiring a number of Kellering machines. These computer controlled milling machines were able to do a large part of the work that we had been doing by hand. What could have happened was that there was a big announcement: "Good news everybody. We have these new Kellering machines that are going to do half of our work for us. We can all work half time and still maintain our standard of living." What actually happened was that half the people kept their jobs and kept working full time. The other half, me included, were laid off. Now what we did was what most everybody in the world in that position does: anything to make money. If it destroys the land,… gotta make money. If it destroys the air,… gotta make money. If it destroys the oceans,… gotta make money. If it would never be done unless someone could be convinced to pay money for it,… gotta make money.
Many people, all over the world, have been replaced by a machine. We have been outrageously successful at inventing machines to do our jobs for us. Then we turn right around and say we want another job. Why? Why don't we want our time?
It sounds practical and good and holy to be constantly going for high employment numbers. We elect politicians when they promise to increase employment. We form or join unions in part to protect jobs, once they are created. But what if we have been so darn successful at harnessing nature's energy sources and discovering nature's processes, so that we could invent machines to do our work for us, that we don't need to work much anymore? What if our continued insistence on working and "earning a living" has now become a problem, a major problem? Why? How could that be? Because we are using our resources to do things that don't need to be done. We are using resources in a competitive, wasteful way rather than a cooperative and efficient way. It's not only not necessary to have everybody "gainfully employed", it's now counter-productive. We do anything that makes money, no matter how unnecessary or damaging to other people, other creatures, or the environment. Our major focus is on what I can do to "make money", "make a living" and not on "What do I love to do?", "What is in the best interests of all humanity?", "What is in the best interests of the environment?", "What is the most efficient way to deliver a particular product or service?"
If full employment is a truly desirable goal, there is a simple way to accomplish it: pass one six word law, everywhere: "All tools and machines are outlawed". Instantaneously every human being will be employed. We'll all be working our fingers and tushies off, just to exist.
However, if we keep our machines and manage them with money & finance, full employment is an absolute impossibility. Why? Because money is designed to deliver benefit to a limited number of people, not everyone. Lack of full employment is just one example. The issue of employment, though it stirs lots of emotion, and can help many but never all people, is not the issue that provides us with any genuinely new opportunity when looked at through the lens of money & finance.
Getting rid of money and finance and thereby providing the opportunity to every human, for full engagement, in living, by, for example: bringing up children full time, exploring, learning and researching, creating art and music, teaching, healing ourselves and our planet, is not only desirable, but possible. Our constant demand for a job, shows clearly that we don't recognize the opportunity we are smack in the middle of. Instead of demanding a job, we could be demanding our time. Let our machines do as much of our work as possible, without any loss of access to goods and services for the people who have been replaced, so that their time is freed up. Let our machines produce at full speed, until all humans have their needs met, and everyone's time is freed up. This also frees us up to build things by hand, should that be our particular joy. This opportunity is so blatantly obvious when we compare the need and the capability to meet the need, and so thoroughly hidden when we look through the lens of money and finance.
Money and finance is a made up system. There is no law of universe that states that we must have money, or how money must work, if we do use it. That's why the rules are changed continuously and then violated continuously.
In his 1981 book "Critical Path", page 223, R. Buckminster Fuller states: "…60% of all the jobs in the U.S.A. are not producing any real wealth - i.e., real life support". If this is even half way accurate, then it is quite clear that simply "putting people back to work" is not a genuinely desirable strategy.
We have a financial crisis that is causing multiple economic crises in large part because we don't understand the actual problem. The actual problem and opportunity in this new paradigm is: How do we produce and make available to every human being, all the goods and services that ensure the highest standard and quality of life, in the shortest period of time, in the most efficient manner, while restoring the environment?
We are in the midst of an unprecedented opportunity for human beings and this planet. The technical hard part is complete. The single fact that we are sending people and machines into space for extended periods is proof of that. The stage we are now in is a matter of education and choice, both individually and collectively. The following four declarations are fundamental to this new opportunity/paradigm.
THE CONDITION ON PLANET EARTH IS ABUNDANCE
It has been said that it is because humanity's know-how has increased at a much faster rate than population, we are finally able to produce enough to provide for all humans and at a far higher standard than ever before. I tend to feel that it has always been possible to provide enough for all. We now have non-human and non-animal power sources to drive our tools and machines and do a great deal of our work for us. Today, thanks to communication technology and information that is available on a world around basis, if we look at the information holistically, it is inescapable that we can produce enough for all. However, how or when we got the ability, to provide for all humanity is not the most important issue, for this moment. What really matters is that we have it, now.
WHAT IS ABUNDANCE?
Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1972, defines abundance as: "an ample or overflowing quantity." We should add: "to meet a particular need." Abundance is not just an unlimited supply of any and every particular thing. Abundance is a condition or a state in which results can be produced that are sufficient to fulfill all needs, indefinitely. In this state, there is no waste. Everything is recycled. All aspects of the environment are maintained in the most pristine condition possible.
The belief in either scarcity or abundance determines how financial, legal, political and military systems are set up or even exist at all. Scarcity and Abundance are foundational/contextual ideas. They each give rise to a distinct system of thought and a number of rules, characteristics and measures, which only make sense within their own system. Only one of them can be the condition in which we exist. All current systems are based on the premise that the condition is scarcity. "There is not enough for everyone, therefore I am going to earn a living for myself and my family. I am going to be loyal to my country and my country's allies. The rest of you are on your own. There is nothing I or we can do about it, that's just the way it is."
Looking at the pre-existing condition, before human beings lift a finger, we can see that nature (the universe) is extraordinarily abundant. In his 1980 book, "Critical Path", page 199, Buckminster Fuller states: "The quantity of physical, cosmic energy wealth as radiation (sunlight) arriving aboard planet Earth each minute is greater than all the energy used annually by all humanity". Air for breathing has been available without effort for all human history. Plants produce plenty of seeds to expand their numbers. Plants provide nuts, fruits, berries and vegetables as nourishment for animals and people. Human beings then observe and arrange the technologies of nature to produce even more of certain desired results.
HOW FAR AND FAST WE'VE COME
Right around the year 1900, there were a few thousand people who were the richest, most powerful people on the planet: kings, queens and heads of international businesses. Not one of them could: flip a switch to get clean, safe light; speak instantaneously with their top generals, governors and managers in the field; hear and see events happening live in other parts of the world; travel 3, 4, 500 miles in a single day using a vehicle sitting at their residence; fly to a place where they wanted to vacation; process data rapidly; access large amounts of all the information known to man, from their desktop or send one of their citizens into space. Now, only 110 years later, humans have: harnessed electricity, invented radio, telephones, televisions, moving pictures, automobiles, airplanes, computers and the internet, nano technology, bio technology, genetic technology and robotic technology, among many other things. We have been to the Moon and back, and have humans living in space, on a continuous basis. Not only have we invented and done all of these, we invented the moving assembly line, which greatly accelerated mass production, such that these goods and services are available to a rapidly growing portion of all humanity. Seen in the context of all human history, this is a stunning change, and brings with it new opportunities. It ought to have caught our attention, big time. It hasn't. We don't realize this, in large part because we pay attention to the money values that we assign to things, rather than to the underlying capability to produce goods and services, which for practical purposes is unlimited.
