Tag Archives: business

WORDPLAY REX

There’s a reason why I consider this post the “king” of the Wordplay Series.  If you continue reading and follow the math, you might just see it as you read.  It is what we all need to know but don’t really want to see:  an inarguable example of our self-destruction and probable demise.  I hope we all see it; we are capable of so much more.
 
As usual, it all starts with one little word, in this Wordplay example, that word is:

profit

prof·it

[prof-it]

noun

  1. Often, profits.
    1. Pecuniary (pecuniary: of or pertaining to money) gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction. Compare gross profit, net profit.
    2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
    3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
  2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: The company works on a small margin of profit.
  3. advantage; benefit; gain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to gain an advantage or benefit: He profited greatly from his schooling
  2. to make a profit.
  3. to take advantage: to profit from the weaknesses of others.
  4. to be of service or benefit.
  5. to make progress.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be of advantage or profit to: Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.

Origin:

1250–1300;  (noun) Middle English  < Middle French  < Latin prōfectus  progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1  + -fec-,  combining form of facere  to make, do1  + -tus  suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun

That’s what we put in the dictionary; its definition, but what about the word’s meaning? A word’s definition is not the same as its meaning.  A word’s meaning is determined by how we use the word in our everyday lexicon and many times, the meaning we give to a word is not even remotely related to its definition.  Or is it?  We are the designers and builders of our own reality, so to distort a word’s definition to give it a meaning that yields some kind of benefit to someone is both wasteful and absurd. We created words and language, assigned the definitions and the meanings; why go through all of the trouble to alter a words definition to achieve a particular meaning as subtly and clandestinely as we do?  It’s almost as if someone or something else had created language and definitions and “we” were purposefully altering something that “they” established as a rule.  Who are “they”?  We’re only fooling ourselves and cheating ourselves and in the end we really can’t, because our sense of self-preservation doesn’t permit it.  We end up facing ourselves in a mirror and the person looking back knows what the deal is.  Let’s start the sequence.  Look at the very last listed definition of the word “progress” above; it says ‘to make progress’.  Progress; isn’t that what life is supposed to be all about?  Making progress?  Improving your ‘station’? Making a better life for our children? You know, progress:  We make progress by making money which is also how we believe our ‘station’ is improved and making money is pretty much the only way that anyone believes they can make a better world for their children.  Progress.  Progress IS profit, according to our own dictionary.  To progress is to profit, also defined as ‘making money’ (definition #1) and that’s how we ended up where we are.  We succeeded in creating a world where the entire point and purpose of a human life is to ‘make money’.  That is what we believe.  Still doubtful?  Okay, let’s continue the sequence.  Given the established and formal definition of the word ‘profit’ just examined, it would be correct to state that since the point of it all is to “profit”, then by definition, all of us would be “profiteers” and the definition of a profiteer should be something to the effect of “a person who works or labors specifically to make profits” or at least that what the rules of linguistics yield.  Let’s see.   Following is the definition of “profiteer”.

profiteer

prof·it·eer

[prof-i-teer]

noun

  1. a person who seeks or exacts exorbitant profits, especially through the sale of scarce or rationed goods.

verb (used without object)

  1. to act as a profiteer.
 Confused yet?  You should be.  If this is the definition of profiteer, then the definition of profit must be “the EXORBITANT pecuniary gain…..”  and “the EXORBITANT monetary surplus…”, but it isn’t, so once again, according to the rules and language and linguistics, by including the word “exorbitant” (defined as “exceeding the bounds of custom, propriety or reason, especially in amount…) a distinction is made and therefore “profiteer” doesn’t mean ‘everyone who benefits from any kind of profit in any way’, it means ‘a person who abuses the practice of profiting’ (because that’s what a person is doing when they make an exorbitant profit).  That slight distinction (sigh of relief) is what lets the vast majority of us off the hook, right?  Please.
 
