Digital Anarchy – The Implications Of Crypto-Currencies & The Blockchain And Their Effect On Civilization

February 20, 2018
A special guest post written by Phil White (with contributions by hebgb) and re-printed with permission.

With the recent explosion in volatility, and the inevitable crash that it portends (the financial crisis of 2008 will have been a mere blip by comparison,) it is important to understand what the world of distributed ledger technologies (and, to a lesser extent, the crypto-currencies underpinning them) can offer people in terms of financial security, individual sovereignty, and improvements to the human condition. This article aims to define the terms associated with this new technology, clarify some of the misconceptions about crypto-currencies, put to rest some of the fears many have, and introduce some lesser-known applications of this largely untested, but radically different system that promises to fundamentally change the way the world functions. The teams currently working on this technology truly are trying to change the world in order to make it more inclusive, diverse, accessible, and secure. It could rightly be called ‘digital anarchy’.

If you thought the crypto space was about digital cash, you’ve missed out on 99% of what DLTs will be doing for humanity. In the comment section of a popular financial website, Zero Hedge, the user called Mr. Universe said,
“I’m starting to mine ACME coins right now. I built a farm in a cave I painted on the side of a mountain.”
Although funny, it succinctly states that which many wrongly think about the entire CC space.

When people talk about Bitcoin, what they are really talking about is much bigger than even they realize. Most people think that using the term Bitcoin describes the entire crypto-currency space, all the underlying blockchain technology, and all the applications which have arisen and will arise from this technology. This is, obviously, an overly simplistic view and is akin to saying that the term ‘concert ticket’ adequately describes every musical genre, band, and instrument, and explains how all songs are written, recorded, and sold. So let’s disambiguate.

Bitcoin (BTC) has become something of a generic term used to describe everything blockchain. It is a mistake, and one made by most mainstream reports on the topic, to refer to BTC and other crypto-currencies (CCs) as though they were the same thing. It is also a mistake to refer to the blockchain as though it applies equally to all coins. Blockchains are not singular entities, but refer instead to a structure containing within them the data and the history behind every transaction applied through their use.  It is this process through which CCs and smart-contracts establish trust, account for transactions, and secure the information of such transactions for all time. There exist many blockchains, each with distinct properties, which can operate independently or be linked together into networks of networks. Think of a blockchain as a separate intranet, linked to many other intranets, all of which are connected (but need not be) through the internet. DLTs (distributed ledger technologies) can be thought of as the multitude of different blockchains. Some DLTs, such as Hashgraph (a consensus algorithm,) which is also a DAG (directed acyclic graph), are not technically blockchains but fulfill the same role.

BTC is a digital coin as are Ethereum (ETH,) Litecoin (LTC,) Ripple (XRP,) etc. Think of them as subway tokens. If you want to ride on the BTC line and take advantage of the benefits of BTC, you will need to exchange some of your money for BTC. The same applies to all crypto-coins. Each provides a different set of services with their own individual pros and cons. The BTC train does not stop at ETH stations, and vice-versa. To take advantage of ETH’s services, you would need to trade some of your money for ETH, and the same goes for any other coin. Blockchains are not (yet) fully compatible.
The entire BTC line can be seen as the BTC blockchain, the string of transactions which have already taken place and the data they contain. It is always growing. There are many ways to build a blockchain – some trains are faster than others, some are more expensive to ride, some require more powerful engines (and use more energy,) some have tinted windows to protect privacy, some are local, some are international, and some even go to secret locations. Some lines publish their maps and allow anyone to come aboard, others are private and only show their maps to members.

In this sense, BTC is to CCs as a certain blockchain is to DLTs; it is merely one of many varieties. Pardon the semantics, but unless referring to one individual blockchain, it is a mistake to refer to ‘the blockchain’ as a single entity.

Crypto-Currencies (CCs)
CCs describe all the coins which one can purchase in order to participate in a certain decentralized application. There are currently some 1500+ coins representing at least as many projects, some of which are designed to improve a current system, some are designed to create brand new systems, some are designed to turn a profit, but all share the goal of solving a particular problem or set of problems. Contrary to popular belief, CCs were not designed to act as speculative investment vehicles. CCs can best be compared to crowd-funding for start-ups. They are usually released through ICOs (initial coin offerings – the decentralized version of IPOs,) though they need not be. CCs can be traded over exchanges such as (in no particular order) GDax, Bitfinex, Bitthumb, Huobi, Bittrex, Poloniex, Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Cryptopia, QuadrigaCX, … like any other currency can be traded in the Forex market.

Decentralized Applications (DApps)
DApps promise to eliminate the middle-man by directly connecting users with providers over P2P (peer-to-peer) networks called the blockchain. For example, if Twitter was a DApp, tweets could not be censored because they would not rely on any one server which is controlled by a single entity. DApps and smart contracts are built on top of algorithms.

If eBay were a DApp, buyers and sellers would communicate directly without the developers charging fees, setting conditions, or refusing clients. The difference is that DLTs replace servers (by spreading computing power over multiple computers) so no third-party has any control over the transaction by controlling the servers through which they run.

If we compare a DApp like Bitcoin (BTC) to a centralized App such as PayPal, both of which were designed to facilitate payments, we see that while PayPal controls the servers through which financial transactions are made, and in so doing can control every aspect of the user’s account (holding transactions for up to eight business days, for example) and could even, through the actions of a bad actor, remove money from the account, use the account illicitly, or even close the account for arbitrary reasons, BTC, not being under the control of any one individual or group, does not allow for an intervention in any of the transactions passing through the network. This is what is meant by ‘decentralized’. (N.b. There is a possibility of compromising the network through a 34% attack, but more on this later.)

Forgive the repetitiveness of the above, but this point cannot be over-stated; the problem with the internet, its lack of security, and the ability for certain entities to control/censor large parts of it, lies in the fact that everything revolves around the use of servers. Servers are the means by which information is controlled. DLTs re-distribute the power of control and put it in the hands of the people using the system instead of those who own the servers. An excellent example of this is social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… can all, rightly, control what gets published over their servers. Wouldn’t it be nice if a social media DApp were developed which could not be censored? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no need for advertising (which doesn’t work anyways) and the spying which underpins it? (The only reason companies spy on users’ personal habits, the surveillance state not withstanding, is so that users can better be advertised to in order to pay for the infrastructure supporting the servers.) Wouldn’t it also be nice if authors owned the information they put online instead of transferring ownership to those who publish it? The very notion of free speech on the internet depends upon the ability to control the dissemination of that speech, itself. There has never been free speech on the internet. Everything can be censored. Much like if one were to visit a neighbour and act the fool in their home, the host would, and should, be able to kick that guest off of their property. Facebook is not a public space, Facebook is a private space. They can and do decide what is allowed. The government can block protests on public land because, in this case, ‘public land’ is merely a designation; the land is owned by the government. Nobody owns the blockchain.

The truth is that the world is in the process of undergoing a massive change in the way it conducts its business. It is crucially important for everyone to grasp exactly what is involved as it will surely affect the lives of everyone on Earth and change the way people look at life, business, finance, social networks, the internet, governments, elections, privacy, freedom… which are all going to have to change in a fundamental way.

Permissions, nodes, layers, shards, and APIs
Permissioned ledgers/networks are relatively simple in terms of incentives; your incentive for running a node (one of the computers that is running the system – approving transactions, storing data, etc.) is participation; if you want to play a game, you must join that game’s network, and means you need permission to run a node. Airlines could each be a node in the airline network. Musical artists could be their own nodes, or brokers could run their nodes for them. Why not buy concert tickets from the artist directly? On public networks (non-permissioned ledgers,) the incentives are much more complex, and will not be discussed here.

One can think of networked communications as comprised of a series of layers. There can be a crypto currency layer, a consensus layer, a security layer, a data layer, etc., and all of these are built upon each other. They can be described as an algorithm sandwich. Every layer slows down the system, introduces additional points for bugs to creep in, and increases the complexity of communication between the layers. Speed, throughput (the amount of information being processed within a system in a given amount of time,) security, and fairness must be maintained throughout all the layers despite constant additions. The pieces of the layers cannot be thought of individually, they must be addressed holistically.

Systems that use many shards (the partitioning of databases into smaller parts) need to be fast, but systems that need to operate on only one shard need fast shards. Shards are like processors in your computer; some programs need many, some need only one. Some applications/programs will not be any better if there are many shards. Some need the multiple shards to run more efficiently. This is largely relative to the size of the network. Shards can be looked at as bricks. Even if the security of one shard is good, how will the security be affected when putting these shards together? Strong bricks can build weak walls or strong walls, whereas weak bricks can only build weak walls. Shards are being built to be modular so that if a better brick is developed, it can be inserted into the wall at a later date.

An application programming interface (API) is, in basic terms, a way for different components of a program to communicate together.

Common Myths About CCs
There are many false notions about CCs which are being put forth by otherwise well-educated and well-intentioned individuals and organizations. Several economists, bankers, traders, politicians, and others have been arguing against the advent of CCs. The arguments they raise against the use of blockchain as it pertains to money are well known but are usually not very accurate and can be very biased. The following are a selection of common myths, misconceptions, and arguments which are, at best, weak.

No backing, no intrinsic value
It has been said that CCs do not represent anything of value, are not backed by anything of value, and consist of nothing more than ones and zeros on a computer screen. There are many problems with this statement.
There are some CCs which are backed by various physical goods such as gold or oil. They are not the first. The US dollar was backed by physical gold until 1973 and the country of Tatarstan still backs its currency with both wheat and oil. It may be the only country left in the world which does not use fiat currency.

tatarstan_coins

OneGramCoins (OGC) are each backed by one gram of physical gold and became the world’s first gold-backed digital coin. Venezuela has released the Petro (Petromoneda – PTR) crypto-coin which is backed by over five billion barrels of oil currently held in reserves. These are but two examples of how certain coins are being backed by physical commodities and they are not alone. This being said, they are certainly the exception rather than the rule. Most coins are backed, not by goods, but by services. Owning these coins allow the users access to services which would otherwise not be possible. Some claim that this is not a backing, but in reality, it is simply a different form of backing. A similar and related point brought against CCs is that they have no intrinsic value. Some would argue that neither does fiat currency, nor any of the other multitude of goods which have been used as currency throughout the ages such as: seashells; tally sticks; beads; modern nickel and copper coins; etc. The problem with this is that even precious goods, once they fall out of favour for whatever reason, also lose their intrinsic value. (Silver lost much of its value with the advent of digital photography.) The value of CCs is what they allow the holder to do with them. Access to computational power, for example, is certainly of value to mathematicians seeking to discover new prime numbers. Access to micro-loans is a very valuable service to those in emerging market economies seeking to improve the quality of their lives. Examples of intrinsic value are endless. Some who defend CCs have stated that it is the underlying technology which gives coins their value, but this is not accurate. The tech itself is mostly public and of little value. The way a certain team of individuals applies the technology gives the project, and therefore, the coin, value.

CCs are nothing but scams, fads, and Ponzi schemes
There are currently over 1500 CCs which comprise companies, staff, budgets, and goals. It is beyond credulity to insinuate that all these hundreds of thousands of people are all in on a scheme to defraud the rest of the population. Certainly, some coins, ICOs, and blockchain projects are merely scams (or even jokes) and several have been proven to be schemes to defraud investors. These represent a very small percentage of the overall market, and the same can be said of any asset class. Buyer beware. But it is nothing more than a paranoid delusion to imply that all coin projects, or even a majority thereof, are scams. Many, maybe even most of the coins on offer today will end up being worthless, but so will the majority of shares in small companies. Early adopters often suffer the greatest losses or the greatest gains. But early adoption helps the industry develop and grow, which is what fuels a rise in value in the first place. Traditional markets can also be compared to Ponzi schemes considering the boom-bust cycle and the bank bail-outs and bail-ins which fuel it.
CCs are not like break-dancing, and they will not go away.

CCs are in a bubble – tulips
When one looks at the market for CCs of late, it would be easy to think that it is in a bubble. BTC is often compared to tulips, hearkening back to the Dutch tulip mania which collapsed in 1637. The only problem with this analogy is that BTC has been there before, losing over a third of its value many times in the past, only to rebound and come back stronger than ever. This, of course, is not to say that it will continue to do this forever. BTC could very well go to zero one day, but calling it a bubble every time it goes up in value is disingenuous and disregards its almost ten year history. Whether or not BTC is in bubble territory is not so important. With the recent growth in the space, even if BTC were to suffer a catastrophic loss of value, there would be many other coins ready to take its place. Saying that the entire CC market is in a bubble is also misguided considering that the tech bubble burst when values were at the $7T level. The entire CC space now sits at about $500B. It is the author’s personal belief that the market is in its infancy and that the total value of CCs will only rise to eclipse the value of every asset class in history. Many have said that CCs will give rise to the world’s first (official) trillionaire. CCs may one day be in a bubble, but for the moment, the bubble has only just begun to inflate. It is more like a blister on the financial world’s heel.
There are just over 1400 people, private individuals in the US alone, not counting corporations, banks, hedge funds, etc., who make $60M per year.
Globally, there are about 1800 crypto wallets worth over $10M.
Do you still think it’s a bubble?

Traditional market analysis
This leads us to look at the metrics used to evaluate traditional markets. There are no comparisons possible between the usual tools and CC analysis. This becomes quite obvious when looking at CC charts. Certain patterns tend to emerge which are not seen in the lower volatility regime of stocks and bonds et al. Using these methods to glean a forecast of crypto-performance is akin to measuring a bottle’s volume with a sextant or the distance to the nearest star with a bathroom scale. Many traditional tools are more than useless even in the domain for which they are intended, but trying to find a place for them in the CC market is simply wrong-headed.

CCs are speculative investment vehicles
CCs were not meant nor were they designed to be used as speculative investment vehicles. The fact that many have made fortunes trading CCs is secondary to their true purpose. CCs can be seen in much the same way as crowd-funding resources or even municipal bonds. They are simply a  way in which capital can be raised in order to support an underlying project. They could more accurately be called digital start-up capital. Anything which lives in a highly volatile milieu can be traded for enormous gains or losses, but without the underlying goals, the coins themselves have no meaning. The coins have become as a proxy; rather than buying stocks or investing in IPOs (sometimes also backed by ideas and intrinsically worthless,) the coins serve as the assets traded and represent an investment in the idea, in the team, or both.

CCs can be hacked
This is a common misconception. There is much conflation between the coins, their companies, and the exchanges which allow for their trading. No crypto coin, including BTC has ever been hacked. Blockchains and distributed ledgers do not get hacked. On the other hand, many exchanges have been hacked. The irony is that if the internet had been secured using a DLT security layer, hacking exchanges would be orders of magnitude more difficult. Many CCs have also been lost or stolen, but this is a different matter altogether. Lots of money is either lost or stolen every year, as well.