As Bucky Fuller pointed out, know-how, the ability to do more with less, made this possible, and in a shorter and shorter period of time for each successive item. The rate of growth of know-how is much greater than population growth. That is why the average standard of living for human beings keeps on increasing.
Since at least the 1950's studies have been done that have compared the number of people on the planet with the amount of food being produced. As far as I am aware, all of these studies have shown that we produce enough food to feed every single one of us. When the population was 4 ½ billion, in 1980, there was enough food, even though 40 million people starved to death. With a population of 7 billion, in 2012, there is enough food, even though we are on track to have 20 million people starve to death.
In the U.S. there is the Pez Museum, the Museum of Spam, the Barbed Wire Museum, the Museum of Trash and a registry where one can name a star after someone as a gift. A group of people in The Netherlands spent 8 weeks setting up 4.3 million dominos in order to break 8 world records when knocking them down. If all of these exist, if human beings have the time and resources to engage in these endeavors then clearly: The Condition on Planet Earth is Abundance.
Applying the rules of scarcity in a condition of abundance actually causes scarcity for many people in the midst of abundance for others. It causes undesirable side effects for everyone, such as pollution of the air, land and seas. There are billions of tons of no longer financially viable, partially processed materials, that we ignorantly call trash, and then incinerate or bury in overflowing landfills. We lose the beauty of the natural terrain. These discarded materials leach chemicals into groundwater and gases into the air, and thus become pollutants. There is nothing inherently polluting about them. They
are simply used in a way that is not supportive of life. Pollution at the core is much more a life-threatening process than a product.
Advances have recently been made in the development of prosthetic limbs. The research and development was instigated by the military in the United States. Advances had already been made in battlefield medicine, so that many soldiers who used to die of injuries are now kept alive. These injuries frequently result in lost limbs. The new generation of prosthetic limbs are quite remarkable in their capabilities.
Many other technologies have been developed either to fight wars or to correct the consequences of wars. Some of these technologies are then used for genuinely helpful purposes. The idea that war has some upside is then bandied about. This idea is very seductive. It is also immature, self-serving, short-sighted, vicious and un-loving. The unsaid presumption is that these advances could only be made as a result of war.
It would be far less costly in every sense of this word, and more fulfilling, to devote our economic activity toward the success of ALL humanity, from the get-go, rather than great expenditures of energy, materials, time, labor and know-how, being used to destroy first and then fix-up later.
Population has grown to the point where these merely undesirable side effects are now catastrophic side effects. The recognition of the true condition (ABUNDANCE) will ease the task of making changes, that will continue increasing everyone's standard and quality of living, despite population growth.
MONEY & FINANCE IS NOT ECONOMICS
DEFINITION OF ECONOMICS
There are a number of definitions of economics. However, there is one definition that is the simplest and most basic. This definition allows us to make a clear distinction between economics and money & finance. Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, defines economics as: "a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services". Today a better word than "consumption" is the word "use", reflecting the necessity to drop the idea that any material is throw-away-able, with the idea that all materials need to be recycled, and used continuously. There are other definitions of economics. In everyday use by we the people, politicians, and economists, almost everyone uses the words finance and economics interchangeably. However, by using this definition and by looking at economics and finance independently, and then comparing them side by side, some quite remarkable facts become apparent.
So: production, distribution and use of goods and services. Contrary to popular belief, none of these take money. Nature has never demanded money for sunshine, oxygen, gravity, crude oil, water, trees, photosynthesis, food plants or ANYTHING else that humans use in our lives and our activities. Stand back and consider this: the universe, the stars, the solar system and the earth itself, and everything on earth, collectively is an economy, THE economy. Nature produces stuff. Nature distributes stuff. Nature uses, and then re-uses stuff, continuously. That's what's happening. We are smack in the middle of, and are a part of, one giant economy, that we call the universe. The universe, which is nature, which is the environment, which is reality, and the economy are synonymous. Universe = Nature = Environment = Reality = Economy. Money & finance is NOT synonymous with economics.
Money is a "medium of exchange", whether in metal disc, paper strip or computer entry form. Prisoners sometimes use cigarettes as a medium of exchange. Native Americans sometimes used beads; all the same system, just different mediums. There is a movement to get back to a barter system, because it is simpler and less prone to abuse. What is unnoticed is that there is the same fundamental principle underlying all these systems.
No matter how much we reform financial/monetary systems the fact remains that economics and money & finance are based on different and opposing principles.
The fundamental operating principle of all barter and medium of exchange systems is: "What I can control, you cannot have. I'm going to withhold it from you …. unless you give me something that I value equally, to what I have". And we frequently add: "I really want you to give me something that I value more, because I want to make a profit". Money & finance is a "withholding from" system. It is a system based on control and "withholding from".
The operating principle of the universe, of nature (economics) is: "sharing with freely ". Nature doesn't demand money or payment of any kind, for anything. It allows access freely. Nature allows everyone to pick fruits and vegetables, absorb sunlight, have rain fall on them, breathe air and have gravity keep us from floating off into space. Nature allows airplanes built with U.S. dollars to fly equally well over countries using Yen, Euros & Yuan, and over oceans with no money system at all. To share with freely is to give a gift, and nowhere did the universe grant the right to control any portion of the gift and withhold it from others. We humans have claimed the right, and we have so blinded ourselves to reality, and seldom questioned the system that we've set up, that we now consider questioning it to be the aberration. But just because we have become used to a backwards perception of reality, does not justify its continuation, now that we have become aware of the error.
When humans visited the Moon, there was no tollgate. The universe did not say: "There's a landing fee here. You're staying two days? Pay the rent. You're taking minerals and resources back home with you? Pay up!" The universe does require that we observe its laws, the way things work, and the way things work doesn't change. For example, crops need a certain amount of sunlight, moisture and nutrients to optimize their yield, and airplanes require a specific amount of lift for each ton of cargo. There is constant and recurrent upset in financial matters because it is not fact based. The rules are made up to begin with, and then are changed and violated continuously. Humans have tried barter, mediums of exchange, slavery, tight state control, free enterprise and capitalism and done it within social, legal and political systems of tribes, monarchies and empires, feudalism, communism, fascism, socialism and representative democracy. None of them have nor can work long term. They are all out of sync with nature and therefore obsolete.