 Isn’t making exorbitant profit(s) (something that results in a condition called “being rich”) the most celebrated, venerated and admired thing that anyone can accomplish?  It is what everyone strives for today.  It is the goal of every college student, businessperson, worker, unemployed person, housewife and even children.  What is more admired and desired than to be the person who finds a vast quantity of the THING that everyone wants to buy and which sells for $100.00 everywhere, at a cost of $.05 (five cents) and sells a gazillion of them.  Even more admired are those who accomplish this with a THING that is commonly known to be a bauble, or a useless and gimmicky gadget that no one should waste their money on but everyone does anyway.  So powerful is this accomplishment that it overcomes human EGO – it may be one of the few or even the only thing than can do this; the human ego is virtually unrivaled in its power of human behavior.  How, you say?  That’s easy; of all the people who have actually done what is described above; the thing virtually everyone dreams of and strives for, how many have become famous?  Can anyone name just one of the people who have “accomplished” this?  Their names are not generally known and purposefully so, if we attach a name to the act described above; we have identified a crook, but by keeping names out of it, what’s left is the act alone: the practically effortless, virtually immediate and gargantuan accumulation of money achieved by exploiting a systemic defect, in this case popularity and desirability; each a result of the use of human judgment, which may just be the most defective of all systems of any kind.  This has become humanity’s “golden fleece”, it has replaced any and all other purposes or objectives in life, it is what everyone desires (secretly or openly) and it is all that matters.  It is also fraud.  Still unconvinced?  Very well, let’s proceed.
 
Look at the definition of ‘profit’ again; it’s at the very beginning.  Notice how many times the word ‘advantage’ is used in the definition ‘profit’?  It’s even the 3rd literal definition of the word.  As a noun and in the company of ‘benefit or gain’, it’s rather inoffensive and even permissible, to a degree, but it’s also a verb and here things change.  We think that “advantage” is a good thing and a good word.  It’s good to have an advantage in everything and anything; it increases the chances of success of winning exponentially.  It’s even better to have an advantage in any given situation and that no one know you have an advantage, that makes it even sweeter, doesn’t it?  It lets us say things like “They never saw it coming.” and “They had no chance.”  Definitely an advantage is a good thing, perhaps that’s why it’s considered a profit.  Let’s look at the word ‘advantage for a moment.

advantage

ad·van·tage

[ad-van-tij, -vahn-]

noun, verb, ad·van·taged, ad·van·taging.

noun

  1. any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
  2. benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
  3. superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over  or of  ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
  4. a position of superiority (often followed by over  or of  ): their advantage in experienced players.
  5. Tennis. the first point scored after deuce.verb (used with object)
  6. to be of service to; yield profit or gain to; benefit.
  7. to cause to advance; further; promote: Such action will advantage our cause.
  8. to prove beneficial to; profit: It would advantage him to work harder.Idioms
  9. have the advantage of, to be in a superior or advantageous position; possess an advantage over: By virtue of independent wealth, he has the advantage of his opponents.
  10. take advantage of,
    -to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity.
    to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.
  11. to advantage, to good effect; advantageously: The paintings were arranged to advantage on one wall.

Advantage  (etymology)

early 14c., “position of being in advance of another,” from O.Fr. advantage, from avant “before,” probably via an unrecorded L.L. *abantaticum, from L. abante (see advance). The -d- is a 16c. intrusion on the analogy of Latin ad- words. Meaning “a favoring circumstance” (the opposite of disadvantage) is from late 15c. Tennis score sense is from 1640s, first recorded in writings of John Milton, of all people. Phrase to take advantage of is first attested late 14c.

Wow!  That’s one powerful definition!  Other than its use in the game of tennis the word advantage defines a characteristic, trait or situation that everyone desires.  It’s the closest thing to a “sure thing” that we can get away with.  It’s also the result of Wordplay of the word “cheating”.  The line between having an “advantage” and plain out cheating does not even exist, we just choose to believe it does so we don’t have to face the fact that it’s CHEATING.
 