No electricity, no CC
A common argument against CCs is that access to them is removed during a power failure. While this is mostly true, it is no different than with fiat money. Credit cards, debit cards, ATMs, and even bank employees do not work during power outages. Unless one has cash on hand, which CCs do not preclude, access to money is always in short supply during blackouts. Paper wallets can be traded like IOUs or stock certificates during power outages. Digital wallets run on batteries, and can be used to transfer coins.

Production (electricity) costs are prohibitive
While this has been true for some coins using the proof-of-work algorithm (PoW,) the same cannot be said of newer coins which use proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm, amongst others. There are many algorithms in use today including proof-of-stake-velocity (PoSV,) proof-of-importance (PoI,) proof-of-capacity (PoC, includes varieties called proof-of-storage and proof-of-replication,) proof-of-burn (PoB,) proof-of-asset (PoA,) and proof-of-run (PoR). While the cost of ‘mining’ can be high, it need not be. [Explanations of these algorithms is beyond the scope of this article, but a simple explanation can be found here.]

Network fees are prohibitive
This is also true for certain coins, but many coins can be traded with no, or very low fees. Let’s not forget that credit card companies charge 3-4% on every transaction. This is temporary and all coins will soon cost nearly nothing to use.

Network transactions/clearing take(s) a long time
While some coins can take a matter of hours to clear, the majority of coins clear almost instantly. This depends on throughput. Bank wires take several days to clear. PayPal can hold funds for up to eight business days. Western Union, while quicker, charges enormous fees. This argument is obsolete.

Internet shut-downs would kill CCs
It can be argued that CCs rely on the internet to be of any use. There is some truth to this, but it is not completely true. CCs can be exchanged through local wallet to wallet transactions, paper wallets can be printed and traded like IOUs,  and intranets based on local servers can be used to transfer funds. These transactions will not be recorded on their blockchains (until updated) and the security measures inherent in the system to guard against things such as double-spending would, obviously, not be in place. Nevertheless, the internet was designed to be redundant, and a major persistent shut-down has never occurred. National shut-downs have occurred and are a threat to those living in such a place. The natural option here is to re-locate, but that option is not open to everybody. It should be noted that governments, while they do hold the power to shut down the internet in their own respective countries, can not shut it down on a world-wide scale. It should also be noted that if the government wants to, it can use regulation to limit the use of CCs, so why shut down the web? Governments can and have confiscated all manner of things from blankets to gold and could confiscate CCs, as well. Whether or not they would succeed is another story. The irony is that the use of DLTs will make governments more responsive to the people (if they control their own money) rather than the banks (that do so now.) DLTs can also make governments more transparent and can even eliminate corruption by making elections open and secure, making all government accounting public information, and limit fraud, over-spending, and black budgets by governments that hide tax-payer money for illicit purposes, which they all currently do, without exception. Using a blockchain to account for government finances would immediately expose black budgets. (If total expenditures are greater than revenue plus debt, where does the extra money come from?)

Elites control the price of CCs
As in any market, it is the whales who get their way; this is not common only to CCs. Large holders of any asset, be they institutional or private, can manipulate price, volume, and demand to a large extent. Current manipulations can be seen in the gold market among others, algo-driven trading determines prices across almost all markets, futures trading affects price, as does government regulation. This is no different than the current fiat regime. The difference is that with CCs, people will come to control much more than any billionaire or corporate entity could afford to buy. Once the threshold of control passes into the hands of the public and the ratio of ownership changes, these shenanigans will be much more difficult to rig. This is a temporary problem.

CCs will usher in a one-world government
This is quite a claim, but the argument is not a new one. It is without doubt that there has been a move towards digital currencies. These, however are not the same as CCs. Digital currencies are simply fiat money but without the cash. It is the elimination of cash which has led to reports of global governance, which is a real phenomenon, but one which does not rely on CCs. Hence the conflation. As it happens, the only way to subvert any actions governments might take to consolidate their power over the populace is through the advent of personal and financial sovereignty. Only DLTs are currently positioned to offer a path in that direction.

If McAfee eats his manhood, cryptos are dead
Much has been made of the wager offered up by one of the gurus of CCs and DLT technology. If indeed BTC does not attain the heights to which John McAfee claims, it only speaks to BTC’s failures as a viable technology. While the CC markets seem to be closely correlated to BTC’s price, many coins are expected to fall by the wayside as the technology progresses. BTC has many problems which can better be addressed by other DLTs. The movie industry didn’t die when VHS was replaced with DVDs. The same can be said of this non-argument.

CCs are not money
Well, here again we get into semantics. There are many definitions of money. Here’s what money is, to most people: Money is that which one gets for one’s labour, and that which one trades for goods and services required. For most people, CCs can just as easily be money as can coins and bills, or silver and gold, or seashells and beads. CCs have an advantage though; they can be sent instantly anywhere in the world. In many parts of the world, CCs have been accepted as methods of payment for everything from homes to bullion to clothing and to lunch.

There are two arguments for CCs relating to money which are rarely, if ever, brought up. The first is that because of their limited supply, they are invulnerable to hyper-inflation unlike the currency of certain nations: Argentina; Venezuela; Germany; and Zimbabwe, to name a few. This is not to say that they cannot lose value if they become obsolete, only that the money supply is inalterable. It is control of the money supply, the amount of money circulating through the economy, which most influences its value.
The second is more down-to-Earth. Currently, most of the children under twelve who have any experience on the internet have used some form of CC or token. It is the only knowledge most of them have regarding the wide world of finance. They have been earning tokens from any number of online video games and exchanging them for upgrades to their characters or for the purchase of useful equipment. As far as the economy goes, besides the fifty-dollar bill grandma’ puts in their Christmas card every year, it is the only experience these children have with money, and they use it almost every day. These children have no trust issues with CCs, are very comfortable trading them, and are growing up rather quickly. They are the future, and the world will belong to them. It is only natural that they apply that which they know best to the world they will have a hand in creating.

What are some of the problems we face, and what are the solutions DLTs offer?
DLTs came about, not by chance, but for a reason. Their purpose has simply been to solve problems. CCs can help fund teams of thinkers and dreamers who wish to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. The following are just some of the more pertinent problems the world has yet to solve, but as we have left it to governments and NGOs to do these things for us, and as their mandates have largely been ignored or have failed, it is time we take back the power for ourselves in order to effect change on our shared planet. Problems like corruption, sovereignty, freedom, poverty, and war have been put aside in lieu of more important issues, or so say the international institutions we relied upon to fix them, and have instead been replaced by measures like austerity, increased surveillance, immigration, political correctness, terrorism, and one-world government. How much longer were we supposed to wait?

Most of these ‘solutions’ are not panaceas, rather, they offer the opportunity for those who suffer from these problems to bring about their own solutions. Whether it is by crypto-anarchists who want to free themselves of all forms of governmental control, or by the financial industry (first-adopters) who want more freedom to profit from within the current regulatory framework, or by workers in emerging markets who want more control over their financial lives, the issue of sovereignty has always played a major role in the development of DLTs. Sovereignty is the basis for many of the projects which have been launched in this space, and it comes in many forms.

Micro-loans have become very popular in less developed markets. This industry has made many people rich and even more have been made richer than they were. There are many ways to implement micro-loans over DLTs, but the important part to take from this is that no third party is needed. Instead of one wealthy person serving as banker to the poor, there is no reason why anyone cannot become a lender of small amounts of money half-way around the globe. Certain CCs are making this easy and are reducing the cost of borrowing money for people everywhere. Why should the rich get to borrow large sums for free (at 0% interest, or close to it) when the poor are charged significantly more? By removing the middle-man, fees can be eliminated altogether and interest can either be waived by philanthropic individuals or be brought down to levels comparable to those which large borrowers currently pay. In the same vein, people who choose to sell goods to others over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks can eliminate the fees charged by auction sites like eBay, as well as all the associated costs of currency conversion and transaction fees from payment processors like PayPal, not to mention that the transactions would be instantaneous. Even if paid upon reception, a linked sidechain could be appended to the blockchain in order to track a parcel sent through the mail.

Banks running dark pools want secure data storage and encrypted communication between nodes. They want to share information but don’t trust each other. Banks in dark pools have to trust one bank that runs the servers. Controlling a server gives an advantage to those who control it. There are no privileged parties in the blockchain.
Banks, credit unions, credit card companies, insurance companies, investment brokers… the entire financial services industry could save lots of money on security. Instead of protecting one server, the cost of securing the network would be evenly distributed amongst all the participants. Early adopters of the tech were the crypto-anarchists and the financial industries.
By this point, some of you might be thinking that there would be no need for banks at all. That might very well be true for personal banking needs, but institutional needs are a different matter. Financial industries are leading the charge; banks and insurance companies want speed and security and fairness, believe it or not, but just amongst themselves and not necessarily for the greater good. The entire insurance industry has already adopted Hashgraph (currently the fastest and most secure DLT) as their new standard.
This is not to say that the reduced presence of banks in the lives of people would not be greeted with enthusiasm, as it certainly would. Nobody would argue that banks don’t make enough money, with the possible exception of bankers. Perhaps their role in the world could be lessened while the people enjoy more of their money and the freedom that comes with financial sovereignty.

Employers who paid their staff with CCs and through DLTs would not incur fees, nor would anyone ever need to be charged for cashing a cheque. And since all payments could be made through smart contracts, the payroll and tax accounting could be taken care of automatically further reducing costs for business owners.

An insecure internet
Who hasn’t been exposed to spam? Many have also been victims of phone spoofing. (The telephone network, built long ago, is also very vulnerable and insecure.) Distributed denial of service attacks ( DDoSs) can easily take down websites through their use of bot-nets. Hacking, through code insertions (popular amongst websites which use Flash,) distribution of viruses, trojans, worms, etc., affect us all, at some time. ‘Game theory’ attacks can affect international financial systems as has been the case with recent attacks on the SWIFT system. Firewall attacks are also common.

The current internet of things (IOT) is both fragile and vulnerable and introduces many more potential bots in the form of dishwashers, printers, webcams… which are susceptible to being taken over by malicious forces using bot-nets for DDoS attacks and other nefarious purposes.

DLTs can be built in a layer on top of the internet in order to add security and overcome the flaws inherent in the network. Changes are very difficult to implement into the current underlying technology of the internet. Adding a secure layer on top of the internet provides an excellent way to make these changes quickly and to make them scalable. Serious security protocol vulnerabilities, which persist for years and are sometimes not noticed until they are exploited, can be eliminated. A trust layer (verification) would solve spam if everyone were to send mail through trusted and decentralized networks. Hackers would find that their methods of stealing information and vandalizing systems would be greatly limited. (It should be noted that all software is inherently vulnerable to hacking. If it can be programmed, it can be hacked. DLTs would mitigate the risks and bring the probabilities of successful attacks down to insignificance. More importantly, DLTs would instantly inform all the users on a network that a hack had taken place thus making it much easier to limit its spread and greatly reduce its effects.)

Firewall attacks refer to the 34% rule, as mentioned above. If a malicious actor or group of actors can control 34% of the computers running a network, the entire network can be compromised. This is true for all systems. It is very unlikely that any group could ever come to control 34% of all the computers (or nodes) on a network, but the problem today is that entire networks can be compromised through the control of only one computer. This is the very worst possible scenario, and is the paradigm which the internet finds itself under today. It is one which currently costs businesses untold billions in internet security. These costs could be eliminated, or greatly reduced, through the immediate implementation of DLT technology.

If security and privacy were not necessary, then we could just use a server, but if security slows down the process too much, it wouldn’t be accepted. The answer is not to scale down security, rather to build a better system where the security does not hinder throughput. Systems need to take considerations of speed into account. A faster system is a better system (and in many cases a more secure one,) and processes inherent in some DLTs are faster than anything currently available.

Another aspect to security is that the incentives to act in good faith (good faith would not even need to be a consideration with strong verification) are vastly outweighed by the incentives to game the current system for bribes, coercion, and financial or political gain. When billions of dollars are at stake, the threat of fines or a short stint in a minimum security facility is no deterrent. DLTs can, and do, offer better incentives for all involved to act correctly. If everyone used strong locks, thievery might be eliminated. In the same way, if everyone used strong networks, negative actions would not be worth the trouble. (Better enforcement of current regulations would also help, but that is another story, altogether.)

Peripheral costs and benefits
There has been much focus on the fact that the current system the internet is built around is having enormous and detrimental effects on people using social media, especially on the youth. It has been said that we are now all ‘alone together’. Culture has changed overnight and on a massive scale. Ironically, online social interactions are hurting social skills amongst the youth. Loneliness and depression increase with ‘smart’ phone use. Fewer distractions could lead to a greater attention span and more efficient cognitive processes. Technology has already altered our consciousness and our culture.

Servers carry much of the blame for this problem, as well. The current state of internet technology and the way it is implemented hinders true communities from forming. Instead, people interact, not within groups, but one-on-one within a group. DLTs could change the very nature of group interaction by making it possible to create virtual worlds (everyone would have the power to create their own virtual universe without necessarily exerting control over the group.) Leemon Baird calls these ‘shared worlds’.

With shared worlds, one wouldn’t have to pay for access, there would be no limit to membership, anything would be possible, interactions would be group-based and not just one-on-one times a hundred, the structure could be democratic or tyrannical, and the market would decide which it preferred. Users could even vote on the direction the world took. They would put Civilization, Sims, and all the other ‘Tycoon’ games to shame.

Liberals and conservatives could go their own way and isolate themselves or learn to live together and play nice with everyone. Don’t want to deal with hate-speech? Make your own rules. Want to encourage free speech? The same applies.
This is the elimination of cultural borders within state borders. It is also the implementations of borders within state borders. In a phrase, it is the advancement of total freedom to associate.

Different shared worlds could connect to each other. Imagine starting one’s own stock market or video game as easily as typing a letter. A certain world could issue/manage a CC which could be used by several shared worlds. Data storage, game environments (like Minecraft,) alert systems,… all could be created without paying for hosting services, and changes made to one world would instantly propagate throughout all these connected worlds.

Thus everyone could interact as though they were in a group instead of interacting with others one-at-a-time. Advances in virtual reality (VR) would help. This would have positive effects on the psychology of those who partake in social media. Not to mention, instead of being alone together, kids could hang out and truly be together. For example, instead of a ‘zombie’ user walking into a lamp-post, those in the group could warn that user that a lamp-post was in their way. This is a very basic example, but the possibility of increasing the group dynamic within the social media space, depending on the level of VR technology available, is unlimited. Whatever way this develops, it is important, and is becoming more and more urgent, that we build a society based on benevolence, compassion, and teamwork instead of greed.