WHAT IS MONEY AND FINANCE?
If money and finance are not economics, then what are they? Money is a management tool. It is used to determine who gets access to goods and services, and how much access. Finance is a management system. We use money & finance to manage an economy, to manage economic activity.
This tool (money) has become the purpose for and the reason why we do things. Money is the primary goal of more and more of what humans engage in. If it has no monetary value it is not counted as economic activity. We have almost completely lost awareness of the clear distinction between the tool and the thing being worked on. It's as if you and I went to a fine restaurant. Everything about this establishment was oriented toward us having an exquisite dining experience, the softly covered floors, the comfortable temperature, the colors and lighting that made it relaxing. We sat down. The aromas stirred our anticipation. We selected a page of the menu with exquisite pictures. We listened as our waiter described the delicacy, and we started to eat …the menu. The menu is a tool. Money is a tool. When we confuse money with economics it is the equivalent of eating the menu instead of the meal.
If we ask the question: "How's the management system doing?" The answer has to be: "Terrible!" Starvation, homelessness, limited access to healthcare, decreasing access to education, extremes of wealth and poverty, environmental destruction, social unrest. How much worse do the results have to be, before we are willing to consider an entirely new system?
For the most part, when we ask: "What is the most economical way of obtaining or doing this, that or the other?" what we mean is: "What will cost the least amount of money?" This puts us in the position where things like this happen regularly: a bakery in Portland Oregon ships baked goods to Guam, 5812 miles away, and to South Korea, 5290 miles away. I haven't examined the facts of this situation, which is what is appropriate. However, common sense screams out to me that it must be possible to provide baked goods to the people in Guam and South Korea in a more efficient manner. I could be wrong. There may be a factor or factors that justify this. The point is that money usually trumps efficiency. Looking through the lens of money, causes gross distortion to the situation being looked at, or to the thing being managed.
Economics, which is based on reality, starts from a different place entirely. It looks at what is the need, and what is the capability to meet the need. It starts with the premise that the production, distribution and use of goods and services must have as close to zero as is technically possible, net negative environmental impacts. The Reality based economic approach then asks: "What will use the least amounts of energy and materials and human labor? How much time is available for production and delivery? And finally reality based economics requires that there is an existing infrastructure (except in the case of emergency) to deal with recycling all the materials in the product at the end of their use in this form.
After we have completely misperceived the way the universe works, after we have been told, and have accepted, that we have to earn our living, after the system of control and withholding has been implemented, we use money to gain access to goods and services. We use money to make it easier to trade unequal things, for example, artwork made by one person for a car made by 1000 people. The unasked question is: What other ways are there to facilitate access to goods and services for all human beings?
Money is also used for "winning". People who are successful at amassing a lot of money commonly report that money, itself is not so important anymore. It's now much more about the game, the game of winning. And in the money game, for every big winner, there are many losers.
Win-Win business transactions have become popular and gotten a lot of attention. However, the winning in most of these transactions is still extremely limited. What is called for, and is now possible, is to give a win to everyone: the people directly involved, all the people directly affected, all the people in the neighborhood, all the people in the city, all the people in the state, the country and all the other countries……. and to the environment in which we all live.
In the United States, the University of Michigan and others, constantly measure consumer confidence. Governments and businesses then set their policies, in part, based on consumer confidence. That is the equivalent of me taking you to the airport for a flight to New York. You board the airplane and get comfortable. The pilot taxis out to the runway. He gets on the intercom and says: "Ladies and gentlemen, we were planning on flying to New York this morning, but I have no confidence that the laws of physics are working today, therefore I'm canceling this flight". Flying airplanes doesn't depend on the pilot's confidence in the laws of physics. It depends on conformance to the laws of physics. Disobey the laws and the airplane doesn't fly, obey them and the airplane flies. The same requirement holds true for all activities. Confidence is a useless measure when used in the way that we currently use it.
Once most everyone is convinced "it takes money to live", those who control the money control people, on both the societal and the interpersonal level. Some monetary "get rich" teachers and authors explicitly reveal that the "golden rule" of money is: "He who controls the gold, rules". The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and central banks around the world use money to control governments and businesses. Governments and businesses use money to control their citizens, employees and suppliers. And, lest we place responsibility solely on "those rich people who are controlling us", let's look at ourselves. Husbands, wives, life partners use money to control each other. Parents use money to control children. Siblings use money to control each other. Friends use money to control each other. Consumers use money to control politicians and businesses. Is there anyone who hasn't used money for control? Almost every human is participating in the use of money as a tool of control.
Money & finance is a very stimulating game: the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. It is so much a part of life that we don't notice it or question it. And that's the point. We haven't asked: "Is it appropriate that we manage our life support systems in order to be stimulated?" If stimulation is the desired goal of our existence, then we probably have about as good a system as is possible. The stakes really can't be any higher. There are already lots of other species that humans have killed off, or endangered, due to our actions. Due to our own actions, our own species is also close to qualifying for inclusion on the endangered species list. Stimulation or life is the choice we are making, whether we recognize it or not.
I have never considered myself a gambler. I have played poker maybe a half dozen times and played slot machines on three occasions. When gambling is discussed, I mostly groan, considering it a burden, not something I look forward to. Imagine my surprise when I noticed my thinking one day, as I was considering a purchase: "I'll take a chance on this". It was in this experience that I could see how deeply that stimulation, in this case in the form of gambling, is engrained in me and us.
We have a space age, fact based, super abundant productive capability, being mis-managed, manipulated and suppressed by ages old, confidence, emotion, speculation, scarcity and fear based, make-it-up-on-the-run money systems. This way that humans interact with each other, has never been fundamentally or
substantively changed. Thousand-year-ago mule caravaners would feel right at home with our money systems. We can get humans to the moon and back, alive. We have humans living in space, full time. Great, fact based, technological achievements, and we still manage them with such erratic and unreliable tools. Certain "economic" policies were labeled "voodoo economics" in 1980 United States politics. What reality based economics makes clear is that ALL money based economic management is "voodoo economics".
MONEY & FINANCE, BY IT'S VERY NATURE, DELIBERATELY
Humanity produces enough food to feed everyone. This is a purely economic function. Economics allows us to produce abundance. Finance values scarcity. When a thing gets too abundant, we cut the supply, in order to keep the price up. Just follow the price of oil and The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). When there is a glut of oil in the market, the price goes down. When OPEC wants to make more money, they cut the supply in order to raise the price. So, we are in the position of having an abundant economy being deliberately suppressed by the financial system. Humanity produces enough food to feed all 7 billion of us. About 20 million of our brothers and sisters starve to death every year. They don't have money to pay for that food, that is available, so, too bad.