Now, let’s do the math.  When you correlate the definitions and meanings of the words “profit”, “profiteer” and “advantage” and factor in the word “exploit” (a word inexplicably absent in the morphology of this entire analysis.  A word so abusively Wordplayed that it is defined – IN THE DICTIONARY – as a “striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act” AND “to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity, to use selfishly for one’s own ends”, simultaneously.  Talk about irreconcilable, that’s probably why it’s been eliminated from the definitions of ‘profit’, ‘profiteer’ and ‘advantage’ – it would be a dead giveaway.) an inescapable conclusion is reached:  We have molded ourselves into a world where the driving force behind progress is fraud.  We reward the profit achieved through fraud but not the people who achieve it because we would then need to rewrite the definition of “hypocrisy”.  The money accumulated by profiting from an opportunity where one has the advantage, which is the same exact thing as saying ‘the money that one can accumulate by cheating in business and exploiting the flaws in human judgment in an unfair and biased way without remorse or regard for any consequence’ has become the highest possible achievement in today’s world.  It has become the point to anything and everything, the reason for living, the reason for getting up in the morning, the reason to do anything at all and that to which we owe our time and lives and existence to; it has become humanity’s new religion and money our new diety. 
 
In the end, it’s still fraud and a lie, neither of which work.  After all, everyone knows that the exploitation of a systemic defect is fraud, but it’s still what we want.  At least that’s what most of us choose to believe.  If you are still skeptical, just look in a mirror, no one can lie to the person looking back and that person can’t lie back.
 

Stop believing it.

 

We can do better.

 Citation list:

 American Psychological Association (APA):

profiteering. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from

Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

profiteering. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering (accessed: July 04, 2013).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

“profiteering.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.  HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering&gt;.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

Dictionary.com, “profiteering,” in Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: July 04, 2013.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@article {Dictionary.com2013,

title = { Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.},

month = {Jul},

day = {04},

year = {2013},

url = {http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering},

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A curious observation

Far be it for me to resort to raw commercial endorsements.  No, that’s not what this is about; however

PROLONG2many of you know about the product pictured here:  prolong.  It’s the stuff you add to you your Christmas tree water to keep it fresh during the time it sits in the tree stand.  The stuff works great, but it’s not only that.  It also gives me such a robust boner.

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Possibilities

It turns out that most of the things that are considered “impossible”, are not; they are just hard and require effort, but not impossible. We are becoming a planet of sissies – lazy sissies. Never fear having to do something difficult; if you absolutely must live in fear, then fear having nothing to do.

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As to giving up

It appears that someone else has give “it” a name and assigned it a date.  It is being called the “Fiscal Cliff” and apparently we are supposed to topple over it on January 1, 2013.  Interesting.  At least this gives some indication that there is a speck of sanity and an atom of awareness left in the human condition.  It’s not a fiscal cliff, however, if we were to apply that metaphor to the actual world, we went over that cliff in 2008.  After filtering out all of the “required modifications” to the language used, what is being called the “fiscal cliff” may very well be the bottom of the precipice that we have already fallen from (it is still incalculable to determine how far we will fall) and January 1, 2013 may be a probabilistic calculation as when we might hit that bottom.

It is simply insane that, at this stage of the process, all that we are capable of is to acknowledge the inevitable proximity of an unthinkable catastrophe and attempt to figure out when it will occur.   All that is missing is to take bets and give odds as to the actual date for it to technically be lunacy.

It is a shame; and to think that preventing it from even occurring is so simple.  All that we have to do is to realize that there is no spoon, because there isn’t.

I can’t let myself  forget, even for an instant, that giving up is simply not allowed.

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It’s all in the details…

Ever since there have been banks, one of their principal bookkeeping functions has always been  the daily reconciliation of every customer’s  account(s) and the posting of credits (on the right hand column) and debits (on the left hand column).  From the very first day that the first modern-day bank opened, the daily reconciliation has always been performed in the same exact way, probably because it simply made sense; nonetheless, every bank in every country has always posted the credits to every account first and then the debits.   There is no citable reference found up until now that establishes the order in which the functions of the daily reconciliation are performed, it has simply been that way always.  What this translates into visually can be described as follows:

Mr. H has a checking account at a bank.  On the morning of August 5, 2012 (for example) Mr. H had a balance of $50.00 to his favor in the checking account.  During the banking day of August 5, 2012, two transactions took place:  1) Mr. H deposited $2,000.00 in cash into the checking account.  2) A check, payable to City Gas Co. for $62.00 written by Mr. H and drawn on the bank was received for payment.  At the end of the banking day, when the accounts are reconciled, this is what has always happened:

  1. The $2,000.00 cash deposit is posted as a credit to the account, leaving a running balance of $2,050.00.
  2. The check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, leaving a running balance of $1,988.00.
  3. After posting all transactions, the account’s final ledger balance is updated to $1,988.00.  This is the balance that will be reflected for the account the next morning.