The culture of the developers, and of the entire blockchain revolution, is central to this new paradigm. Cultural issues affect the technology being developed, how the technology is to be implemented, and how the technology influences the world’s culture as a whole.

Griefing (vandalizing digital property/assets) can be eliminated through the implementation of DLTs. Much can be gleaned about property rights through this one simple example.

Systems for such things as distributed computing and data storage could be made much more effective and secure thus enabling large-scale projects (some of which already exist) to more efficiently use the resources of the entire network as though it were one machine. Networks could be turned into super-computers more powerful than any in existence, and that would make it possible to make use of unused, and currently wasted, computing resources. (The advent of AI is a different thing, but despite its dangers, that discussion is beyond the scope of this article.) This would indirectly allow those whose electricity costs are high to take advantage of lower energy costs elsewhere in the world. This, in turn, would incentivize governments, not only to reduce the costs of energy, but to find and adopt better methods to generate power. Technologies which threaten the profitability of dangerous industries (such as nuclear power generation) would be made available to the public. Nikolai Tesla might finally get his wish. Technologies such as water-based engines, LFTR – thorium reactors, hydrogen fuel cells, etc., the patents for which have been bought by private corporations and locked away in a safe, could now be brought out to the benefit of all. Free energy has been proposed by many people, and whether these technologies can be proven to work or not, at least their potential can now be examined openly. The incentive to hide beneficial technology from the public in lieu of higher profits can be done away with.

Thomas Rau has some interesting insights into some of the potential applications of DLTs. He envisions a ‘material passports’ which could be implemented in order to re-use all the raw materials that go into building all the products in existence.

Protect your information/privacy while sharing it
This might sound like an impossibility, and under the current system, it might well be, but through the use of DLTs, this can become the new standard for information access. Take the case of a driver’s license, as an example. If some entity needs to see your driver’s license in order to get some information about you, why would you want them to see your street address and/or any other information contained within the document which is not relevant to the matter at hand? DLTs can limit exactly what information is to be shared with concerned parties. The validity of your license can be verified independently of any associated information, and can even be done anonymously. The license itself can be verified without the identity of the user being divulged. This would be beneficial to a great number of things such as medical records, voting records, tax information, property ownership… and the list goes on.

Using this method could make governments transparent and accountable while, at the same time, protecting sensitive information such as state secrets which impact national security. I do not believe that governments want to stifle this technology, rather, they want to prevent the public from using it against them. Results of FISC (FISA court) procedures could be made public while protecting the underlying classified information. Immigration documents, passports, social insurance cards, gun registration documents… could all be better managed using this system. Imagine the implications.

Also, and perhaps even more importantly, the revocation of a document would be shown across the network instantly. This would relegate forged documents to the dustbin of history. Indeed, some of the best applications for DLTs, as far as governments and banks are concerned, is the eradication of counterfeiting. This was the main focus of the Chinese (and others’) government’s investigations into DLT technology at the outset. Serial numbers on fiat currency (being a centralized use) once put on the blockchain (decentralized information) could indicate counterfeit bills at point-of-sale locations everywhere. The same technology could be applied to all manner of documents. Even proprietary software applications which are offered on a trial basis could be monitored more easily. Software piracy would become a thing of the past.

Even the gold industry has started integrating blockchain-based gold trading which could lead to a re-emergence of the gold standard replacing fiat currencies the world over. This is just speculation, for the moment, but who knows where this could lead?

Education and ownership
Education, as it exists now, is a costly endeavour and is limited to a certain strata of the population. Student debt is currently a huge hindrance to those just getting started in life. DLTs could make all educational materials available to all people, all across the world, and at no cost to the users, all the while protecting the rights of those who contributed/authored course materials. Imagine what could be accomplished if the sum of all human knowledge were available to anyone who wanted it. The potential genius of those without access to information could be unlocked and put to the best use society would have for it. How many potential Nobel laureates have gone unnoticed? How many stupendous innovations have been lost to class divisions or geographical chance?

This could change the way the world thinks about intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and the notion of ownership itself, while ushering in a world of co-operation instead of the current paradigm of competition. Some might claim communistic overtones, which is by no means the intent here. What this really portends is the advent of a purer form of capitalism. Whether this leads to an abandonment of banks (or even money per se,) will be decided by the market, and by the people themselves. Further, what this actually indicates is the possibility that many contradictory paradigms can co-exist instead of necessarily leading to animosity, hatred, or war.

Groups could start working together, not only to come up with solutions, but to fine-tune those solutions and come up with others, and by comparing them, come up with the best solutions instead of the most profitable ones over the near-term. This really changes the focus from short-term profits for a few to long-term benefits for all.

People might start making movies based on merit rather than box-office expectations. News media might even take-up proper journalistic standards instead of chasing ratings. Although this may be a premature argument to make, it does lead one to think about the truly awesome possibilities DLTs present. It is sure to raise interesting questions and spark debate over fundamental issues the world has, so far, taken for granted.

Take-aways
Some of the things which are central to the adoption of DLTs include: security; trust/verifiability; speed; throughput (expressed in transactions per second;) consensus; fragility; scalability; redundancy; invisibility (working in the background;) privacy (sovereign identity;) latency (timing;) revocation; transparency (banking, government;) and sharding.
While a very few of these attributes are applicable to current technology, only DLTs offer the possibility of integrating all of these benefits into the goods and services we all use everyday.

It is also important to understand that there are many issues which need to be addressed and resolved before this technology is adopted on a larger scale. Some of these issues include technical implementation, social considerations, political implications, organizational hierarchies, regulatory systems, and the legal aspects underlying all of the above. There are also some philosophical questions (which were touched upon above) left to consider. The main issue (and one which could be facilitated by the very technology in question) is that whatever course we, as a united human organism choose to take, that course will be decided upon freely instead of being foisted upon us by some outside force with a vested interest in retaining the status quo.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The possibilities are truly endless, and the technology is very much still in its infancy.




*Update*
Russia is in the process of implementing Ethereum-based blockchain technology in order to secure its election systems and guarantee fair elections. Seems like a strange thing to do if Putin really was the tyrannical dictator that the west makes him out to be. How ironic that while the USA is mired in election tampering (this is only one of hundreds of articles showing voter fraud and election tampering which is so very prevalent all across America,) as well as a sideshow to implicate Russia for it, the Russians are becoming the paragon for democratic processes.
Read more about it here.

The revolution has begun.




Although many different coins, technologies, applications, and people were mentioned by name in this article, I do not specifically endorse any in particular. This article should not be taken as investment advice. The reader is encouraged to do their own research on this and on any topic.

Contact the author through this blog here.
Thank you for your time and attention to this crucially important matter.

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A Tiger By The Tail

The world, in its current state, is not sustainable. No reasonable person would argue that it is. This does not refer to population; there is more than enough land and food for all. Besides, populations tend to self-adjust based upon available resources. In other words, there is no need for a cull. Equity is the problem. Capitalism, in its current form, which has been adopted by nearly all the countries of the earth with a central bank (excepting North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and some small Pacific island nations – Monaco and the Vatican being exceptional cases) isn’t sustainable either. [I feel it is important to disambiguate this point further. The capitalist system which is in use today can be, and has been, referred to as crony-capitalism and/or disaster capitalism and does not reflect the tenets of pure capitalism. Adam Smith himself put the emphasis on local systems and stated that one should not take more than one’s share lest the entire system collapse. This is often left out of economic theories.] The problem then is, how do we change the system underpinning all our TBTF* sub-systems? It won’t be pretty, but it inevitably must be done. As Henry Kissinger (I am NOT a fan) famously said, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.” Many people will undoubtedly suffer, and many of them will die. This horrid reality does not escape me. It is more than unfortunate that TPTB* have organized the world in such a way as to make this unavoidable. All we can do, as a community, is minimize this peril by helping each other make it through to the other side.

Anarchy

It’s not what you think it is. Anarchy is a state of total freedom, but not without consequence. Anarchy is not ‘natural law.’ Anarchy is quite the opposite. Anarchy allows individuals to retain their individuality. It does not mean that there are no longer any rules, or that rules do not apply. People still have to live together, after all. Anarchy simply puts the power in the hands of those affected. The concept of ‘mob-rule’ comes to mind when such things are discussed, but it need not. It can be argued that people are generally kind and compassionate and generous. We may have lost sight of this fact given our current state of economic inequity, but it remains a fact, nonetheless. How could we have survived as a species otherwise? As a social animal, community has always been the foundation of society.

Blockchain

Blockchain, very simply put, is a wholly transparent contract. It has no limits and can be applied to any human endeavour involving more than one person. Many people are intimidated by this techy-sounding phrase, but it is something, at its root, with which we are all familiar; only it is digitized, in order to make it common and accessible to all, and verifiable.

Crypto-currency

The world needs a global currency. Why should banks et al. make money from the exchange of one currency into another? Why should they have the power to create wealth and distribute it to whomever they please? Why should banks and central banks constrain human potential in order to turn a profit? What purpose do they serve anymore, anyhow? The banks (Bank of America, HSBC, et al.,) central banks (the Fed, ECB, et al.,) and uber-banks (IMF, BIS, et al.) have had all of humanity under their collective thumbs since they were conceived.

Which coin will be the standard? Will there be several as with Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi vs. Royal Crown? Will there be too many to count? As long as they are freely interchangeable, who cares, right? My personal feeling is that there will be many, but that all will be as interchangeable as good delivery gold bars from different banks, with no exchange rate. The closest comparison which can be drawn is the Linux operating system, which is open-sourced and comes in many ‘flavours’, all of which are compatible with most other versions.

De-centralization

It may just be time to bring back the city-state. Borders are illusory and they are political. Their time too, has passed. This is not a call to mass migration; on the contrary, it is an invitation for all to participate in the global economy without consideration for whence they were born, and without a need to re-locate, but without hindrance to do so, if desired. Under this new paradigm, there will be no need for entire populations to flee oppression or war. There will be no power structure to impose these conditions, and there will be no will of the people to engage in same.

Encryption

Privacy will not need any protection. Privacy has always existed. Be it through secret code, hidden retreats, occult groups, or VPN*, the dark web is nothing new. The need to protect it arises from those who would intrude, such as the state; but if people want to communicate privately, there is no reason they should not have the means to do so. Blockchain can provide this function. People don’t want to be nothing more than just a number. IBM tried that during WWII and the mental image stuck. People don’t want to be issued tattoos. On the other hand, people don’t seem to have a problem tattooing themselves. If we pick a number (or a hash) for ourselves, it becomes part of us. This is the key to being both public and private at the same time.

Freedom

We must be allowed to live our lives as we see fit. We must not be told that since we live in one particular place, we must do certain things with our time. We must not have to live our lives surveilled. It must not be assumed that we are all potential criminals. In order to acquire the freedom to live as we choose, we must either be emancipated or we must emancipate ourselves, and we’ve been waiting long enough to be emancipated. If it hasn’t happened by now, it just isn’t going to happen. It is time to take matters into our own hands and take the bull by the horns. But what do you do when you have a tiger by the tail? If you let go, it will eat you. If you hang on, you can do nothing else. Eventually your strength will wane, and a lot faster than the tiger’s. So what option is available? The only option left is to kick that fucking tiger in the balls so hard and so often that he will want to get as far away from you as fast as possible, instead of making you his meal. This is what we must do to the control structures, and the people who run them, set up to dominate our lives. We must make the job of ruling over us so disagreeable that none would want to have it. This is the nature of anarchy and the birth of freedom. Free to work in our chosen domain, free to raise our children and educate them with our values, free to do what we choose to do with our bodies and with our lives; these should not just be catchy clichés, they should be steps along the path to autonomy. We are adults, after all; it is time we started treating ourselves as such and acting like adults should act.

Globalism

Some of the tenets of globalism are noble and commendable, but the current crop of globalists are not the sort of people you would want in charge. The problem with it is that, under the current plan, the goals of globalism are to be implemented by force or by coercion. This cannot be acceptable. Certainly there should be a common currency. Certainly there should be more co-operation and less competition. Certainly there should be acceptance of individual beliefs and cultural differences. Certainly equality should reign; but not in the two-tiered Orwellian (or Clintonian) sense. Some should not be allowed to be more equal than others. Being ruled is so middle ages.

Hegemony

Hegemony will, for the first time, be organic and not imposed. Hegemony will no longer mean that an entity controls the whole, it will mean that the whole is one, and that ‘control’ is obsolete. The entirety of Earth’s population will have control over their own lives and society will necessarily move in a positive direction. The word ‘progress’ will finally have meaning as it will apply to the betterment of all mankind, not just a select few.

Internet

The internet, perhaps the greatest human development of all time, has made blockchain technology possible and relevant. The world-wide web is the ether through which all human interaction can take place, irrespective of time or location. It is anything to anyone at any time. It facilitates communication and has done more to shrink the size of the world than planes, trains, or automobiles combined. Without communication, co-operation is not possible. The internet is, to paraphrase Aristotle, the means by which the whole of humanity truly can be greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Joy

What other goal can be more noble, than to wish that all sentient organisms everywhere can experience eternal joy, in any form that it should take? Lasting joy is the best possible outcome.

Kin

Family is the nucleation point of society. Family is the seed. We must come to realize that ‘family’ and ‘community’ and ‘society’ and ‘civilization’ are all synonymous. We are all born of the same family, extended or not. We are all kin. If we learn to treat each other as such, only then will we be able to hope to treat any others we might meet along the way as equals, and learn from each other, and share with each other all the joys that make living a worthwhile endeavour for us all. If there are others out there, we are already family as we share the greatest commonality known: life itself.

Longevity

One of the only two reasonable goals of humanity (progress is meaningless without set goals,) longevity or immortality will be the one thing which makes patience into the true virtue it really should be. When time itself is not a factor in human decision-making, only then will the unattainable be within our grasp. Time is the ultimate constraint. Short-term realizations at the expense of long-term benefits will be a thing of the past. Risks will no longer need to be taken if all the time in the universe is at our disposal. Investigations into the mysteries of life will be complete. Succinctness will no longer trump truth.

Maturity

Maturity is the other of the only two reasonable goals of humanity. It is only when we reach maturity can our exploration of exoplanetary endeavours be justified. If we are the first in the universe to reach such a level, we should be beyond reproach as far as standards of morality toward all life forms are concerned. If we are not, we should be at a level beyond pettiness, such that we can engage with more advanced civilizations and share with them as we would share amongst ourselves. If we are to be the seed of intelligent life in the cosmos, we should then put forth the very best we have to offer.