Look at how money & finance only value scarcity from the flip side. Has anyone ever said to you: "I am going to start charging you for the air that you constantly breathe, the sunshine that you soak up and the rain that falls on you"? No, and there are only two reasons, why no one has: 1) There is too much of it, it's too abundant; and 2) It's too difficult to control and suppress the supply and make it scarce. A place you will have to pay for air is if you go scuba diving. Air is scarce there, and you're going to pay, because it's scarce.
DETACHED and ERRATIC
Monetary systems provide "mediums of exchange" which are largely detached from the production, distribution & use of goods and services. Making money with money is a blatant example of this detachment. Placing zero monetary value on parenting is another. Is not caring for children providing an extremely valuable service, one that all members of society benefit from, when it is done well? Does it not use energy and materials, time, labor and know-how? The practice of each country's money itself having continuously fluctuating values is blatant detachment from reality.
The practice of paying women a different wage than men, and of paying people in China a different wage than people in the United States are obvious examples of the erratic nature of money. Doesn't a Chinese welder require the same degree of expertise as an American welder, if he is to produce the same results, reliably?
When money does have any connection to economics, it is in the nature of a rubber band: erratic. Experienced business people recognize that what a thing is worth is not fixed. What a willing buyer will pay to a willing seller, at a given moment, is what a thing is worth. The same buyer may only be willing to pay only half tomorrow morning, or that buyer may be willing to pay 10% more.
Kelley Blue Book publishes a guide to values for used cars in the United States. Banks and credit unions use it as a guide to determine how much they are willing to lend when a customer buys a used car. Since every car is unique in its combination of miles, features, condition, etc., pricing guides provide a standardized method of valuing them. People frequently say that their car is worth a specific amount, based on the Kelley Blue Book. However, if you ever go on the Kelley Blue Book website and look at the fine print at the bottom, you will see that it reads: "Vehicle valuations are opinions…", and opinions, you may have noticed, are not at all specific, they're variable.
Real estate values dropped in most areas in the United States around 2009. Let's say that values fell by 25%. If you lived in a residence that fell in value, did you notice that the square footage of your residence shrunk by 25%? Could 25% fewer people sleep there? Did it take 25% less paint to paint the walls and 25% less energy to heat and cool it?
Supply and demand is always a hot topic, especially among economists. First of all, since demand, as defined by economists, only measures people who are capable of paying, it is a grossly flawed metric. It gives an incomplete view. A complete and accurate report can only be attained by measuring need, of every human, and then measuring the capacity to meet the need. A clear and fact based plan of action can then be developed. Secondly, economists talk about the problem of over-capacity. Factories are capable of producing more of a given product than they can sell. There is more supply than demand, and this is a problem.
Question: In what universe, in what world view, is having more than is needed a problem?
Answer: Only in a world view that is schizophrenic, it produces abundance, but values scarcity the most; it uses a representation of reality rather than dealing directly with reality; it has so obscured and normalized it's beginning as a system of theft, it isn't even aware of it anymore; it is afraid that humans, with free time on their hands, will be troublemakers. (Much better to keep them ignorant and enslaved from the get-go, than to deal with any problems that might come up if they are free.); and it is a world view with limited self respect, where power and authority is given to someone else to protect and save and rule over one's self.
In November 2011 the U.S. Commerce Dept. reported approximately 18.8 million vacant apartments and houses. Some of them are vacant because it is no longer financially viable to live in the cities in which they are located (Detroit and Cleveland, for example). Some of them are vacant because the individual owners didn't have enough money to pay the mortgage, and they were foreclosed on and forced out. At the same time the U.S. has millions of vacant houses there are millions of homeless or poorly sheltered people. So, there is plenty of supply, and plenty of honest to God, real world, real live human being's demand. In a money & finance system, though, if you don't have money, you don't have demand.
So again, in November 2011 the U.S. Commerce Dept. reported approximately 18.8 million vacant apartments and houses. There were approximately 3.5 million homeless people. There were 5 vacant housing units for every homeless person, and no solution to homelessness was or is being discussed. Apparently vacant apartments and houses are not suitable for homeless people. Any common sense solutions you can come up with?
Our relatedness and our interdependence and our caring for our fellow men and women are mostly ignored in our competitively driven money and finance system. These are perhaps the most devastating consequences, in addition to the many negative ones that we have already documented.
There is the belief, well ingrained and yet unexamined, that competition improves efficiency. This is only partially accurate. To the extent that a new process is developed that uses less energy, materials, time or labor, or a new product is invented that meets a need, competition does improve efficiency.
What competition also does very well is to reduce prices. This is good for consumers and not good for workers. Since people tend to be both workers and consumers, competition is both a blessing and a curse.
Competition also tends to foster multiple companies producing mostly identical products or services. Cities have multiple cab companies that move humans from one location to another. Each company has its own complete infrastructure, including people, offices, dispatch technology and vehicles that serve the area (Inefficient). Each company also advertises its services (Inefficient). When a person orders a ride, she/he calls one of the multiple companies capable of providing the service. That company may not have the closest available cab (Inefficient). Since drivers within each company compete with each other for business, the driver that gets the order may not be the closest available driver (Inefficient). So this is where competition breeds extraordinary inefficiency and waste, waste of energy, materials and most tragically: people's time.
Multiply this one small example by every other situation on earth where individuals and companies compete and duplicate each other's systems, and it is easy to see the waste. Conversely, we can see the wonderful opportunity humans have to free ourselves. We have the opportunity free ourselves to do what we love to do rather than what we have to do to make money.
COST OF A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT?
There is constant conversation and debate about the "cost" of cleaning up the environment or the "cost" of not polluting in the first place. This is absolutely
nonsensical when one understands that the environment is the economy. The very idea that there is a "cost" (as in sacrifice, loss or penalty) in having a pristine environment is proof positive that money & finance has been confused with economics.
TECHNOLOGY VS. THE ENVIRONMENT?
The human developed economy is a subset of nature and is composed only of technology. Technology: "the totality of the means employed to provide objects necessary for human sustenance and comfort" (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). Think: Sun, fish, lettuce, chickens, eggs, almonds, caves, trees, iron ore, sand, granite, aloe vera, as well as tractors, factories, houses, dishes, phones and massage tables. The universe, nature, the environment, reality, the economy and technology, are all virtually one and the same, essentially synonymous, simply different ways of looking at one thing.