Simple, isn’t it?  After some pondering on the topic, I arrived at the opinion that credits were posted first as a courtesy to the customer, probably because courtesy still existed back then, but that is just my opinion.  If there is a law, a policy or regulation mandating this particular order of events, then it’s been very well hidden for whatever the reason, the point being that the posting of credits before debits is a matter of rote rather than a matter of statute.  It is also a pretty decent custom and a courtesy, which is probably why it’s never been an issue. Well, all that is about to change.

It appears that for some reason and at some unknown point in time, more than likely in the last 3-4 weeks, the banking system modified a custom.  Customs, require no authorizations, approvals or other mechanisms in order to be modified, they just are.  It can be accomplished by a simple inter-departmental memo or even by a verbal instruction; what’s the big deal?  It’s only a custom that’s being modified; it’s not like a major, official change or anything.   The custom that was modified is the very one exemplified in the opening paragraph; banks, at least two of them, are now posting debits before credits to the accounts held by their customers.   There was no announcement made, no newspaper articles or television reports, nothing on any of the news pages on the web; why should there be?  Legally, this was no different then moving the water cooler a little to the left in the lobby.

Let’s re-visit the banking day of August 5, 2012 and Mr. H’s checking account, only this time, the daily reconciliation will be run with the new modified custom.  It goes something like this:

  1. The reconciliation opens with a ledger balance of $50.00.
  2. An incoming check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, overdrawing the account.
  3. The check is returned to the bank that presented it for payment, with a notification that the account had insufficient funds or what is commonly referred to as ‘the check bounced’.  This leaves a running balance of $50.00
  4. The bank posts a $35.00 debit as a ‘returned item fee’ leaving a running balance of $15.00.
  5. The bank posts a $5.00 debit as a ‘misc. penalty’ based on the bank’s policy of charging a $5.00 penalty if any checking account’s balance drops below $20.00.  This leaves a running balance of $10.00.
  6. The $2,000.00 cash deposit made on that day is posted as a credit, leaving a running balance of $2,010.00.

-STOP- If anyone just thought: “Hey, he didn’t make out so bad; he ended up with more money than the other way.” Go back and do the math again, please.  Let’s continue because this doesn’t end here:

  1. The check that was returned had been deposited by City Gas Co in their general account.  It was sent to City Gas Co by Mr. H in payment of his monthly gas bill.  The Gas company’s bank will now charge the Gas Company a fee for a returned check that is anywhere between $10.00 and $50.00 depending on the bank.  The gas company is notified of the returned check and the fee.
  2. The Gas Company orders Mr. H’s gas service cut off and dispatches a crew to shut off his gas the next morning.
  3. The Gas Company puts the returned check fee that they were charged by their bank on Mr. H’s account.
  4. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 returned check fee.
  5. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 late fee for not having paid by the due date.
  6. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 disconnection fee and notifies Mr. H that it will cost him another $50.00 to re-connect his gas.
  7. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 ‘convenience fee’, because it can.
  8. The Gas Company will require Mr. H to put up a deposit of $500.00 as a guarantee of payment on account.
  9. Mr. H still owes the original $62.00 from his gas bill, and has no gas.  His house has all-gas appliances and heater, Mr. H lives in Gnome, Alaska.  It is mid-August, 2012 so Mr. H is lucky; today it was more than likely in the mid- to high ‘forties’.
  10. The Gas Company reports the incidents to the credit bureaus who in turn update Mr. H’s file and flag him.
  11. All of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card panic and close his account, regardless of the balance.
  12. One of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card not only closed his account in mid-cycle, when they wrote to him to inform him of their decision, they offered to accept settlement payment of $20.00 in lieu of the $80.00 balance on Mr. H’s credit card and the account would be considered settled.
  13. Mr. H’s three major credit card issuing banks, the two department stores that had issued him credit cards and the one gas station company that had issued him a credit card all turned over whatever balance (even $0.00) was left owing when they closed his accounts to their various collection agencies, even though Mr. H had never been late with a payment in his life.
  14. The collection agencies began a relentless telephone persecution of Mr. H; calling him at 7:00 a.m., yelling and screaming at him about being a lowlife and owing money.  They call his work, his father, his mother and pretty much everyone he knows, asking for him, or if anyone has seen him because he owes money.