Reset

It is coming, one way or another. It is very near, and people can feel it. There will be a transition, and it will be rough. Many will not survive it. The consequences of a reset would be, for the short term, disastrous. We should not kid ourselves. The JIT* delivery system would make a great many of us vulnerable to starvation, as most of us are nine meals from an empty pantry. Certainly, all the systems we rely upon to deliver and provide medicine, water, payments etc. could not and would not withstand the rapid transition to an anarchic state.

Ownership as a concept would have to be revisited. Essential factories would need to be owned and operated by the workers, as would water treatment plants, farms, hospitals, etc. There would be massive disturbances in all forms of manufacturing, processing, distribution, and not least of all, social services. Payments would be suspended, and the nature of salaries as compensation for work and their incremental nature would also need to be re-thought.

Robotics could be an enormous benefit, not a job-killer as it is perceived today. Robots could free all humans from meaningless work in order to pursue higher goals, spend more time with our children, help the community, or just sit under a tree. Automation of all the necessary goods and services is nothing to fear if we are all equal. There will always be jobs to do, but with so many people available to do them, nobody will mind doing an hour or two of work every month.

Education would benefit, as well. Instead of being forced to regurgitate mantra which benefits private industry, the field of education could be opened up to alternatives not currently discussed. Universities will morph into discussion groups and the PhDs will simply be those whose ideas are accepted. Paper credentials will become meaningless. Credentials will come with proofs.

Will there not be groups who will try to dominate? Yes, but their power will be limited as their small group can never gain an advantage over the rest. There will be no means by which a small group can come to dominate a larger one. Why shouldn’t those who hold even the most extreme views not be allowed to share them within their community? Segregation is generally seen as a bad thing. Self-segregation, on the other hand happens all over the world. From a motorcycle gang to a China-town to a support group, if those birds choose to flock together, whose to stop them? As long as there is no territory to fight over, all ideologies, while not necessarily being welcome, could be readily tolerated.

There will be a crash. When is not known, but soon is an apt estimate. The global economy is running on fumes, despite what the stock-pushing MSM is saying. The inevitability is such that preparations must be made. Stocking up on non-perishable foods is one thing, but preparing to abandon an over-arching system of control is just as important, perhaps more-so. Why should we allow TPTB* the time to get their shit together, as it were. Humanity will not wait for them to re-fasten the shackles they have burdened us with. It will move forward without them. We no longer need them. Their guidance was necessary in the times of rampant illiteracy, but is now irrelevant. We can do these things for ourselves. Good riddance.

Does this vision of the New World Dis-Order seem utopic? Does it look out of reach. Under the current system, it does. Fast-forward ten or twenty years, add blockchain to the mix, bring down all the overt control systems, and all the limitations on our species could easily be lifted. It will come at a price, but the alternative is a possible ELE*.

*Glossary:

  • ELE – Extinction Level Event
  • JIT – Just In Time
  • TBTF – Too Big To Fail
  • TPTB – The Powers That Be
  • SHTF – (when the) Shit Hits The Fan
  • VPN – Virtual Private Network

Recommended Resources:

 

 

 

Facades

When walking past a house after dark, it’s always the big windows that are lit. Is this diversion or hubris? Governments display these same traits.

What’s unseen… what’s underground? What’s behind the facade, the empty room, the well-lit space?

designboom_tezuka_architects_interview_005

More to come.

Benji’s Plight

In 1971, the French sent a gunboat to New York harbour to get their gold back because the USA was over-extending itself as per the Bretton-Woods agreement. It was President Nixon who was not playing by the rules. In this example, it was the Vietnam war which was being funded but without enough gold to back the expenditures. The US was inflating its own currency. Since the Franc was pegged to the dollar and the dollar was pegged to the gold that America held, there wasn’t enough gold to maintain the value of the French currency. This is why the French acted. This was essentially the beginning of what we now know as central bank money, or modern fiat money.

Why mention all this? Well it seems to me that the Chinese are de-evolving in monetary terms, going back to a Bretton-Woods type system in order that they can play the role that the US played but with their allies, instead. For that to happen, they need to back their currency with gold, and so they will need as much as they can get. Russia has also spoken about a gold-backed ruble.

Gaddafi was in the process of creating a gold-backed pan-African currency, but Libya did not have the clout to withstand the American onslaught, and we all know what happened after that. China does.

If we exclude QEII, the largest land-owners in the world are Russia, China, the King of Saud, the King of Thailand, the King of Morocco, and the King of Oman. All of these countries have large Muslim populations; even Russia is about 15% Muslim. All of them have been involved with some form of gold-backed currency, or are currently talking about implementing one. China is going to do it for them, and unite Asia in the process.

This is why Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev said, at the UN, that the IMF must go and that the world reserve currency should no longer be dollars. He also said that the UN should be based in Asia. Kazakhstan is hugely rich in natural resources (oil, gold, uranium…) He gave this speech on the same day as Obama and Putin spoke, but nobody was listening.

This, in my opinion, is what we are seeing in China now. They are slowly trying to shed dollars without causing too much commotion. If they do it too quickly, they would lose a great deal of value in the process. Eventually, though, the dollar will be dumped. China did just get into the IMF’s basket, for credibility and support if nothing else, but this may be short-lived and not for the reasons most would think.

With Turkey looking east, they could collectively control all the oil and gas flowing into Europe (Turkish Stream pipeline,) and most of the water flowing into the middle-east. The east would have Europe by the short-and-curlies.

This is also why they want to ‘easternize’ Europe with a large influx of migrants. Terror is a serious issue for all these actors, not just an excuse for expansion like it is for America. Russia has an outpost called Ingushetia to guard against Chechen fighters. Even China has terror at its back door.

Energy-poor Europe really has no choice in the matter and America is powerless to stop it. This is what made Ukraine such a target. Russia is diverting all pipelines into Europe through Turkey instead of Ukraine, making the entire exercise there moot. This is what makes the middle-east, the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, North Korea, and Lithuania so important to the west. This is why the west (and NATO) is trying to encircle Russia and break up Eurasia, but what’s the expression again…? A day late and a dollar short (pun definitely intended.)

One could draw a line from Beijing to Moscow and cross only one country, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan may be where the new Prime Meridian passes, where the new UN headquarters might be located, and is where the world’s monopoly of low-enriched uranium (LEU) is kept. Buffett knows it, too. Kazakhstan is land-locked and so is very easy to defend.

It’s over.

China is starting to unwind, all of Eurasia will be dumping the dollar very soon (?this summer/fall?) the petro-dollar’s days are numbered (Saud has been in negotiations with Russia for years now over this very issue) and if America doesn’t wake up to this incontrovertible fact, war will be the only option. If the USA and NATO and the EU start making preparations now, perhaps there could be a way to draw this out nicely enough not to have to crash the western economy. They could also all be working behind the scenes together, east and west, knowing that the inevitable is coming. Hey, ya’ never know.

As it happens, last year, American private equity fund KKR bought Mexico’s Pemex Oil. They have secured rights to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, and now they are moving even further south. Venezuela seems to be the next target now that the Americans know they have lost the middle-east, and will soon have to leave.

“Seventy percent of Petropiar is owned by the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, and 30% by its overseas partner, Chevron. The government has now offered to sell a portion of its shares to the Russian Rosneft, along with a stake in the rights to extract oil from the premium-grade Orinoco Oil Belt. This, of course, is no less than a stab in the back for Chevron. (Rosneft faces sanctions from the US, which, of course, Chevron does not.)

Venezuela has also expropriated shares belonging to ConocoPhillips, for which it has not yet paid, at the same time as they’re negotiating with a Japanese investment bank to obtain further funding.”

These deals, in the American perspective, are worth protecting and fighting over especially if Russia’s Rosneft gets control of some of the oil in the Americas.

“The involvement of the U.S. military in an upcoming multilateral military drill in South America has raised concerns over potential ulterior motives on the part of the U.S.

 

The drill, dubbed “Operation: America United,” will involve the installation of a temporary military base on the triple border shared by the drill’s other participating nations: Peru, Brazil and Colombia.

Clearly, the Americans know that their time under the petro-dollar scheme is winding down, and they are desperately seeking alternative sources of oil. Now that Erdogan has refused the EU membership and is looking east, even the Germans are moving their troops from Incirlik to Jordan. They too must sense that something is changing within NATO and in the middle-east.

All this talk of populism vs. globalism (I was caught up in it, too) is like so many squirrels scurrying to hide their nutz. This is also why we needed the king of all squirrels, Donald Trump, to completely dominate our lives. After two years of him dominating the main-stream media scene, much of the groundwork has been done quietly, and in the shadows.

Of Bulls And Bears (and why they’re both screwed)

As a follow-up to two recent articles (here and here) on Turkey, Eurasia, and the coming crash of the US$, please consider the following.

As Russia’s Sergey Glazyev said, “As soon as we and China dump the dollar, it will be the end of the US’ military might…” Keep that in mind as you read the following.

China’s current credit crisis causes concern for the world’s economies, but not for China. China can amass all the debt it wants in order to finance its economic revolution and the New Silk Road. There is no limit because the money it is using is free money. This is why they support shadow banking, why they lend enormous amounts to institutions, corporations, entrepreneurs, and citizens; it’s not their money they are lending. They are using their manufacturing sector to pull as much cash as possible out of the west and using that to finance their future. Their own foreign debt is financed by Americans paying interest on obligations. Even their US holdings were financed with American money. Trillions of dollar-store knick-knacks can buy a lot of T-bills. Merry Christmas.

Once they have squeezed all the blood they can out of the dollar, they have no need for the US anymore. This is when they will start calling in their US debt, gradually at first, but accelerating until the dollar is out of breath and collapses, well short of the finish line. This will kill the US dollar, and remove its ‘reserve’ status.

America owes China about $1 trillion, give or take, and owes Japan about $1.1 trillion. Japan is very close to China, both physically and culturally (in many respects – much closer than it is to America in any case.) This will become important in the near-future.

Eric Clapton – Nobody Knows You (3:19)

 

The United States allowed China to become one of its biggest bankers because the American people enjoy low consumer prices. Selling debt to China funds federal government programs that allow the U.S. economy to grow. It also keeps U.S. interest rates low. But China’s ownership of the U.S. debt is shifting the economic balance of power in its favor. …Owning U.S. Treasury notes helps China’s economy grow by keeping its currency weaker than the dollar. It keeps Chinese exports cheaper than U.S. products. …China would not call in its debt all at once. If it did so, the demand for the dollar would plummet like a rock.”

America, as it turns out, is at China’s mercy. China and Russia have become very close, best buds, if you will. The New Silk Road is a plan to bring the Chinese economy to Europe’s doorstep. Beijing and Moscow are connected by a rail line which passes through Kazakhstan. Russia now controls most of the energy going into Europe through pipelines that run (or are being built) through Turkey. Turkey has a virtual stranglehold on the EU because it will have all the pipelines supplying European energy running through its territory as well as having control of the Euphrates river which delivers water to the middle-east. Because of Russian military strength, Turkey listens to Russia. Saud will soon see (or already does) that it makes a lot more sense to sell their oil to China and Europe, and now that Russia can protect them in the middle-east, they have no need for America anymore, nor Israel, for that matter. The petro-dollar will die the same death, America will leave the middle-east once and for all, and Israel will stop settling Arab land, one way or another. They will never have felt so alone. ISIS will be eradicated in short order, to boot.

Once the dollar is crippled, the stock markets will obviously take a nose-dive, but here’s where the insidious part of the plan goes into action – all western investors will be wiped out in one fell swoop. Sure lots of slick investors have a bearish hedging strategy against a Chinese credit crunch, but just think about it. If you are bullish and bet long stocks or dollars or whatever, you will lose it all; but even if you are bearish, what will you be paid with, dollars? Sure you will win all your bets, but your dollar rewards will then be worthless, too… and I haven’t even mentioned derivatives.

There will be nowhere left to turn. Only stackers will be able to eat, and only those heavily invested in crypto-currencies will manage to keep up their standards of living… in another country, of course.

In this new reverse alchemy, defenestration would become a popular pastime and paper gold would turn into lead, one bullet at a time.


Europe will suffer greatly as their currencies collapse, and Saudi and Russian energy will be very expensive (Saud has to make up all that money they’ve lost trying to kill US shale,) but they could still pull through. They might even sell a lot of luxury cars to the new billionaires in the east. Canada could also survive, as it could simply trade one global hegemon for another and sell its resources to China, instead. A very weak dollar would be good for exports, after all.

America, on the other hand, would finally be punished for all its bull-y-ing as city after city would very swiftly be turned into so many Detroits.

America would be rid of its arrogant bull’, and bears would once again roam free, smirking.


 

*UPDATE*

If anything ever goes wrong with the Chinese economy, they always have the option of selling their American holdings (T-bills) despite the fact that this would weaken USD.

Is North Korea The Excuse China Needs To Launch Monetary Armageddon?

The BIS, since its reporting is lagged, can provide cover for secret Chinese plans to crush the USD.

“This collapse in foreign exposure to China is confirmed by Bank of International Settlements (“BIS”), although this data is only to q3 2016.”

This may be hiding the underlying move by the Yuan.

“The forced deleveraging of China’s WMP-driven excess was not helped overnight by disappointing trade data as both import and export growth slumped.”

“The question now is not if China’s economy will slow, but rather how fast,” Mr Frieda added.

If ever there was a good time to sell some US assets, now might be it.

Is It Teats-up For The American Empire?

Eurasia may be a new term all Americans will be forced to learn.
The Euro’s collapse may well be due to Turkey’s geo-political shift.
China’s debt crisis is no big deal, they’ll just liquidate their US holdings.

Kremlin advisor Sergey Glazyev reveals ‘cure for US aggression’
“The more aggressive the Americans are, the sooner they will see the final collapse of the dollar and by getting rid of the dollar this would be the only way for victims of American aggression to stop this onslaught. As soon as we and China dump the dollar, it will be the end of the US’ military might…

“In objective terms, they are conducting a global hybrid war [an American invention, btw] and in subjective terms, this war is aimed at us. Moreover, as it always happens when a global leader is changed, the war is for control over rimland nations. During WWI and WWII, Britain acted as an instigator in a bid to keep its global leadership. Now the United States is doing the same. And Trump expresses these interests,” he said.”


Turkey is turning its back on the west which will have disastrous consequences for the US dollar and all of the EU’s central banks. The quadrillion dollar derivatives market is about to become the world’s biggest eraser, rubbing out the US and EU economy in one blow. Turkey controls all the ME oil flowing into Europe and most of the water flowing into the ME.