ACTUAL ECONOMIC RESOURCES
The components of the economy are Energy, Materials, Time, Human labor, and Know-how. The purpose of the economy is to support life. Buckminster Fuller looked at life support from seven aspects: Food, Shelter, Health care, Education, Communication, Transportation and Recreation. The only appropriate measure of the economy is: "maintaining access to an equal standard and quality of living for ALL human beings, indefinitely". Economic progress is measured by increases in efficiency and in the capacity to transcend limits, for example: communications satellites are more efficient than copper cables, and: flying enabled us to transcend travel limits in both time and distance.
Instead what we currently measure is how much money is made in various separate financial systems and what the (GDP) Gross Domestic Product is in these systems. GDP includes making money with money and life taking activities. Can we do better than this? The answer is: YES, we absolutely can do better than this!
If the sun stopped shining or seeds stopped sprouting, the human economy could not continue. Life itself would end. The reverse is not true. If money suddenly disappeared from the entire world, the economy could go on as before. There is a very revealing example that we can look at. The United States started a war with Iraq in 2003. There was no money to do it so it was not included in the budget. But this is a perfect proof that it doesn't REALLY take money. It takes resources: Energy like electricity, gasoline and nuclear power for ships; Materials like bombs, guns, airplanes, tents and food; Time to move material and people around in order to accomplish the goal; Labor to develop all the weapons and strategies and carry them out; and Know-how to do all these things better than the enemy in order to win. Wars aren't un-fought for lack of money, however they are un-fought for lack of resources.
The idea that we can't "afford" (don't have the money) to feed everyone or provide shelter or health care is simply untrue and nonsensical when we look in this way, at facts. There are many people and organizations that are genuinely and actively working to bring about a higher standard of living for all people. These efforts will become far more successful when the clear difference between money and economics is recognized. It has been well said that: "We don't ask for too much in life, but far too little". Some people have fear of "redistributing the wealth". The opportunity we have before us is to "unleash the wealth". This opportunity is truly about everyone benefiting.
CREDIT AND DEBT
Credit and debt are based on the idea that one can get a result, a product or service today and pay for it tomorrow. Let's examine this from the Universe's perspective. Lets say that I am a farmer, and I have a field that normally yields 10,000 bushels of corn, at harvest time, the end of the growing season. It's planting time, now. But a lot is happening in my family. I haven't had a vacation in nine years. Our daughter is getting married, and we want to participate. My brother needs help building a house, not to mention the second well I need to drill.
I walk out to my field. I look to the sky and I say: "Universe, I'm really busy this summer and don't have time to do everything. Would you be willing to give me my harvest, 10,000 bushels of corn, now? Next year I'll rent an extra field and plant twice as many seeds to repay you".
Ludicrous, isn't it? No farmer in his right mind would do it. Why? Because the farmer, and you and I, understand, intuitively, that the Universe is a "pre-pay" system. The result comes after the seeds are planted, they are watered and given nutrients, they receive sunlight and warmth, and they process, they mature over a period of time. Everything in the Universe works this way. The result comes after the crude oil is refined into gasoline, after the parts for the television and the airplane are assembled, and after the road is paved.
It's also ludicrous, and tragic, that humans finish building an automobile today and then
pay for it over a 3 or 5 year period. We finish constructing a house today, and then pay for it for 30 years. And then the next person to live in it, restarts the process and pays for it again. There are thousand year old buildings on earth that are still being paid for! In terms of the Universe, THE Economy, once a product or service is made available, it is fully "bought and paid for".
Credit, therefore, is a delusion, with no basis in reality whatsoever. It is a made-up, idea of how things work. It has no justification in reality. It is not designed to share the benefits of humanity's great productive capacity. It is only a way to make money, be in control and to gain an advantage over others. Debt is a form of enslavement, pure and simple, sanitized and sanctified to be sure: "You must pay your just debts". But debt is enslavement, none the less.
The flip side of the abusive aspect of credit and debt is that debt is a tool that can be used to pump ourselves up, to prove our worth, since we mostly don't claim self-worth just because we exist. And we don't, as a species, recognize worth based solely on the fact of existence, either for ourselves or any other species. We proudly pat ourselves on the back when we pay our debts, and then we inevitably discover that there are many other ways that we don't measure up, if we engage in measuring and proving. Both these uses of credit and debt are of no real value.
Some people would never declare bankruptcy. Well, I did it, and I highly recommend it. I am extremely grateful that it was available. When individuals or companies have arrived at an unsustainable financial situation, a point where there is no realistic expectation of being able to repay debts, bankruptcy is an option. It is a gift that we as a society have determined is appropriate to give.
THE SELF-MADE PERSON
There is an idea, a myth, that is deeply rooted and common for humans to engage, that is a block to accepting the gift of bankruptcy, and to accepting the fact that earning a living, paying my own way is not helpful. That myth is the myth of the self-made man or the self-made woman. The culture in the United States, in particular, values the self-made person, and closely tied to it, the person who: "did it my way ". It shows up in these other ways also: "I'm not asking for charity." "I don't accept charity." I'm not looking for a handout." People sometimes walk away from inheritances, to be able to: "make it on my own".
I used to be proud of the fact that I taught myself auto repair. I eventually had a shop that employed three other people. I had a race car and a racing team. I never took a single class to learn auto repair. I gave myself the credit. I patted myself on the back. I was a self-made man. Then one day I had a quiet awareness of a question: "From where did I get the ability to educate myself?" I realized that I couldn't take credit for having the ability for being able to pick things up easily, and with no formal training. That talent had to have come, as a gift, from elsewhere.
I later noticed that the vast majority of what I used to be able to teach myself and then to perform auto repairs, the foundation, I could take no credit for: my existence; language; harnessing fire, the wheel, and the lever; agriculture; weaving; writing; mathematics; metallurgy; printing; the invention of boats, glass, paint, the internal combustion engine, and the very automobiles I was repairing. The list could obviously go on and on. The point is that: no matter what the contribution that any one of us makes, it is quite small when compared to what came before, that enabled this particular contribution. Therefore: most reluctance to accept gifts is blind arrogance; ceding control of community affairs and giving greater access to goods and services, as a reward for another's contributions is lack of self-respect; earning a living is robbing myself and others the opportunity to experience the joy of Reality (since Reality is a sharing with freely system, I have to receive to fulfill my role). A quality that most rich people demonstrate, that everyone else of us needs to be able to demonstrate, is the willingness to accept an outsized return for our own contribution, the openness to receive without having earned.
MAGICAL, MYTHICAL, ABRA-CADABRA MONEY
From the New York Times, 8/19/2009, by Edmund L. Andrews:
"But economists say Mr. Bernanke's most important accomplishment was to create staggering amounts of money out of thin air."I'm reasonably certain that many humans engaged in producing goods and services would like to have Mr. Bernanke's creative ability. Would Mr. Bernanke share it?
From the Wall Street Journal, 3/13/2009, by S. Mitra Kalita:
"The net worth of American households was down $11.2 trillion, or nearly 18%, from 2007."