It is very likely that this entire situation will continue, undisturbed and to a great degree, unnoticed.  It will take us, the general public, roughly two months to assimilate this new little detail, and by Christmastime, it will be simply another normal thing…normal.

Now, in the time when everyone knows that something has gone very wrong; half the world is desperately searching for a previously unidentified event in the recent past that can account for, be blamed for and ultimately be the foundation for the restoration of what was and the other half is bracing for something unspeakably horrible to happen, something that makes now feel like the warm up.  Nobody can predict the future, but there a very good probability that whatever caused the incomparably catastrophic collapse of human civilization’s infrastructure was neither a single event or one that hasn’t happened yet but instead a range of time where many little, tiny, insignificant changes in this mechanism or that system that were nothing more than details which benefitted only a few or even none at all at the expense of everyone, all achieved normalcy.

Personal Note:

Rarely do I personally interject in any math that I’m writing; this is one of those times.  Four days ago, someone that I’ve known for over ten years called me a “conspiracy theorist”, with a straight face – as if he were mentioning the color of the sky or anything else that might be considered ‘obvious’.   A conspiracy theorist?  I laughed for about 15 minutes, hard.  No one, ever in my whole life has called me that.  None of you; my subscribers, readers of the catalogue of calculations an those who follow my work (there are six digits worth) have ever even alluded to anything like that in all of the e-mails that I’ve received, which will require a long life to read them all.  I am about the farthest thing in the world from a conspiracy theorist; I’m a scientist, we don’t understand conspiracies, only facts.  Then I realized how this person could have come to such an outlandish conclusion; they found themselves having to compare (and therefore judge) the world and me, and from that perspective, I can almost understand, but I don’t.  That conclusion is an excuse to not think, to not see clearly, to simply be one more of what we are turning ourselves into:  pussies.  I’ll leave you with this for the moment:  first, the promise that I will answer the riddle of the conspiracy theories in my next post and finally; the image below.

What you are looking at is not a joke or a story, it is an actual button that was worn by the tellers of a particular bank chain between February and April, 2012 and then by the tellers of another bank chain between May and July, 2012.  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere right now.   It’s just a little detail; a promotion that is popular this year, from a certain point of view, it can even be considered ‘cute’ . . . NOT.

A little detail

A little detail.

It’s all in the details.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

 

 

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A metaphorical message (wink)

I just realized that I’m the only person that I know (and I know enough people to be able to do the math on this), who has not stopped paying their monthly housing payment since money and wealth died some six years ago.    In fact, once the math was done, it is astounding to see how people continue to live in the same house since it began even though they stopped making their monthly housing payment at the point when it hit them.  There’s no official count (nor would I expect there to be) but the math says is somewhere between “a lot” and “most”.

Given that the economic problem, specifically the fact that we are all broke (because there is no money left), has affected everyone equally, I still can’t help but to feel like I missed something, even though I know that I didn’t.  I think we all feel like that, in one way or another.

I wonder if any of them actually think they can bully their way out of this one, or even if they know that the wall behind which they have always hidden has been transparent for some time now.

 

We can do better.

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Where did all the money go? – (preview)

A small excerpt of the Introduction of the book “Where did all the money go?

For just a moment, consider the board game called Monopoly.  If it isn’t the most popular board game in the world it’s not far away and because of that, virtually everyone knows what the game is or has played it.  Now, try and remember any of the times that you played Monopoly; if you have never played Monopoly, and then try to visualize this.  Do you remember when the game became, a game?  Well after everyone has been around the board at least 3 times and two of you have a matched set of properties.  That’s when the game got intense.  That’s also when it started to get a little boring:  everyone had some money and some properties and a get out of jail free card.  It went from being intense to being “live and let live” and then… remember how all of a sudden you started making up new rules?  One of you would grant “immunity”, partnerships were formed, joint ventures founded, promises were made and broken and when that wasn’t enough, someone would take half of the orange-is $500 bills and say:  “Okay, these are now $5000.00 bills.”  Then it might be $10,000.00 bills.  Sometimes, you might just take the play money from someone else’s Monopoly and mix it with yours and if all else failed, you could cut little squares of paper and make more money.