News conference following Russian-Turkish talks
“…expansion of trade and investment exchanges, and looked at the possibility of carrying out mutual settlements in our national currencies.

“We continue our joint work on building the new gas pipeline Turkish Stream.” This pipeline is the first step in making the Ukraine obsolete as far as supplying Europe with Russian gas.

“We discussed Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, in which Russia is investing a total of $22 billion.”

“A third of Russians taking breaks abroad over this May holiday period have chosen Turkey as their destination.”


Russia hits another home-run while NATO tucks its tail between its legs. More and more countries are saying NO to NATO, Finland being the latest.

Press review: Syria’s warring sides back Russia’s plan and Finland says ‘no’ to NATO

“Syrian opposition forces are ready to implement Russia’s proposal on establishing four zones for reducing tensions. Most armed opposition groups have already agreed to take part in creating these territories, the leadership of Syria’s opposition delegation, which is heading to Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana for a new round of talks on Wednesday (see below,) told Izvestia. Russian armed forces should control the zones, the Syrian parliament said. However, Damascus has refused to accept the participation of UN forces.

Telephone conversation with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev

“…satisfaction with the adoption of a Memorandum on establishing de-escalation zones. They noted that its implementation by all sides would strengthen the ceasefire, improve the humanitarian situation, and on the whole promote the political settlement of the Syria crisis.

Nazarbayev has openly called for an end to American hegemony through the reserve currency, wants the UN headquarters to be in Astana, and, oh yes, controls all the world’s LEU uranium, thanks in large part to Warren Buffet.


With Syria going Russia’s way, Turkey knows it better start playing nice with Asia. Russia controls over half of Turkey’s gas imports, and a third of its coal. It is also working out a deal to supply Turkey with the S-400 missile defense platform. The days of the petro-dollar are coming to an end.

Turkey shifts its gaze towards the Eurasian Economic Union

Ankara has decided to suspend its plan to become a member of the European Union… supported by the United States since 1987.”


Still, the US presses on with its belligerence, surrounding Russia with nuclear weapons, launching sanctions, gossiping all day on CNN, all with the goal of pushing Russia to launch a first-strike so it can retaliate and say, “You see… Russian aggression.” This is just silly because if Russia does launch a first strike, it won’t be with nukes, it will be to take out all American satellites, thus rendering all US missiles and defense systems useless. America cannot get astronauts to the ISS, nor can it get new satellites into space without Russian rockets. Russia controls space, therefore, it controls the battle-space.

U.S. defense secretary to visit Lithuania

“Mattis is to meet with President Dalia Grybauskaite next Wednesday to discuss strengthening security in Lithuania and the Baltic region, and bilateral cooperation.”

Lithuanian security? C’mon, just look at a map of Lithuania. Are they going to be attacked by Poland? The only territory in danger is a small part of the Russian Federation which Lithuania and Poland surround. Just another excuse for missiles to surround Russia. Bilateral cooperation with a country so small and remote, of course, means, “Do as we tell you.”


Is this an exercise in futility? You bet it is. It’s over, and Nero is tuning his fiddle.

Prequel to this article.


Postscript

Now you may ask yourselves why I quoted TASS, the Kremlin, Xinhua, and voltairenet.org & strategic-culture.org instead of mainstream western sources? It is for the simple fact that none of them have reported any of this.

Erdogan: Richest Man On Earth?

Maybe ‘the most powerful man on Earth’ would be more appropriate. Let me explain.

Turkey and the EU have been in limbo now for almost thirty years. Turkey has wanted to join, but there have been doubts about its stability… well-founded doubts.

Recently, the west’s relationship with Turkey has soured. Erdogan has been playing both sides of the conflict in Syria. There is little doubt that he has sponsored mercenary forces to overthrow Assad, that he has moved Daesh oil, and that he has attacked both the Russians (by downing a Sukhoi) and the Americans in Syria:

“The Turkish statement clearly dismissed speculations that Ankara forces hit US-backed fighters in Syria by mistake.”

It would seem that Turkey has said goodbye to its EU aspirations, and perhaps the EU has also:

“The European Union has warned that the bloc could redefine the entire status of its relations with Turkey in light of recent developments in the country and amid growing disputes between the two sides.”

As I have written in past articles, if Turkey looks to the west, America wins in the middle-east along with its allies Israel and Saud. They would essentially control all the pipelines through Turkey, the Euphrates river, and the Mediterranean. Assad would be ousted, eventually. The Russians would lose access to the Mediterranean, and would be blocked at the Bosporus. New terror groups would undoubtedly spring up to threaten Russia from Georgia and Chechnya. This would give the west more power over Ukraine and Crimea, where the focus would undoubtedly shift. The globalists would win, too, by the way.

If Turkey looks east then the New Silk Road will be a ‘fait accompli’ giving China land access to the EU and giving Russia more say about what happens near its borders (with Georgia and Ukraine.) New pipelines would be built to bring Iranian oil to markets in the EU. The China/Russia/Iran/Kazakhstan connection would win over India, in time, as well as Saudi Arabia. The price of oil in America could quadruple overnight, shale or no shale. Populism would soar across the west and the EU, and Assange would be free to leave the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

Turkey looking east would almost instantly save Assad, sever the links between America and Saud, which would lead to the destruction of the petro-dollar scheme, which would kill the US dollar, which would, in turn, bring down all the central banks in the EU. The world’s derivatives markets are highly sensitive, especially these days, to the effects of any downturns with the central banks, just ask Douchebank (ahem) I mean Deutsche Bank. Actually, don’t; they’ve been very tight-lipped about the whole situation.

Deutsche Bank Tells Investors Not To Worry About Its €46 Trillion In Derivatives

 

The entire derivatives market is worth an estimated 1 quadrillion dollars, and if anyone of its substantial pillars were to fall, well, let’s just say that things would not end well. If the whole thing fell apart, it would be the end of America, and the EU, as we know it.

See here for a nice graphic representation.

So there we have it, Erdogan looking east would blow up the western world’s economy more assuredly than any bomb Russia could drop. Putin could end up beating the Americans simply by making nice with Erdogan. He wouldn’t even have to launch a missile. Good thing the west was thinking ahead, allowing a scapegoat like Trump, who would certainly be blamed, to win the white house.

Who’d have thought that the entire populist movement, the western banking system, and the fate of the western world, for that matter, depends not on Trump, or Le Pen, or on Farage, or even on Wilders, but rather on a paranoid dictator worth 1 quadrillion dollars headquartered in Turkey named Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and all so he can kill some Kurds?

Putin maybe, but he’s always been good at chess, and there ain’t no Bobby Fischers left.


UPDATE

It would appear that Turkey and Russia are indeed getting closer…

Russia’s Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday that the energy giant will begin the offshore laying of the Turkish Stream pipeline in the second half of 2017 and plans to complete the construction of two legs by the end of 2019.

…much closer.

Turkey, Russia clinch agreement on S-400 air defense system deliveries

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet face-to-face in Sochi on May 3 to discuss these and other matters. Clearly, the rapprochement since Turkey shot down a Russian jet is going well, much to the dismay of the west.

Vladimir Putin believes that Russia and Turkey are restoring full-format relations

“I’m sure that those steps that we are taking together will change the fate of the whole region,” Erdogan said.”

And they lived happily ever after…


Follow up to this article is here.

Setting Up For Failure??

With the past year’s electoral comedy festival coming to a close today, and with Obama’s economy (let’s face it) in the toilet, is it any surprise that the Dow went up this morning? Futures are up, PMs are up, even CNN’s ratings are up, hope is on the rise, and change is in the air… change not even Obama could have foreseen.

Whether you voted for a billionaire, a billionaire wanna-be, or you stayed home and didn’t vote (majority,) you have just witnessed the most vitriolic fight ever to have rocked the airwaves on CNN. But was it, as is all the other ‘news’ on CNN, all just a show? One of your candidates would have been beholden to Goldman-Sachs, the other will be sipping lemonade with them at his country club(s.) Some choice. Some democracy.

Billionaires have been moving their money out of the markets and into gold for the last year or so. Out of risky investments (they are all risky these days) and into wealth storage goes  the ‘smart’ money (I would call it the ‘informed’ money, but I digress) whereas the rest of us are being lulled into buying stock at the (obvious) top of the market. Someone is gonna’ make a killing, and somebody else is about to get fleeced… usually the sheep.

More and more experts are hedging against a catastrophic crash in the markets – they say it will make 2008 look like a minor hiccup – and betting on $5,000 gold, and many have been saying this for some time. Meanwhile, the manipulated markets are levitating on fumes. The crash is being postponed. Someone wants Obama to go out looking like a hero. Easy when unemployment numbers don’t include those who’ve stopped looking for work. Unemployment, by some estimates, could be as high as 20%, and with the national debt growing exponentially, population rates dropping, a soon-to-be-retired population aging fast, tax-havens for corporations, a growing prison population, and a bankrupt pension industry, the tax base is falling fast as spending (especially military) is going through the roof and government is growing faster and faster every year. Hell, even the cost of presidential libraries is more than doubling every term.

I used to think Trump was just thrown in to the mix in order to divide the Republican vote and get HRC elected. Could be, but Trump really was an anomaly. Did he really take the country by surprise, or were there those who had a plan all along? I’m starting to think that when Trump was first being seen as a champion for the people, others were taking advantage of the situation to further their own interests.

The economy could not be held up on ‘good news’ forever, they needed a way out of the downwardly-spiraling miasma beyond blaming the weather, or at least someone to pin it on. So the economy was propped-up for the exit of the Nobel prize-winner, and once Trump is inaugurated, the wheels will be allowed to come off. The end of 2017 could see the VIX at 100!

Since Brexit and talk of other countries leaving the EU, the big debate around the planet this year has been about one thing – globalism versus the dangers of populism. What if globalists are using Trump as a fall guy, a scapegoat to blame the coming crash on? What if they have their fingers on the markets just waiting to pull the plug? What better way to defeat populism than by using its own best champion to bring it down? “You see? We told you that he was dangerous, didn’t we? We told you globalism would prevail. Now show us your papers.” And that’s just the economic side… there’s also this situation in the middle-east involving Russia, Saud, Turkey, et al, but that’s another story.

Would it surprise me? No. Nothing, at this point, would surprise me.

*Update*

via Zerohedge: “Mario Draghi Hints Trump Will Be Responsible For The Next Financial Crisis

The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched

The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense. Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.

Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.

I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch.

Personally, I think it less about left vs. right and more about us vs. them. It’s a class thing. Both conservatives and liberals will suffer through the next major crisis, but populism will be pummeled.

Change…

…pocket change that is, is changing.

One dollar coins (Loonies) were popular as a forgotten novelty; two-dollar coins (Toonies) were not. I remember working in the service industry back in those days. Everyone complained about the amount of change they would have to carry around in those money belts. The money belts grew more robust. Waiters today are in for a surprise.

The nickel and the quarter will be eliminated in favour of a twenty cent piece, called a “Twenny.” (I don’t know that for sure, in fact, I just coined the phrase. Nevertheless, I think it sounds catchy. In France they are called “des pièces de vingt centimes” but then everything takes more words to say in French… maybe that’s what makes it romantic.)

This move, on it’s own, will likely lighten waiters’  loads (and necessitate another re-design of the money belt,) but there’s more.

The five dollar bill will be replaced by a coin. $5 bills represent just under 2% of the Canadian money supply. [It won’t be long now for the tens.] A two-hundred dollar bill will also be introduced. And all this for 2017. What ever happened to banning the ‘C’-note? In the cancellation of a bill, is a demand for it not being created? As they cancel more and more bills, and create new ones, won’t they be feeding the monster they wish to slay? Getting people to hoard cash is not good for banks. The Bank of Canada eliminated the thousand-dollar bill in 2000 for this purpose, and put the blame squarely on drug-runners and money-launderers. Movement of physical cash is closely watched at the borders and at all points of entry. Are they developing cover for a digital monetary system? Are they really going to ban cash? These recent actions lead us to believe that they will not, but sometimes an event must be manufactured with nothing but ‘good intent’ behind it acting as a catalyst to ensure it’s quick demise. Kissinger might find it easier to pop the balloon rather than let it deflate on its own. That would require intervention. Intervention always incurs cost.

Either this brings us closer towards the European system, or the people at the Mint are preparing for inflation. You don’t think of the economy in the same way if it costs a million of something to buy a loaf of bread. Being a millionaire is easy in some places. Debasing currency (by lowering the cost of production,) even fiat, always leads to inflation. The central banks have been struggling to find a way to increase inflation to keep this sham system afloat, and it looks like this turned out to be their best-worst option. Will this replace the need for ‘helicopter money‘ or is it just an addition? Perhaps it’s all been scripted in order to introduce a global [?digital?] currency. Either way, UNPA member Justin Trudeau is paving the way for his ascension through the UN. [Read the “Welcome” message in the UNPA link.]

Portugal had to wreck its economy for the former Prime Minister (1995-2002) António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (a notable socialist, ECFR, and Club of Madrid member – not to mention his long list of distinctions) to be elected Secretary General of the UN. That’s quite a cover charge for entry to the big boys’ club. I wonder if it was on a dare or a bet, or if it was just an initiation, of sorts. With that against him, his loyalty would be assured. Amongst other positions, he had previously served as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees.

Is Canada next? The Asian money doesn’t seem to think so, but the Canadian government’s recent action in the Vancouver housing market was a clear signal for Asian markets to ‘keep away.’ The manipulation practiced by Wells-Fargo, Shkreli, Volkswagen, and the gold market pale by comparison. Where’s RICO when you need him?

It looks like the Lone Ranger is gonna’ need some more silver bullets, and gold ones; or maybe Dorothy could just click her heels… rubies and sapphires might have some value, but emeralds are not a good investment.

The Legend of the Oogy-Mi-Booli Tribe

Before glaciers covered all the lands, there lived a tribe of rather primitive people, the Oogy-Mi-Booli. They occupied the forested region bordering the mountain steppes of what is now Lower Slobbovia. The village was on the only river in the area.

Sure, they could write and add and irrigate and such, but they were primitive in their thinking, in their predominantly short-term thinking. However, they thought themselves sophisticated because their economy was so complex. More on that later.

One evening, to everyone’s astonishment, a group of hunters had brought home with them a gargantu-nocerus, alive! Despite dispatching many of it’s kin, they had spared this one from the kill. Apparently, the gargantu-nocerus had spoken to one of them, the shaman. It wanted to make a deal. The animal was a young mother (after experiencing child-birth, gargantu-nocerususes lactate for life) who had just lost her only offspring to an even more gianter beast.