From Bankruptcy Action.com:
In year 1997, approximately 1.3 million bankrupt households owed approximately $36,000 in credit card debt, each. This yielded a total of approximately $46.8 billion of credit card debt alone wiped out in personal bankruptcy in one year. This total does not include person to person, medical, and secured debts wiped out. It doesn't include business bankruptcies either.
So, staggering amounts of money get created out of thin air, net worth goes down $11.2 trillion, $46.8 billion of credit card debt gets wiped out. Are you detecting a pattern here? Like the fact that money, net worth and debt have fanciful qualities, they appear
and disappear because some person said so, and the rest of us agree to the saying so?
Does the real world work this way? Can a car company a builder and a cook create cars, houses and meals out of thin air? Does the square footage of a house change when it's worth changes? When a meal gets burned, does the cook disappear the burned food? If we all agree that pigs can fly, will pigs start flying?
The idea of waste has two aspects: 1) this material has no value, and 2) it can be placed in a location that will have no negative impact. This idea is now absolutely wrong on both counts. All materials have value, whether recognized in the moment or not. Oil wells typically burn off the natural gas that comes with crude oil, because it has much less financial value. We realize that natural gas itself can be used as a fuel and other wells are being drilled specifically to produce natural gas. When materials get treated as waste they get put into the ground, the water or the air, where they act as contaminants, and they degrade the natural beauty and they become unavailable for easy reuse or recycling. Waste is an idea that only makes sense when looking at the world through the lens of money. It is only tolerable when the population is small and the negative consequences are also small, relative to the available space. Humanity and planet earth are well past the point where waste is an idea that has any validity at all.
"OWNERSHIP IS ONEROUS"
Bucky Fuller wrote those words. This is what I suspect that he meant: When I own (control) a means of production, a quantity of materials, or a parcel of land, that ownership is specifically designed to limit the benefits so that they go only to me and perhaps a number of others. When I own anything beyond what I personally use, I am doing something absolutely detrimental to the freedom and the well being of others. It is also detrimental to myself, which will be apparent, if I am willing to look from the broadest perspective. It is not a coincidence that the more we claim ownership on every level, from the personal to the nation-state level, the less free we are to move around the planet. Humans have gone from roaming the planet freely, to answering questions at borders, to passports, to body scanning machines to having all body surfaces touched in the search for contraband. …….Progress? …..Freedom? The more ownership we practice, the more extremes of wealth and poverty and the more social unrest. As a wealthy person, am I safer, more at ease, content, experiencing myself as a loving person among others who have far less, might have untreated diseases and clearly could be helped if I let go of control, of ownership? There is a saying: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown", (meaning: has the most control/ownership).
I'm in favor of eliminating all restrictions on humans roaming the planet freely, for peaceful purposes. We allow capital to move around the planet freely, but place more and more restrictions on people.
There is talk of redistribution of wealth, both for and against. I am in favor of redistribution of control, so that everyone, all humans are given more and more control, accept more and more responsibility, for all our affairs, so that wealth is unleashed, for the betterment of everyone.
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON
ECONOMICS // MONEY & FINANCE
Definition: production, distribution, use // management tool and system
of goods & services (self destructive, obsolete)
Fundamental principle: sharing with freely // withholding from
Motivation for action: support all life, common sense, // whatever makes money
Based on: facts // control, theft, confidence,
emotion, manipulation, speculation
Produces: abundance // abundance and scarcity
Earning a living: obsolete as a life long endeavor; // required for those not in control
machines can do most of it for us
Abundance: produces it // suppresses it to keep prices up
Medium of exchange: counterproductive // inefficient management tool
that has become the motivation
and goal of most human activity
Values: remain constant // erratic
Environment = the economy: fact // disregard this fact; ok to destroy
and contaminate the environment
in order to make money
Creation out of thin air: ludicrous idea // the norm
Credit and Debt: non-existent // "sanitized" enslavement
WORKABLE ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT
The obsolete, irrational, complex, wasteful and dehumanizing monetary systems that we currently use are not the only tools and systems with which we can manage the economy. Buckminster Fuller recommended that we manage our economy based on energy use. Arthur C. Clarke, the author of "2001, A space Odyssey" predicted we would do it.
Technocracy, founded in 1919, has proposed a system, based on monitoring energy that is viable. By measuring the energy, materials, process time, and human labor that it takes to produce and distribute every product and service, we are engaging in reality based economics. We are dealing with facts, undistorted and unhindered by ever-changing money valuations, what Technocracy calls a "price system".
The Venus Project, another reality based approach, speaks of "resource based economics" and what is possible for humanity when such an approach is adopted.
Computers now allow us to gather, store and process virtually all the data known to man, and do it extremely rapidly. Communication technology allows us to access, manage and use the data virtually everywhere on earth, almost instantaneously. These are the last two tools that were required to prove the validity of reality based economics, inform humanity, and implement and manage the task of providing for the whole human family. When we manage our economy in the most efficient way, we have direct access to goods and services, no money needed.
In his book: "Agenda for a New Economy" David Korten does not call for an end to money, but he does write that it's time for "Spaceship Rules". Excellent model! I haven't been aboard the International Space station, yet, but I'm quite certain that the American astronauts don't carry dollar bills and quarters with them. The Russian astronauts don't carry Rubles. The French astronauts don't carry Euros. None of them have a checkbook or credit cards, either. Why don't they? Because keeping track of the "value" of each person's skills, and then paying each other whenever a meal is prepared, a spacewalk is performed, an experiment is completed or a supply ship is unloaded is extremely cumbersome. It gets in the way of getting things done. Obviously!
Well, the 7 billion astronauts aboard Spaceship Earth are in a similar situation to those astronauts aboard the Space Station. Money and finance is way too cumbersome and sloppy for today's conditions, even when done with computer entries and not the physical money in hand.
The Basic Income Earth Network and The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network both support the idea of a basic income guarantee: "The Basic Income Guarantee is an unconditional, government-insured guarantee that all citizens will have enough income to meet their basic needs." This is the same model that universal basic education uses. It is a helpful direction to go in. However, it is still based on mediums of exchange, with all their inherent flaws. To address this issue, from a reality based economics view, we might put it this way: "The Basic Life Support Guarantee is an unconditional, government guarantee that all citizens will have enough goods and services to meet their basic needs." However, note the words "government" and "basic".
The real opportunity, from a reality based economics perspective, is this:
"The Maximum Life Support Guarantee is an unconditional, We, the People of Planet Earth guarantee that each citizen will have maximum access to all goods and services that are available."
In a cooperative system, the more you have access to, the more I have access to, also.
"Are you spontaneously enthusiastic about everyone having everything you can have?" "Critical Path" by R.Buckminster Fuller page xxxvii.