Do you remember?

When we “grew up”, we pretty much did the same thing, but with “real” money and properties.  Whatever there was simply wasn’t enough, and suddenly it’s now and the very rules that keep our fragile civilization together have fractured and crumbled into dust, before our very eyes.   The straightforward and simple answer to the question asked by the title is that “money” didn’t go anywhere.  There simply isn’t any money, period.  We spent all the money that there was, is and will be for the next 500 years.  There hasn’t been any actual “money” by definition for over 35 years now.  We may call what we use as currency these days “money”, but it’s most definitely not money, it’s an aberration created by us which attempts to change and manipulate the rules of value and the laws of physics and which results in a self-defeating calculation with a systemic defect – kind of like what would happen if we“made” a bunch of additional $500 monopoly bills out of paper and crayons: and inserted them into circulation, immdiately folowed by believing any of it was real.

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A reflection

While reflecting on the events of the last year while I write the math for 2012, I recalled a detail that could also be considered a statistic.  Several different times during 2011 different people from different places in the world and from different backgrounds and in some cases having nothing more in common with each other than the fact that they are human, said this same exact thing to me,  in the same exact way and in the same exact context:

“Between 2002 and 2006, everyone was rich.”

Spooky, isn’t it?

ctwfrank

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An observation as to death

“I fear not death, nor the fact that it will, one day, visit me; but I cannot bear even the thought of not living.”

ctwfrank

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…and while we’re on the subject of GOLD

Okay, let’s continue being serious for a moment about GOLD.  The gold phenomenon, as I like to call it, is very closely tied to the events that led to where we are today, which can accurately be described as a cluster fuck, but on a planetary scale.  If we take this disease that is killing the human race (because our idiocy has become a disease) and boil it down to the simplest possible explanation, it would be this:  When we developed trade and commerce and an economy, it was good – very good; we shouldn’t forget that the human race went from being little more than a handful of half-starved nomads always moving and looking for food to having excesses, luxuries, slaves, titles, position and properties in the span of a couple of thousand years.  After 250,000 years of looking for food and water all the time, this was the blink of an eye.  Civilization, as it were, was gourmet fare for the human ego, which ate it up with gusto; the way only we can:  by gorging on what felt good now without giving a second thought as to…well, as to anything.  We just kept heading in the direction of MORE!  Why should anyone think that we could run out of anything – the first 3,000-4,000 years after the Neolithic revolution was phat!  There was plenty for everyone, in fact we wouldn’t come up with the concept of poverty for some time; remember, you have to be free to be poor and you would be surprised at the percentage of the human race that were slaves and for how long.  We acted without thinking, planning or considering the consequences.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  It was the same 12,000 years ago.  We may have airplanes and computers but we have not curtailed our insatiable appetite for irresponsibility by even a little.  You can count on a human being to fuck something up, and that we did, especially when we picked a metal: gold, to be the raw material for this new thing we called MONEY.  Money was such an incredibly addictive and irresistible goodie that it simply froze our minds.  No one and I mean no one thought about or worried about what we would do when we ran out of gold.  Maybe there was some ignorance involved, but anyone who has ever been in charge of anything since we’ve had money had to have known that people multiplied, quickly, but not gold, in fact every year, it became just a tiny bit more difficult to find new gold.  We didn’t need to pinpoint a specific year, but just knowing that at some point in the future it just wouldn’t work anymore because there would be more people needing to use money than there was gold to be money was enough to act on.  It’s typical of us.  Right now, even at this stage of our descent into who-knows-what, if by some chance a huge asteroid made of pure gold were to pass within range of our rockets and we lassoed that planet-sized nugget of the stuff that dreams are made of, anchored it to the moon, took its measurements, and started to figure out exactly how much hold was on the asteroid, we would get to “more than what we need right now” and just stop counting.  Why bother?  We hit our nut!  We filled up the hole that we made!  We would, and we all know it.  We would have gold orgies and the filthy rich would become indescribably rich and be happy, and the poor and downtrodden would still be poor and downtrodden but happy because they would still have that shitty job that barely paid them enough to live on – the one that they lost at some point between 3 years ago and today.  We would continue to ignore half of all of us – the ones that there was never enough for in the first place and they would continue to starve to death because even though our own stupidity is killing us, we don’t want to change because change requires thinking and actual work and those things make our brains hurt – unless there’s money involved.