[Gargantu-nocerus milk was extremely nourishing; it was what sustained the hunters and allowed them to haul back such massive quantities of meat for the women and children of the tribe. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep. During a hunt, it was customary for the fastest runner to bring back as much milk as he could carry so that all the children in the village could have a taste before it went sour. Animals would chase him. Often-times, when the hunt was far, or the weather was hot, he would return with nothing but rancid butter.]

Upon arrival at their village (called Kshepaw-Oozju-Rendoo, where everybody lived in the same lodge-house,) the shaman called out all the villagers (which they found troubling, given the late hour – they had been tending to their pagan rituals) and instructed them on what needed to be done.

The animal in question, in a bargain for it’s life, was to be revered, made sacred, and placed in what was to remain, for all time, the most prominent spot in the village… on the roof of the communal house. It would be pampered, and cleaned, and fed, and attended to, and most of all, it would be protected from it’s other natural enemy, the enormo-saurusus (which stayed far afield of the human village on account of the smell.) The animal would be their de-facto emperor. In exchange, it would provide them with all the fresh gargantu-nocerus milk they could drink.

So the villagers got to work. A throne needed to be built, scaffolding had to be erected to reinforce the roof, and stairs needed to be constructed for the scores of volunteers attending to the behemoth which slept above their beds. Their prayers to the new emperor overhead would mostly be about structural failure, design flaws, and engineering specifications, or a desired lack, thereof, and sometimes, during the dry season, about getting more rain. Being mostly carnivorous – they ate some fish and insects, too – they didn’t need the rain for crops. They just enjoyed playing outside in it. The only thing better than rain showers, in the eyes of the people, was being ‘blessed from above’ by the animal’s showers of excrement. What an honour that would be, to be shat upon by the emperor! But first, they had to get the beast up there. Once they did, they could harvest the super-nutritious milk.

Needless to say, the task was a monumental one, but little by little, the throne was fashioned, the scaffolding and the stairs were built, and it didn’t all come crashing down onto the villagers’ heads. With this new supplement to their diet, gargantu-nocerus milk, the children grew up healthy, and strong, and with the belief that this lifestyle had to be protected, for the sake of the next generation. Stronger hunters make for bigger hunts. Bigger hunts make for more people to go on bigger and bigger hunts. Can you say ‘exponential growth curve’ or ‘doubling function’?

Every year, the gargantu-nocerodes’ genitals would be rubbed down and its musk would imbibe the rags. These rags would then be used to lure other gargantu-nocerodes during the hunt, making it less time-consuming, hence, more beasts could be felled.

One year, the emperor’s health began to fail, and another had to be captured in order to take its place. This tradition grew with time as did the need to expand the lodge-house. The hunts had never been so successful, and gargantu-nocerus meat could be smelled cooking for miles around, all day long. Boom-times !!

Well, with all the additions to the lodge-house, and with all the fires used to cook the Oogy-Mi-Booli’s meat, the forest in which they lived began looking more and more like the adjacent steppes, where the gargantu-nocerus roamed, treeless. The tribe’s economists (who were necessary now that the economy was booming) started developing insurance schemes, derivatives contracts, and other tools to mitigate the losses should anything really bad ever happen (of course, ‘really bad’ had only one result: doomsday. Nevertheless it re-assured the people that the smart ones, the bankers and businessmen, really did know what they were talking about.) It had gotten so bad, that the trek to get wood was now even longer than the trek to the hunting grounds. A generation later, there was no wood to be found anywhere, not even up-river, where the bankers lived.

The emperor’s excrement was gathered with nets (it was fibrous enough, given her vegetarian diet) and was used to stoke some of the fires (so much for manna showers – austerity became a noble goal,) but it was not enough. Eventually, people started to use wood from the lodge-house to cook their plentiful meat. When all the walls and the roof had been consumed they had reverted back to covering those surfaces with gargantu-nocerus skins. After the floorboards had been used, the scaffolding was next.

Life became like a game of ‘shortest straw’, nobody knowing when the shavings of wood they salvaged from the structural members of the scaffold would weaken it enough to initiate its collapse. The architects and the engineers (all the chief’s men) were called in by the shaman to reassure the people that “…at the present rate, the structure could withstand this whittling for decades to come, long enough, surely, to find a more permanent solution to this most pressing, but not by any means urgent situation. Everything’s fine; nothing to see here. No need to panic.” But ‘present rates’ tend not to stay ‘present’ for long; they grow.

One morning, while everyone else slept, the emperor’s head attendant peeled off some splinters of wood from the creaking structure to boil a pot of water for the emperor’s morning tea. Before anyone knew what had happened, they were all crushed by the weight of their utopic dream. All but the bankers, that is, but they all starved to death within a month.

Growth kills.

The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See (part 1 of 8)  (9:17)

The Grass Farmers

People tend to build next to rivers in order to facilitate trade. The best agricultural land tends to be near rivers. For decades, suburban centres have been making the switch from zoning for agricultural land to zoning for residential. Some residents are even being fined for growing food on their property because some municipal bylaws prohibit it.

We’ve replaced our farmland with lawns. We’ve gone from planting seed for food to planting grass for nothing. We’ve gone from tending our crops to watering our lawns. We’ve gone from harvesting our own winter stores and declaring our independence to cutting the grass on one of our two days off just to keep up appearances. Tending a well-landscaped lawn, flower beds, shrubs and hedges, non-fruit-bearing trees, can be as much work as farming, but the yield is zero. In fact, it turns out to be an enormous time sink, much like entertainment, socializing, and child-rearing. It also turns out be be a circular exercise in recycling compost for no benefit outside the aesthetic.

As a response to this long-term trend, big-agri is developing GMO’s in order to feed the ever growing population. They’re actually making quite a big deal of it, too. There is such a shortage of good farmland, we now need to engineer our food like we should have engineered our spaces.

Even a fruit tree every so often would make an impact on the ever-growing problem of ‘food islands.’ Why should I drive past unused farmland to go buy synthetic vegetables trucked into the tiled mall?

So with the scare-mongering of over-population and the fear-porn of climate change, the two things we can do to increase global yield in food supplies and prevent starvation are: home gardens; and increased atmospheric levels of CO2, but both have fallen into dis-favour. (A solar panel on some rooftops here and there wouldn’t hurt either.) The point is that population is controlled by the availability or scarcity of resources, and it is not the majority poor who control that.

Is there a systemic problem looming? Sterility has needlessly become a very large industry. A very large and damaging industry. See Morgan Spurlock’s “The Truth Behind Toxins“. CNN doesn’t even mention that it is about chemicals, addressing only ‘food’ in the introduction. The common thread throughout most of the show is sterility and cancer. The show starts off with what is probably the most persistent danger, flame-retardants. An honest examination, dis-honestly portrayed. There are many earlier examples of journalism on the topic; most were not widely viewed.

Birth rates are down almost everywhere in the western-world, as cancer rates skyrocket. GMOs are said to have negative effects on fertility and also may ‘transform cells.’ Cleaning products and beauty products also, as it turns out.

Deranged monarchs re-incarnated as merciful diseases do not a sensible solution make.

With food independence comes a better use of our time, money, resources, and health. Perhaps, we should rather think about saving a buck than making one.

 

Clinton Cash

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support Trump or Clinton. I don’t have a horse in this race (anymore than anyone under the influence of the US economy does.) I believe that they’re all a bunch of psychopaths. Only psychopaths are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to rise to such positions. Only psychopaths wish to rule over others. True leaders want to help others, to serve others, and to protect others. Psychopaths want money, power, and control over the lives of all who surround (and outnumber) them. Psychopaths are cowards who hide their cowardice through excessive aggression.

Having said this, there is a You Tube video which came out just two days ago. Short of bringing hard evidence (plausible deniability is not an accidental occurrence,) the documentary paints a pretty compelling picture about the Clintons and their misdeeds around the world while occupying positions of power in the USA.

The documentary below doesn’t even mention Mena Arkansas, or Bill’s near-pederasty, Whitewater, or any of their other well-documented scandals or social deviancy, but focuses on international donorship to the Clinton foundation by states and NGOs while the Clintons were in power as either POTUS, FLOTUS, or Secretary of State.

Clinton Cash” (1:04:56)

From Congo, to Haiti, to Kazakhstan, it is difficult to imagine a more corrupt organization (without referring to the WWF – more on this coming soon) than the Clinton Global Initiative.

With no good choices in this year’s electoral cycle, perhaps Americans should elect a council instead of an executive, or splinter into city-states. Maybe we should all collectively push the ‘big red button’ – not the nuclear launch button, rather the button marked RESET.

There has been a groundswell of political revolution all across the world. From the Arab Spring (yes, yes, nevertheless…,) to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, to a mass movement against the corrupt and complicit mass media, an awakening is being fueled by the internet and the dissemination of information nobody but the privileged have been privy to in the past. This must continue to the next level if the word ‘freedom’ is ever to regain its true meaning again.

Yellen: Make It Rain

Switzerland just said no (with 78%) to a guaranteed income (helicopter money) for all its citizens.

With an unemployment rate of about 3 1/2%, they didn’t really need it. The fear was that it would encourage immigration. That seemed to be enough of an argument for Swiss adults to decide they did not want an extra 2500 CHF (625 CHF per child) per month. The system was to replace welfare.

The practice remains more or less untested. It was first posited by economist Milton Friedman in 1969. The basic principle is that if a central bank wants to raise inflation and output in an economy that is running substantially below potential, one of the most effective tools would be simply to give everyone direct money transfers.

Canada tried it in limited amounts and found that it did decrease poverty, but at what price? Some had trouble dealing with it and feared it would push the country further towards socialism. The Canadian program is set to launch in 2016. Canada’s unemployment rate is twice that of Switzerland which means it might have more popular support.

Finland is set to begin in 2017. France, United Kingdom, and parts of the Netherlands are set to implement similar programs soon. Will the US be next?

Helicopter money indeed, but for whom? Cui bono?

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image: ©laphotoshoppe [at] gmail [dot] com

Eh You (Au)

If someone is vehement about not wanting you to buy something, it’s probably because they want it for themselves.

Additionally, if they vehemently want you to sell them that same thing, this can only serve to reinforce the impression that gold really is the only thing worth having.

“Awww, forget about gold, it’s so ‘passé.’ What you want are these financial instruments – ‘paper gold’. They’re more modern, and sexier, easier to trade, and no storage fees; not to mention that there are 400 times as many of these as gold! By the way, if you want to sell me some of your gold, I have a few of these choice opportunities for you. Besides, would you prefer carrying a briefcase, or a trunk? C’mon let’s go have a drink and talk it over.”

“Yeah I could really use one or two of those, what with work, mortgage, loans, an education for the kids, and don’t get me started about my…”

If you can’t spot the sucker, the sucker is you.

AGW – Calamity or Strategy?

There are those who believe that ‘global warming’ is a consequence of natural forces, there are those who believe that ‘global warming’ is man-made, and there are some who don’t believe it is happening at all.

Most reputable scientists seem to agree that there was a warming trend noticed in the mid-eighties (when satellite data became ‘de rigueur’) which lasted until 1998. Most would also agree that this warming has plateau’d and that the average global temperature has been steady for the last two decades. Many say that CO2 is to blame, many don’t.

Let’s, for the sake of argument, put all that aside for the moment. It really doesn’t matter, anyhow. What does matter in the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) debate is whether or not there are some people who have been trying to get the earth to warm up. Dane Wiggington is of the opinion that the earth is warming and that the result will be catastrophic. He also believes that geo-engineering is (partly) to blame. The implications are surreal.

There are three reasons for which this scenario is plausible: derivatives; market share; and commodities.

Derivatives (without getting too technical) are insurance. They are side bets made by financiers in order to protect themselves against investments gone bad. A farmers’ crops may be worth a million dollars, but if a natural disaster strikes, the failed crop might be worth two million through the derivatives market. This is the basis for ‘disaster capitalism.’ The derivatives market is said to be worth hundreds of trillions. Profits depend on failures in more traditional enterprises.

Market share is what drives corporations to monopoly. The more market share, the more customers, the more sales. Companies such as Monsanto have been developing techniques which would assure them almost complete market dominance. They, along with their partners, have been researching seed technology which could grow in almost any condition such as drought, flood, and even radiation.

Commodities are everything the world uses. They are raw materials. They are food. They are mineral resources such as gold (debatable,) oil, uranium, and coal. Some say that they are running out, or at least, that the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. There could be a new source of commodities, though. There could be an entire ocean of virgin ground awaiting exploration.

This would satisfy all three conditions.

If the world was warming, the polar ice caps would melt. This would wreak havoc with the global economy and the derivatives market would prove very profitable for the psychopaths praying for (and betting on) plague conditions. Environmental devastation would also prove very profitable for large conglomerates that could supply (very expensive) food which could not be grown anywhere else anymore. Thirdly, if the poles did melt, great swaths of new land would be exposed and exploited immediately.

This doomsday scenario begs the question, are there those who would sabotage the world for their own gain? If history is any indication, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” If these people do exist, are they presently putting their resources to work in trying to achieve this goal? Is geo-engineering being used to warm the planet further and faster?

Whether or not this is being implemented, the people in Davos have just put together a plan to ensure that whatever happens, they will control the outcome. “Scott Minerd (who before Guggenheim worked at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley) …joined a World Economic Forum advisory council. Its task? Develop guidelines for those nations looking to do business at the top of the world. That framework is to be released Thursday, in Davos.”

“The Arctic guidelines are voluntary, like many other sustainable investment initiatives, including the Principles for Responsible Investment or even the WEF’s own work on “sustainable competitiveness.” How does anyone expect to protect the Arctic environment in such a gold rush? The project is designed to complement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and while the green earth is littered with do-good business pledges, the notion received a shot in the arm recently. In December, almost 200 nations agreed in Paris to adhere to the first-ever universal climate goals. How nations contribute to progress toward them is their call, since there are no binding demands to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

The above taken from Bloomberg’s “The World Has Discovered a $1 Trillion Ocean.”

So cui bono? Who are the people who would benefit from a world destroyed, what tools would they employ to see such a strategy implemented, and just how far would they go to dominate and control the earth and its resources?

One would expect to find the answer just north of 66 degrees.

Lift-off, or Splash-down?

Today is the day the Fed decides whether it will raise interest rates or not. Nobody at all is talking about this but, heck, they might even go negative. From a nominal 0.10%, if the rate is dropped 0.25%, that would turn (near) ZIRP into (full-on) NIRP.