YOU AND I AND EVERY HUMAN HAVE EQUAL VALUE
The Declaration of Independence of the United States asserts: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal….". Equal in what ways? Our understanding of the word equal has expanded since these words were written. We now understand that it means that slavery is not acceptable. We understand that equal includes women and all races, creeds and colors of people. We are expanding still more to include people of all sexual orientations.
Perhaps it is time to accept the idea that ALL human beings have equal VALUE. Perhaps it is time to accept the idea that all human beings have equal value in all ways and in every aspect of life. This means that every human being has equal claim to all the resources and the highest quality of life support available on the planet. This is the way that Nature has set up the world. Air for breathing, sunlight for energy, warmth and light, water for refreshment and for cleansing and plants that grow in the same way and produce food for everyone equally is the normal and natural way.
Education is one way that developed societies, actually, already demonstrate the equal value of everyone. We strive to give everyone, equally, an education to specific standards. AND, we have found that this is so valuable to society as a whole, that we not only give it we also require that everyone receive a minimum amount of it. The most advanced societies make the highest education available for no cost. This is the perfect model to duplicate for all the other aspects of life support and sustenance and quality of life.
Some will say that "competition" and "survival of the fittest" are inherent attributes that make this idea of equal value impossible. Actually, simply redirecting these tendencies might work quite well. Lets compete with previous generations and with the "me" and the "us" of yesterday to see how much better "I" and "we" can be and produce today. Can't we see that when we don't value others that they don't like it and that they eventually make trouble, sometimes big trouble, terrifying trouble? The tools of destruction are becoming more easily available. There are so many ways that individuals and groups can cause trouble and disruption. We will all be far better off to genuinely care about the well being of our brothers and sisters.
If the Universe, as vast as it is, has seen fit to have you exist, then you must be valid, you must have value. Whether I see it or not, you must have value. Whether you see it or not, you must have value. The same must be true about me.
It is common to think that the bigger the group, the less I matter. That is one way of looking at it. The other way, that the bigger the group the more people I interact with and the more influence I have is far more satisfying and expresses self-respect. I matter, I make a difference, I am important, and so do You matter, so do You make a difference, so are You important. Buckminster Fuller and Mother Teresa both said it, one way or another, and lived it. Are we?
It's very stimulating to relate to each other as winners and losers ("the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat"). There is another experience available to everyone and that is the profoundly fulfilling experience one has when genuinely caring for ALL one's brothers and sisters. It is the experience of what it is to truly be a Humane Being. It is a matter of choice and it has results.
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This is Article 25: "1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of
unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. 2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection."
Millions of people are intuitively recognizing the value of each and all of us, and the great benefits that then result for each and all of us. This is a call to fully accept and implement the idea, the sooner the better. This is also an acknowledgment that this is what is happening all over the world and a thank you to those who are participating.
If The Success or Failure of This Planet, and of Human Beings, Depended on How I Am & What I Do; How Would I Be? What Would I Do?
WHEN HUMANS FINALLY GET SELF RESPECT
There is a myth in the United States that we did away with royalty when independence from England was won. This is hardly true and almost laughable.
Anyone remember "Camelot", the Kennedy dynasty, and now the Bush dynasty? Have you noticed how much attention and fawning over the British royals goes on? Observe how we fawn over and reward top sports figures; same thing with actors; same thing with rich people, our aristocracy (a form of government in which power is held by the nobility). Observe how political titles stay with the person: Mr. President; Madam Speaker.
It is true that we elect our kings, queens and other royalty, and we've changed their titles. But most of our royalty come from or are supported by, and then become aristocrats. So, we the people get manipulated by the aristocracy to elect the royalty the aristocrats prefer.
And the end result is still: We the people have kings and queens who rule us! Listen to the news reports. Listen to how it's reported: that we have elected people to power, (and they then do the will of their noble masters).
Humanity now possesses the capability to have most of our jobs done for us by our machines. They are called "labor saving devices". We have information gathering and processing computers to store and manage vast quantities of data virtually instantaneously. We have television, the internet and cell phones to communicate with almost all humans at once.
People constantly say: "If we let machines do our work for us, what will we do with all the free time?" "Idle minds are the devil's workshop." Well, aside from: doing creative things like art and music; traveling and exploring the planet, other cultures, under the seas and space; enabling both parents to bring up their children full time; spending much more time at leisure;…. we can manage our own affairs. We don't need to elect rulers. We don't need rulers at all! We can get rid of representative democracy and replace it with direct democracy!
We do need individuals to carry out the will of the people. But these people can have a far different role than today's royalty. They will not govern. They will not rule. They will not be elected to power. They will manage. They will administer. They will be trusted servants. They will be removable at any time, for not carrying out the will of the people.
…..WHEN HUMANS FINALLY ACCEPT THE SELF RESPECT THAT IS THEIR RIGHT.
ALL HUMANITY IS IN THIS TOGETHER
Bucky Fuller looked at the Universe and the world as a single system, and humanity as a single family. There is now enough interaction among people on board the planet that the fact of our interdependence and our impact on one another is obvious. We trade more products and have more peoples and cultures involved in the process. We see happenings from most everywhere on the planet and increasingly from space, on television. We experience other people and places firsthand through increased travel. Improvements in life support and life quality spread more rapidly than ever before.
The current multiple crises occurring all around our world, like climate change, financial breakdowns and corruption, food and water shortages and military buildups and their inevitable wars have consequences for all of us, also. Who among us is immune to pandemics, rising sea levels, polluted air, contaminated food or restricted freedom of movement because of security threats?
Bucky Fuller's commitment was to developing an economic management system in which every human was better off, every human would have a higher standard of living. How could millionaires and billionaires have a higher standard of living? How about the freedom of reduced security for home, autos, businesses and loved ones? If I have all that I need, why would I even consider taking something from you or kidnapping your children and holding them for ransom? How about the pleasure of travel in a clean and beautiful world? What about the great joy from sharing that is the clear experience of each of us when we do it? Everyone now has the opportunity to share with the whole of the human family.
Key to resolving all of these problems quickly and with great benefit for everyone is to recognize that we are a single human family. We are a single species. We live on a relatively small planet. There is only one team. "All for one and one for all" is how teams achieve greatness. Every person has a different role and every role is important.
Why should I work for the benefit of everyone? Because when I do I have 7 billion people on my team. All of you may not know it or accept it, but it's a whole lot easier to relate with you when I know it and act accordingly. (Talk about stress relief!) Then I don't have to placate, avoid, compete or fight with you while I am going around caring only about my interests. I'm always on your side!