So we ignored the math and based our wealth on gold.  Fine, so how did the whole wealth thing work?  How was new money made?  Up until possibly the 1960’s (that’s a guess, but I think a good one) for there to be new money, there had to be new wealth. This requires a quick recap of the history of human wealth.   If you recall, the wealth  of the world and of nations had always been food, which may very well remain as the only real thing of value in human history, and then we came up with the concept of money to use as a medium of exchange because it was simply too cumbersome and tedious to trade in food directly.  We chose gold as the material from which we would make the money that would represent the wealth (food) and be much easier to carry and transact since it is a soft metal and easily formed into coins.  Then we got so used to dealing and transacting gold, that we forgot it only represented wealth and, just as Aristotle warned, we confused it with wealth – but no one said anything, we just took it as a given that gold was the wealth of the world and when food came up in conversation, it would quickly be referred to as a commodity, usually in the futures market – yes, futures, as in; not yesterday or today, but the future, you know that thing that we can not predict but for some strange reason can buy and sell.  This continued and evolved until trade and commerce became so widespread (because we love to fuck and reproduce like rabbits) that a sub-category of money had to be created: currency (including paper money).  The first bank notes appeared sometime in the 16th century of thereabouts, in Scandinavia (That’s an interesting story, remind me to write about it sometime.) and it caught on quickly.  By the 19th century, paper money was in common used and was valued at par with gold because they were redeemable for gold at just about any bank.  During all this time, gold was wealth.  Paper notes were portable representations of gold and therefore notes were only printed based on how much gold there was.  At some point we realized that the amount of gold was finite; that’s when wealth became a privilege and we began to acquire it by using war or theft or fraud, you know good old fashioned proven techniques.  Then, all of a sudden, just like that:  there was no more new gold.  That was it.  All the money there was, was all the money there was, but the human progress train didn’t notice, it kept right on going.  Oh Shit!  What do we do now!  There’s no more gold to make more money!  If people find out, it will be a freaking disaster!  What to do?  What to do?   It didn’t take us very long, we figured:  what the heck, if we’ve screwed the pooch, then let’s screw it properly!  Nobody said anything, not a word, then, suddenly (and I mean suddenly) in August of 1972, the President of the United States of America went on the air (TV and radio) early in the morning, before the markets opened and rattled off a list of “executive decisions” which included:  “a 90 day freeze on prices and wages, an immediate 10% import surtax and the severing of the link between the dollar and gold (meaning that one could no longer want into a Federal Reserve bank with a $20 and walk out with however much gold that got them).  It got a little attention at the time, it’s getting A LOT of attention now.  That single act literally killed the concept that we know as money.  The price of gold was fixed in dollars and the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world (gold being the official currency).   Here’s the part that we MUST understand if we are to survive this.  The link between the dollar and gold was cut, not because of any of the reasons given (which don’t matter); it was cut because WE RAN OUT OF GOLD and someone at some point realized that there were more bank notes floating around that there was gold, not much, but just enough to blow the whole thing to kingdom come if anyone found out.  They didn’t have to do it, they chose to do it because the alternative was to do what we’re going to have to do shortly:  build a new economic infrastructure.  They figures, what the heck?  Nobody knew what was going on, it would take YEARS before the decision would begin to stink as it does today, so they cut the link between gold and the dollar and the wealth that was gold stopped at however much there still is.  That did not stop us from propagating our species however and developing technology and adding more people every year to that exclusive club made up of people addicted to excess and other people’s envy.  We continued forward and our economy GREW.  (Screeching record sound)  Wait a minute; didn’t I just say that we had run out of gold?  How could our economy grow if there was no new gold?  No new gold, no new money, remember?  But there was new money.  Crisp and freshly printed dollars were pouring out of the US mint and currencies all over the world continued to be incrementally printed and introduced into circulation.  But how could anyone get away with this?  It was easy, we printed money based on new gold that was BORROWED (it also didn’t exist, because there was no actual gold to borrow, that was just how they did the math).  This fictitious quantity of borrowed gold didn’t exist; therefore the convertibility of paper currency to gold HAD to be cut – because there wasn’t enough gold, get it?  This new “way” of printing money based on the assumption that if there were gold that could be borrowed, we would, but there isn’t, but we would if there were, so we’ll act as if we did and print money based on the value of this new DEBT.  And there is was, that’s how the DEBT was born.  We owe nobody approximately 52 trillion dollars worth of  “borrowed” gold, which never existed but was used to print currency that was spent as legal tender.  It was made possible because our banks created this money by issuing, buying and selling LOANS.  In some part of our non-functioning brains, it could be said that these loans were what created the “borrowed gold”.  At first, loans were made by banks with our deposits; yes, the loan that you had for your car or for anything, 25 to 30 years ago was actually other people’s money, deposited at the bank that gave us the loan.  They had permission to do this and, after all, we weren’t using the money, we deposited it, remember?  Very quickly however, the banks didn’t need our money, the money that they created by lending out our money and charging interest on it was re-deposited by the banks, and by the 1980’s, they didn’t need our deposits.  They were making new money left and right, lending out larger and larger portions of this gold that doesn’t exist to themselves and then transacting money on that DEBT.  Our governments told us, “don’t worry about it, we’re good for it, trust us.” Maybe this is why it’s called fiat currency, because fiat means “authority” in the dictionary (sic), but authority is the basis for credibility and credibility is the foundation of trust. You see, the root morpheme fiat also forms part of two words that came from Latin and are used by romance languages:  confiar; which is Spanish for TRUST and fiar: which is also Spanish for TO EXTEND CREDIT TO, TO LEND.  Wow, is all of this a coincidence? I don’t think so.  Am I a conspiracy theorist?; hardly.  This is simply what we did.  When we ran out of gold and we borrowed the gold that we would need if the gold actually existed, but it didn’t, so the only way to get away with it was to treat the DEBT as real.  This would make the “borrowed gold” real, as it were.  And they did, and we bought it and theydid it more and we bent over and took it all.  