Maybe there will be a bomb scare and the meeting will be called off. That way ISIS can be blamed, guns can be confiscated, Christmas spending won’t be affected, the Fed won’t be scrutinized, and the hike can happen in January when it won’t matter so much, if at all. Everybody will be broke by then anyway.

We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, watch for falling… uh… objects.

*Update*

No bomb scare, no NIRP (yet,) no good sense from the Fed. Today’s hike caused already over-priced markets everywhere (even Brazil) to climb even higher. Is this a good thing, or did the Fed screw up once again?

If hikes are no good, and Nirp is no good (punishes responsible savers,) what options are left? When all markets are manipulated (to paraphrase Carney,) how does this bode for the entrepreneurs who are supposed to lift us out of recession? How are they supposed to make projections? How can they justify risking investments and hiring their workforce?

Defenestration did not appear to be a significant problem.

In the end, the Fed did not surprise, and raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade in a widely telegraphed move while signaling that the pace of subsequent increases will be “gradual” and in line with previous projections. The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to set the new target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, up from zero to 0.25 percent. Policy makers separately forecast an appropriate rate of 1.375 percent at the end of 2016, the same as September, implying four quarter-point increases in the target range next year, based on the median number from 17 officials.”

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© laphotoshoppe

Ottoman Insulation

Turkey’s recent (and seemingly inexplicable) foray into the spotlight of middle-eastern affairs has baffled many international observers. Turkey’s provocations against Syria, Russia, and now Iraq, and their alleged support of terror groups in support of their energy industry appear to have angered Washington (and NATO,) have puzzled Kazakhstan, irked China, and have put Europe in a difficult situation. Nobody seems to know what Erdogan is up to.

Resources are the default excuse, but cultural ties to the region’s other local actors play an important part. Is Turkey creating a buffer zone between Russia and the middle-east in order to inflate its importance? How many of the ‘-stans’ are on his side?

“In concrete terms, the only achievement was the announced agreement to launch the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). «Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline – TANAP can be launched sooner than it was initially scheduled», said Mr Ahmet Davutoglu at a joint press conference with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Some 6 billion cubic meters of gas of 16 billion cubic meters will go to Turkey, while some 10 billion cubic meters of gas will go to Europe. TANAP will connect the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).”

Is Turkey using Azerbaijan to further its goal of regional dominance or is Turcic concern for its neighbours genuine? The move north and east puts several other states, especially Georgia, into harm’s way. No wonder Putin included Yunus-Bek Yevkurov in its meeting with the Saudi defense minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. This aggrandization of the empire would serve as a bonding agent solidifying Turkey’s plan for regional dominance. Turkey already controls all the land-based pipelines into Europe from the middle-east and seems to have no qualms about using less legitimate groups to help further its agenda. The term ‘deep-state’ was coined in reference to Turkey, after all. (Note the black Turkish flag in the above image.)

“The rulers of re-emerged Ottoman Empire are trying to rekindle the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces has escalated recently. The Paris Armenia-Azerbaijan summit slated for December 1 was indefinitely postponed.”

Turkey has many battle-fronts now; they look to start conflict with everybody it would seem. A war forces states to take sides, and with Turkey controlling a great deal of European energy, as well as the water from the Euphrates river, perhaps Erdogan is trying to force his ally’s hands. He thought he had NATO support, but that is as yet uncertain; Turkey did fight a war against Poland in the 17th century. He seems to have Washington’s, in any case. But will Russia and the US both fall for the ploy, or will the two super-powers turn against him? He may well take Assad’s place as the next Gadaffi. Turkey’s role is at least as important as Ukraine’s, and they just got about the same amount of money from Europe as the IMF gave the Ukraine. Will we see increased terror attacks across the Caucasus as Putin has feared since the Sochi games? Time will tell.

*Update*

Just to push the point of Caucasus-ISIS young men with no better options than to make war with each other… The trickle-down is military, minute, and manipulative. War is a job; it comes with training, decent pay, glory and valour, and it leaves more women for the surviving (or conquering) men. The nomadic mercenaries are the Highlanders of the middle-east.

Russia says rebel killed in Caucasus was trained in Syria

“Turkey, the US, Russia, Syria – all these countries, the Kurds are all involved in the struggle against ISIS in Syria and in Iraq.

Yes, yes they are – and maybe that’s part of the reason why Erdogan despises them more now than ever.”

– Tyler Durden

Divisiveness

Everything in life which has been given importance works to divide us.

Capitalism leads to competition, it divides us into competing groups (corporations) or competitive entrepreneurs, who must each compete with each other by increasing service while decreasing cost. It is conflict which drives each market, sector, and industry. We must even compete for our jobs. We must all be better by working more and getting less value for our own time, and all for the greater good of society. Time is, after all, the only thing with which we are all born. Time is the ultimate non-renewable resource. Good is also a relative term. The more time we spend working for the good of our family, the less time we have to spend at home to raise our families properly. Since we cannot do it ourselves, the state must do it for us. Through babysitters, day-care workers, teachers, tutors, coaches, mentors, religious leaders, and nannies do we educate our children by using their morals, values, ethics, and philosophies as proxy to our own. Is this actually good? Does this lead to the betterment of society or simply a ‘lowest common-denominator’ way of looking at education. Does this improve the independance, empowerment, and decision-making ability of our kids or does it hinder their development? Increased competition has led to both parents being away from their children just to maintain the same level of comfort our parents enjoyed. We also have less time for our friends, of which we have more now. Can this be considered inflationary economics vis-a-vis relationships and familial life?

Thanks to the hightened sense of capitalistic values (or the negative view on communistic ones,) committee work is sneered at. A committee is considered to result in the lowest common denominator of the decision process instead of leading to a greater coverage of the areas involved. Ayn Rand had much to say on this subject. Capitalism has always been pitted against communism (democracy and socialism are terms of governance) as if there were no alternatives other than those two, as either can lead to fascism (which is a state solution to competition as it eliminates all forms of conflict through authoritarian rule, much like Monarchy.)

Democracy, which has become synonymous with capitalism in the west, also leads to factions: there’s the right and the left, the red and the blue, the Republicans and the Democrats, all very Jungian. Factions of factions are also present and evolving; centrist (fence-sitting,) center-right, center-left, and all the attendant sub-categories lead to more and more levels upon which to disagree. Whether you’re an elephant or a donkey, it’s always a fight against the other team (or combination of other teams) instead of working together to find common solutions.

Religious sects are a perfect example of this be they Catholics versus Protestants, Sunni versus Shia, Reform and Orthodox Judaism, or Hinduism, which is a veritable cacaphony of conflicting ideologies.

Sports, either individual or team, also bring the dualistic paradigm into sharp focus. Even reality shows are a competition. Sure, the teams must work together at times, but the end result is always the elimination of certain members such that in the end, there can be only one, the so-called winner. Victorious and alone, like the Highlander, confined to a life of solitude. This is better?

Sex is the ultimate competition. Whose genes will be passed on? What is the goal here, to solely populate the earth with one gene pool? This is surely not better. We all compete for the best mate but then lose interest after a decade or so only to start competing again, but this time with lesser resources. This has less to do with progeny than with ego, though. But ego has led to many people bringing competition in this market to the level of changing themselves physically, often with terrible consequences. Is fake ‘perfect’ better than real unique?

Everything, it would seem, is a war now. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the battle for the environment, it would seem as though the competition has been brought to its ultimate level in all aspects of our lives. Advertising displays this violent mentality better still – “We must beat the competition to bring you the best.” Wouldn’t working with the competition bring about a better deal in the end?

A good example of this is the automotive industry. It can be argued that without cars, there would be no pollution, no oil dependancy, no wars, and a lot less stress. This may be stretching things somewhat, but a case could be made. The point is that public transport would be at a far higher level than it is at today because if all those companies that try to build a ‘better’ car would have worked together and pooled their resources from the start, we’d be able to go anywhere in the world in an hour, and for a pittance. The basic structure of our thinking which has produced this economy that glorifies our duality and competitive ‘nature’ is at fault.

Is it in our nature to compete or is it more akin to humanity to work together? Different societies will have differing views on this, but beneath all that, beneath the modern constructs and psychological affectations, have societies and whole civilizations not arisen by working together? Is that not what is meant by community?

The truth of the matter is that we have been influenced, to a great extent, by those who would have us working more such that they may work less. They don’t want us working together, that’s how revolutions happen. They want us focused on bringing each other down so that we cannot climb upon our brothers’ and sisters’ shoulders for a glimpse at our own emancipation. The lazy rise to the top in our society, not the hard-working. It is always through top-down pressure that terms like team-player, overtime, austerity, trickle-down, and company-man find favour. We have been conditioned to think like those we wish to emulate. We have forgotten, it would seem, that it does tend to be lonely at the top. When team-work is given the true status it deserves, it can get to be quite dangerous there, as well.

 

 

 

Trickle-Up Carbon Taxes

Here are some points about carbon taxes which may have passed under the radar gleaned from Canada’s Ecofiscal Commision (a Canadian think-tank.)

The commission had what they refered to as a debate today between Chris Ragan, chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission and Merran Smith, Executive Director or Clean Energy Canada moderated by the Globe and Mail’s Editorial Page Editor Tony Keller. It wasn’t much of a debate, it was more like publicity. The live event was aimed at corporate oil sector executives.

The participants mostly echoed each others’ comments. Even pre-recorded clips and guest questions simply regurgitated the day’s talking points. They were few, but seemed to encourage oil companies to accept the incentivization programs aimed directly at them. The public, and its concerns, were for the most part, ignored.

The one point which kept coming up was that carbon taxes should be revenue-neutral. What this means is that while companies would be taxed for their share of carbon emissions (again, there was no distinction between CO, CO2, and CH4) at about $30/tonne, the money would then come back to the company through special programs, tax breaks in other areas, or subsidies. BC’s cement industry was cited saying that some $25M had already been given in order to reduce GHG emissions. So is the government trying to get some of its money back, or is it trying to get corporations to pay for their own subsidies?

BC uses a revenue-neutral system whereas the system in Quebec is cap and trade (Quebec carbon is taxed at about $14/tonne.) The problem here is the perception of oil companies; if they feel the taxes are not revenue-neutral, the ‘debators’ conceded, there would be an exodus of mostly manufacturing jobs towards cheaper emerging markets. In other words, ‘the working man’ suffers.

They then pointed out that manufacturing jobs were being replaced with other jobs (in Ontario total hires went up.) If those jobs are being replaced with better jobs (R&D,) (re)education will cost more for the workers and saddle them with more debt – if Canadians are even qualified to do these jobs – which is doubtful. But if the jobs (as is more probably the case) are being replaced with lesser jobs (service sector) as is the current trend, again it is ‘the working man’ who suffers.

Emerging market countries have been quick to point out that most of this ‘pollution’ was made by developed market countries who then counter that the pollution from the next fifty years will be mostly EM, and much worse. We got it on credit, but you have to pay up front.

Finally, the ‘leftover’ taxes would be used to help subsidize public transport. Since less people will be able to afford cars, this seems reasonable. Again it is ‘the working man’ who suffers. Those who can afford it will be encouraged to buy newer cleaner cars. More money being spent by the public which already owes a tremendous amount of new car debt in favour of the car companies who produce the pollution in the first place. This is all getting rather circular. Who suffers? You guessed it.

All this is based upon the notion that this entire carbon market will not be a free market, but a highly manipulated one; one in which the price of carbon can never be high enough, much like the already carbon-tax-laden airline ticket. Prices will be set, because if the market were left to its own devices, and it turns out that CO2 does nothing to raise global temperatures, the >$1T market would collapse taking everything out with it.

Canada’s Ecofiscal Commision has no literature referencing sources for CO2 harm, cites no peer-reviewed papers backing up its claims, will not provide any references, and says the science is settled which negates the need for any pesky proof.

The commission has also indicated that all forms of carbon emissions should be subject to taxation. Get ready for a breathing tax, Canada.

 

Saddam, Saud, and Sino-Petrol

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is hurting. Their move of increasing oil production with the goal of lowering prices in order to gain a larger market share (Saud denies this but they are trying to put US shale out of business – low interest rates in the US have contributed to staving off the death blow, for now) has hurt all net oil exporting economies worldwide, including Saud, itself. The secondary effect was to pressure Russia into leaving Assad to the jackals. Russia bit the bullet and did not yield. Strike two. The war in Yemen as well as the financing of Syrian rebels costs the kingdom a lot of money they just don’t have. Steeeerike three.

Oil represents about 80% of Saud’s revenue. With ISIS competing for market share by selling oil to Turkey at $20/barrel – thereby undercutting the market by half, their economy can simply not withstand this price point for much longer. So what can they do?

They could find other sources of income, they could cut output of oil, they could de-peg from the US dollar, or they could start selling oil in yuan. Remember what happened to Saddam Hussein when he tried to sell his oil in Euros. Everybody was a loser in that affair.

Today, the renminbi (yuan – for all intents and purposes) will likely be included in the IMF’s SDR basket of funds. There is an OPEC meeting this Friday.

*Update*

Saudi Aramco is rumoured to be going public, that is to say, privatized. An IPO is being considered. Of course the Saudis wouldn’t let this corporation fall into the wrong hands (5% for now,) so is this simply a variation on a stock-buyback scheme of epic proportion? This way they can raise their stock price without raising the price of oil. Since doing so would hurt the stock price, this would more or less guarantee low oil prices for a while. This would be a bad thing for all oil net exporters; Canada will be especially hard hit.

One wonders if they will allow Yuan transactions for their shares.

Knowledge Is Power

ipsa scientia potestas est”

Meditationes Sacrae (1597) – Sir Francis Bacon

Physics tells us that power equals work over time (P=W/t.) If knowledge is power and time is money, we can substitute: knowledge equals work over money. Therefore, the ratio between knowledge and money is inversely proportional. Ergo, the more money you make, the less you probably know; or conversely, the more you know, the less you are likely to make. (There is a lower limit to this.)

Possibly also, the more money one has, the less one needs to know.

High-paying jobs are usually very pointed, very specific as far as knowledge goes. In this case, a broader base does not a taller tower make. More like a laser beam, a narrow base creates a more focused and distant reach.

This is why schooling equals ‘success’ and education equals freedom.

Furthermore, work is defined as force times distance (W=F*d.) Work, therefore, requires exertion and movement.

Work is also the product of power and time (or knowledge and money,) but since they are inversely proportional, it is a zero-sum. In other words, all work is equal in value, unless it requires no exertion, in which case it isn’t work at all.

A telling point is that the combination of knowledge and money portends force at a distance.

So the next time someone with soft hands tells you they’ve worked hard to get where they are, or that they’ve earned everything they’ve gotten through being smart, either they don’t understand the facts, or they’re lying. Maybe both.