The 99% Movement is encouraging. It recognizes that 99% of humanity have common interests. It will truly and fully participate in the transformation of humanity if it morphs into the 100% Movement. Every social movement, no matter how justified, if it pulls down "the other" and becomes dominant or uncaring of "the other" has failed or will fail. Take a look at our history. The only approach that humanity has not tried, and has even a hope of success, is the approach that values everyone and everything.
I hope that one of the laws of the universe (the way things work) is that no species gets off its home planet and becomes capable of influencing another until its operating principle is "sharing with freely" (love).
A common response and question that people have when presented with a proposal to do away with money, is: "What will motivate people to do anything productive at all?" Well, let's first acknowledge that money is a motivator, a strong one. Now let's ask if it is inherent in humans to be motivated by money, or is it learned? Were those early humans that harnessed fire, motivated by money? Were those who developed language, motivated by money? Were those who discovered or invented the wheel, motivated by money? What about agriculture, irrigation, the bow and arrow, boats, copper and the myriad other discoveries and inventions that preceeded the invention of money? What about all that you do that you don't receive money for? It might be time to simply drop the idea and the stimulating, implied threat that civilization will fall apart if humans don't have the carrot of money and the fear of devastation to motivate us. Will there be problems? Of course there will. But what we have already seen, is that the big benefit awaiting us is free time, time to do things like assist and support each other through problems.
Let's consider a hypothetical situation. The need for wheat in the United States management area is 2 billion bushels per year. Approximately 1 million people are needed to produce them. 788,000 people love to grow wheat, or recognize the need and even though they don't love it, they're willing, and have signed on to do it this coming year, in our volunteer based economic management system. The word goes out from the Wheat Production Team of the need for 212,000 additional people. 108,000 additional volunteers come forward. Residents in the United States management area have a system in place, that, when this type of situation arises, the worker draft kicks in, and eligible people in the mandatory 18 – 22 year old National Service Corp are chosen by lottery to fill the additional 104,000 wheat production jobs. If this situation had arisen in the Chinese management area, those folks choice is to simply produce less bread, and distribute bread by lottery.
Notice that the systems needed to implement reality based, volunteer economic management already exist. Humanity doesn't need such major changes that we have no infrastructure to do it, so it may take centuries to pull it off. No, we have ideas and models available around the world. What we need is love, and the willingness to reorganize in relatively minor ways, to repurpose existing technology, that will yield great benefits for all and will add up to, that will lead to, that will result in transformational change (a marked change, a radical one, for the better).
It is sometimes said that greed and hunger for power are part of human nature, and that we will never be able to love each other and fully work together. That may or may not be accurate and is beside the point. What we have now are economic management systems (money & finance) that encourage greed and have power and control being exercised by a relative few. The systems are designed this way.
In the United States, the founders of the country designed a system that institutionalized higher standards than they were practicing themselves and that allow people to grow into those standards. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are created equal. What they were practicing was that all white men who owned real estate were equal. White men without real estate, white women and people of color, were not equal and could not vote.
Slavery was once designed into the system of the United States and other countries as a legal institution. Today there is no overt, systemic slavery. We, the people of the world will not tolerate it. Does slavery still exist? Yes, and not as a legal, overt, drag you through streets in chains, whip you if you disobey, sell your children to make money type institutional practice. We do have much more subtle forms of systemic enslavement, as noted in the section on credit and debt, and this is what we now have the opportunity to eliminate.
So, we can see that we have more technical equipment, know-how and people than ever, we have experience in designing systems that we grow into, we have a viable proposal and we have a great opportunity, because the financial systems are failing all around the world, now. We may even surprise ourselves with how good we can make it and how wonderfully we can get along with each other. From cave dwelling to space traveling to democracy and human rights, that's what we've been doing, one innovation after another. We can do better, and we must!
It's time for us to "grow up", as individuals and as a species. Isn't it?
And, finally, what could have been said first, and what really says it all: Reality based economics is a love story. When you and I are in a true love relationship with a partner, child or friend, we "share with freely". And this is, as noted, the fundamental principle of nature, of the universe. There is a lot of lip service about love in our religions and our music and our daily lives. How willing are we to discover and demonstrate our love for our billions of sisters and brothers?
WHAT'S NEXT / INTO ACTION
For the whole human family: The stakes have never been higher.
The need has never been clearer.
The opportunity has never been greater.
When I have learned something of value I must act on it. I hope you have learned something of value. I invite you to act. You can contribute your time. You can contribute money. Money is a tool that can be used, interimly, to eliminate the need of using money.
Work with me, work with others, develop your own ideas. The following are some suggestions:
1) Do more of what you're already doing. People have said to me: "Good luck getting
people to go along with these ideas." This isn't something new and different, that we
have little or no experience with. Take a look at your life. Do you demand money
from your partner when you make dinner, give a backrub, answer the phone, bring
home a book? Do you charge money when you feed your baby, recommend a movie
to a friend, give directions to a passerby, smile at a clerk in the market, do volunteer
work? I have heard actors who win the top awards in their field, say: "I love my
work. I would do it for free." Everyone deserves to have that experience of doing
what they love to do, and the freedom to do it without the burden of having to "earn
2) De-monetize. Contribute everything you can as a gift, for free. Increase what you
gift, and decrease what you do for money. Volunteer your time, on your own projects
or with existing organizations. Encourage others to do the same.
- 3) Educate yourself. Read "Critical Path" by R. Buckminster Fuller (c. 1981) Read books,
- magazines, newspapers and listen to radio and television, being clear whether what is
- being discussed is finance or economics.
- 4) Educate others. Invite everyone you meet to participate. Educate them to educate others.
- As Bucky Fuller said: "We don't have an energy crisis. We don't have a pollution crisis.
- We have a crisis of ignorance." Again, the economic news is spectacularly good. Let's
- share it with all our brothers and sisters.
We are enslaved by the money mentality. We can be freed through education.
5) We need to build the new economic management system.
We need people, to:
Gather data about what is available to work with: energy, materials, human labor,
process time, and tools and machines, etc.; from government, industry, education,
environmental activist and media sources.
Develop the information base with that data. Make it public. It must be freely and easily
accessible to ALL humanity.
Work out the real world mechanics of how this system needs to work and be structured.
What issues and needs have to be considered? This is about unleashing the wealth for
- 6) I invite you to participate with me, directly, in this work. I welcome help in:
Comments, feedback, additional topics that should be addressed.
Getting this work out: mail, email, social media, workshops, video, book, etc.
Finding a publisher(s) to make my writings available in book form.
Building the new economic management system.
Funding, so I can do this work full time.
I would love to hear from you!
William Daniels Copyright. Please distribute this freely for non-commercial purposes.
(USA) 503-314-6902 I am available to speak, write on specific topics, lead
email@example.com workshops, etc.