This “debt” that took Greece and Italy from our world (because they are no more) is not real, but it is killing us and it might just succeed.  Now if you’re thinking, if it’s not real, then it can’t kill us, then you get detention and here’s why.  It’s like WATER.

WATER?  Yes, water.  We need water in order to survive.  Without water, we die, quickly, of dehydration, this is a commonly known fact and the visual image that comes to mind is of a person in a hot and arid place like a desert, dropping dead from the thirst.  Scratch that image for a moment and replace it with this one:  You are in a life raft, floating in the ocean, lost and adrift.  You are the sole survivor of a shipwreck and you’ve been out at sea for two days now, in the raft, in the sun with no provisions left.  You start to get thirsty, very thirsty.  You become delirious and suddenly you realize Wait a minute!  I’m floating in an ocean of WATER!  You laugh and you drink and drink and drink and 8 to 10 hours later, your kidneys shut down and you die, of what is essentially DEHYDRATION, because it’s not really WATER, it’s SALT WATER.  Oh, they’re both wet, but the salt water is poison and will kill you.   The DEBT is our salt water.  We ran out of fresh water and just began drinking that salty debt water up in our delirium for more.  If you can imagine some math to convert salt water to debt and establish a parallel between the time it takes salt water to kill a person and the time it will take the debt to kill what’s left of the human race, you could say that we’re in the 6th hour of the last 8 hours of our life as we know it.  If we keep drinking the salt water for 2 more hours, we DIE, but if we stop drinking the fucking salt water we will have landed on a sandy beach with a beautiful fresh water spring nearby and we will LIVE.

I want to LIVE and I think that you do too.  Please, stop drinking the salt water, it’s NOT REAL WATER.  If we stop feeding this nightmare called the debt and stop believing that it’s real, then we can just throw away the civilization that we broke and BUILD ANOTHER ONE.  After all, whose planet is this, ours or the debts?

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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