This isn’t just an opinion; it’s math, it’s physics, it’s science!

China Secures SDR

While the world was busy watching the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the IMF just gave its recommendation to place China’s Renminbi in the global Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of funds.

In an ironic twist, while the IMF has historically delayed the moment of acceptance, it caved just months after China officially devalued its currency for the first time in decades to stimulate its exports, and has unleashed an unprecedented campaign (using overt and covert means) to stabilize the Yuan as capital outflows in the past several months have soared. ”

This puts pressure on the faith in the US dollar and its world reserve currency status and has many international consequences, as well.

*Update*

Today is the day. Is the beginning of the end nigh for the US dollar?

“In 2009, amid the West’s scramble for signs of recovery, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the Peoples Bank of China, called for a new financial order with a global reserve currency replacing the U.S. dollar. The Financial Times noted, “If, as expected, the imf this month approves the inclusion of China’s renminbi as a reserve currency, it will mark a small step for Mr. Zhou’s 2009 vision but a big move for the renminbi.” ”

“The US Dollar might have reached the top of its strength and could see a downward correction in the next few weeks.”

With the Fed expected to raise interest rates in December, more outflows from the US dollar to the Yuan (renminbi) and some downward pressure on the dollar can be expected in the short term. Long term, the dollar still looks strong, but the renminbi is set to catch up.

It’s official, the yuan will be part of the SDR basket starting Oct. 1, 2016 with a weighting of 10.92%. Could this be a catalyst for portfolio re-allocation? If it is, and if new buyers of yuan stem the outflow of capital from China, the yuan may soar undoing all the devaluations to date and, ironically, hurt the already faultering Chinese economy. Could China’s hard landing turn into a crash?

A Pound of Flesh?

The Canadian, Dick Pound, seems to have gotten his revenge. Spurred on by several Canadian athletes, and despite every country in the world using some form of performance enhancing drugs in their athletics programs or in some of their athletes, whether they know it or not, Dick focused almost entirely on Russia, and in peculiar particular, on Putin. Everyone knew. Putin must have been aware, complicit, and complacent. Will Russia be banned from the Olympics for this conspiracy of athletic terror? Gold medals are good for the economy, and if medals are stolen, so too is the cash with which they come. This has economic implications. What doesn’t? The Israelis used the same economic terror argument against Gaza.

Remember Sochi? Wow, the opening ceremonies were just… wow! And all they ever talked about was that malfunctioning snowflake. Sour grapes.

Ben Johnson (Canadian,) Lance Armstrong (American,) and thousands of others have been found to use steroids; what is interesting here is the timing of these releases. Ben was quickly stripped of his medal in favour of his American counterpart, and Lance revealed everything at the end of his career in order to sell more books.

This story is not a story about doping. This is a story of intimidation, coercion, strong-arming, and pretending-to-not.

Continue reading “A Pound of Flesh?”

Climate Change – Conservancy Or Governance?


Margaret Thatcher    “Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.”

“Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?”


Before getting into details, some very basic questions on the topic answered briefly:

1- Who are the chief actors?

  • Pro AGW actors will herein be known as ‘alarmists.’
  • Con AGW actors will herein be known as ‘doubters.’ ‘Deniers’ is seen as derogatory and has been replaced in the mainstream media (MSM.) Skeptics is still prefered by some.

2- Is the global climate changing?

Yes. It always has and it will continue to do so. This is why there have been ice ages.

3- Is this change due to human activity?

No. (see question 4, below) The sun is the primary determinant of climate as this is where the planet gets almost all its energy.

4- Does human activity contribute to warming or cooling trends?

Otherwise stated, is anthropogenic global warming or anthropogenic climate change (AGW or AGCC) a legitimate concept? On the face of it, probably not, but if it is, the effect is truly minimal. The rub here is whether or not we consider geo-engineering (besides a slight mention, geo-engineering is not a substantial part of this article) as part of this equation? If so, the effect would be to increase the amount of influence man has on his environment, although very slightly. In which direction, though, is still not known.

5- Is CO2 pollution or plant food?

CO2 is most definitely not pollution by any definition of the word. Conflation between carbon monoxide (CO – which is pollution) and carbon dioxide (CO2 – which is plant food) and basic scientific ignorance seem to be at fault here. See this article for disambiguation.

6- Does the economy have an effect on the science?

Just as with politics, when money is introduced into a problem, it tends to aggravate the situation by bringing up new problems. The economy affects everything. Governments need revenue to fund research and address issues. Corporations need investors in order to continue doing business. Universities and think-tanks need government (and private) money to continue their research. Magazines, journals, and publishing houses need advertising revenue to continue to publish. Scientists need money to support their families. There are many points along this chain in which to introduce money as a corruptive factor. Money can indeed influence science, and has.

7- Does politics control policy, or do the facts?

It would seem that there is an agenda at work behind the question. The IPCC (the UN’s main deliberative body on climate change) was, at its inception, created with a mandate. The IPCC is a political body and not a scientific one and was created with specific goals and objectives to attain. Their own literature attests to this fact. Scientists who participate with the IPCC do so as consultants and advisors only. Motions put forth by the UN are written by lawyers, bureaucrats, translators, and policy-makers, not scientists.

8- Is there bias in the debate?

Both sides of this question are subject to biases (scroll down to the comments section where professor Brown references these biases) when reporting on the data. Everybody who works in this field has a horse in the race, so to speak, and everybody wants their horse to come out ahead. However, there are several documented instances of outright fraud concerning manipulated data which all seem to come from one side of the table in particular – the alarmist side. (More on this later) And yes, many people on the internet lie or are mis-informed, on both sides.

9- How much carbon dioxide is there in our atmosphere?

400 ppm = 0.04% That is to say that four one-hundredths of one percent of our atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide.

Some basic facts about CO2 concentrations:

  • 70,000-100,000 ppm (unconsciousness within an hour)
  • 7000-8000 ppm (earth’s historic high)
  • 5000 ppm (US Occupational CO2 exposure limits – 8 hrs.)
  • 3000-4000 ppm (poorly ventilated indoor spaces)
  • 2000-2500 ppm (well ventilated indoor spaces)
  • 2000-2500 ppm (Jurassic era levels)
  • 800-4000 ppm (optimal greenhouse targets)
  • 360 – 410 ppm (earth’s atmosphere today)
  • 250 ppm (earth’s historic low)
  • 200 ppm (IPCC target level)
  • 150 ppm (level under which plants start to die)
  • 0 ppm (where Bill Gates wants it)

If you only click one link in this entire article, make it the following:

Chistopher Monckton Keynote – ICCC9 July 9, 2014 (47:11)

Start at the 20:00 mark if you don’t have much time. In this video, Lord Christopher Monckton lays bare the language of the agreements reached at several climate summits demonstrating the true intent behind these schemes. He then goes on to suggest some very positive actions which we all can take in order to guarantee legitimacy and transparency in these international tribunals governed by non-elected bodies accountable only to their own interests. With the COP-21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris quickly upon us (November 30 to December 11, 2015) there is precious little time to act.

Let’s put an end to global warming.

Continue reading “Climate Change – Conservancy Or Governance?”

Бейбітшілік пен келісім сарайы - Astana

Astana Mean-Time?

Kazakhstan is an interesting place with a broad and diverse history. From Genghis Khan’s invasion to Stalin’s deportation of undesirables from the west of the country (which contributed to the region’s ethnic diversity) as inmates of the gulags to the unilateral dismantling of their nuclear program in the post-Soviet era, Kazakhstan has been down a long road to its present form of democracy/dictatorship.

The image above is of the The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a.k.a. Pyramid of Peace and Accord. Among its many features are stained glass panels at the top showing three doves in the middle triangle, two doves on the right, and two doves on the left. This motif is echoed below by lozenges, again three in the middle, two on the right and two on the left.

The Pyramid was specially constructed to host the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism and other faiths. It also houses a 1,500-seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center for Kazakhstan’s ethnic and geographical groups. This diversity is unified within the pure form of a pyramid, 62m (203ft) high with a 62x62m (203x203ft) base. The building is conceived as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality.”

1368351596_11!!-!!12 Park640

Kazakhstan has, of late, been on a building spree which would put pre-crisis Spain to shame. Financed by Kazakh supplies of oil, gold, and uranium (the world’s second largest producer and America’s largest supplier) as well as massive amounts of foreign investment (from the likes of Warren Buffet, no less,) universities, infrastructure projects, religious institutions, and sky-scrapers have all been popping up at a phenomenal rate. But there’s more. They have been building trade deals and international relationships, as well.

One of these deals was the foundation of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen. “The IAEA LEU Bank, operated by Kazakhstan, will be a physical reserve of LEU available for eligible IAEA Member States. It will host a reserve of LEU, the basic ingredient of nuclear fuel, and act as a supplier of last resort for Member States in case they cannot obtain LEU on the global commercial market or otherwise.”

“The establishment and operation of the IAEA LEU Bank is fully funded through US $150 million of voluntary contributions from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Norway and Kazakhstan.”

Strangely enough, there are some other ‘improvements’ of note, which may seem, at first glance, contrary to the Kazakh stance on WMD. The USA is funding a bio-weapons research lab with the goal of fighting global terror. The lab will also serve as a storage facility for some of the most harmful and virulent strains of disease known (such as bubonic plague, yellow fever, anthrax, cholera, smallpox et al..) The BSL-2/3 (the highest level is BSL-4) lab will not only protect the diseases studied within from being stolen, but also protect the bio-chemists and engineers (and the knowledge they possess) from being hired by shady groups. There has been much unemployment in this field since the collapse of the Soviet Union, after all.

There is also the possibility that the US is funding the lab with other intentions in mind…

Russia Questions Peaceful Nature of US Biological Research

*Update* The CDC reports unususally high rates of bubonic plague (black death) in the US.

“The United States must target all attributes of the biothreat, using all available tools–from the cognitive realms of transparency and partnerships which have the potential to shape and dissuade, to the firm reality of denial and punishment through vaccinations and kinetic responses as necessary.”

But more on this later. *Update – some evidence of this plan coming to light: America has attacked a power plant and a water treatment facility in Aleppo, Syria with no military value against ISIS. This could lead to an outbreak of cholera.

Russia currently pays Kazakhstan $115 million annually to use Baikonur Cosmodrome, plus $50 million every year for maintenance, under a deal signed in 2004. That agreement is slated to expire in 2050.” This is a pretty good deal considering the following, “NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent a letter to Congress Wednesday saying the agency would need to pay $490 million to Russia for six seats on Soyuz rockets for U.S. astronauts to fly through 2017. That comes to nearly $82 million a seat, up from $71 million a seat. Since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian federal space agency Roscosmos to provide seats on its Soyuz spacecraft to send U.S. astronauts to the space station.” Further, “At the moment, Russia is the only nation capable of launching astronauts to the International Space Station. Russia’s crew-carrying Soyuz spacecraft all launch from Baikonur…” In addition, the US buys its rocket engines used for satellite launches from Russia and will need to do so for years to come. The American space program seems to be completely dependant on both Russia and Kazakhstan. What would happen if they decided to cut the Americans off?

See also: “US Badly Needs Russia’s Technology to Keep Its Space Program Afloat

With all the new investment opportunities (mostly from the USA) as well as the very close ties to Russia, it seems odd that Nursultan Nazarbayev (who also attended a NATO summit on Afghanistan in 2010) would say the things he said at the UN during a speech he gave on September 28th (which, oddly enough, is not on the UN’s video channel,) to wit:

  • That the world should move towards a global currency (thus stripping the USA of its reserve currency status.)
  • That the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be removed from USA control and folded into the UN.
  • That the headquarters of the UN should be moved from New York to somewhere in Asia (he did not say where.)

Granted, these recommendations were to take place over a rather long period of time, nevertheless, it demonstrates either a cunning international play against the hand feeding it, or a willingness to accede to a plan already long in the making. He did sign on to help in America’s ‘War on Terror’, after all.

Putin also said, during an interview with Charlie Rose, that there could be room for change at the UN, and the French and Mexican delegations pushed for a reform of the veto rules at the Security Council’s meetings, as well. It would seem that the winds of change are blowing squarely into American faces.

*Update

Now Putin is turning his nose up at the Saudis after a meeting in Russia. And what was Ingushetia’s Yunus-Bek Yevkurov doing there with the others’ Defense Ministers?

While You Weren’t Listening

The first and current President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Nazarbayev. In his speech to the UN today, he made several recommendations to the council. They were monumental in scope, especially considering the limited international status of his 25 year old country. Then again, based on what Putin said about the UN (or rather, didn’t say,) perhaps there are things in the works about which we don’t yet know.

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, Kazakhstan inherited 1,410 nuclear warheads and the Semipalatinsk nuclear-weapon test site. By April 1995, Kazakhstan had returned the warheads to Russia and, by July 2000, had destroyed the nuclear testing infrastructure at Semipalatinsk.”

“On 2 December 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Republic of Kazakhstan designated 29 August as International Day against Nuclear Tests, anniversary of the date the Semipalatinsk test site closed in 1991.”

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in Asia and has the strongest economy in central Asia. They have enormous oil reserves and are a leading exporter of uranium (ironic as that is.) It is also a world leader in coal, iron, and gold production.

Their elections have been largely considered to be unfair and anything but free in the eyes of international observers.

Kazakhstan is vying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2017. They enjoy good diplomatic relations with both Russia and the Ukraine.

He proposed five main points:

  1. That there be one global currency to replace the favoured status of a reserve currency and the unfair advantages it confers upon the country that controls it.
  2. That the IMF be folded into the UN’s mandate removing it from US control (since they won’t have the reserve currency, anyways.)
  3. That the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan (agreement signed this August,) which removes the need for individual countries to enrich their own uranium by centralizing the distribution thereof, be the only source for enriched uranium. A kind of central bank for fissile material. This bank would be overseen by, and indeed, folded into the UN and included in its mandate.
  4. That nuclear weapons be banned, outright.
  5. That the UN headquarters be moved out of the US and into Asia.

Given that France and Mexico et al. have proposed that the veto right of the permanent members of the UN Security Council be severely limited, It doesn’t look like the world is going to leave a lot of meat on the bone for the US to cushion its fall from grace. Could this be the impetus for WWIII which the UN was formed to avoid?

There is a short follow-up article here.

Old Yeller

Tonight in Amherst Massachusetts, Janet Yellen, while giving a speech titled, “Inflation Dynamics and Monetary Policy” appeared to have had a stroke, live on stage.

Initial reports claim it wasn’t a stroke. <sarc> Perhaps the Russians poisoned her with polonium-210. </sarc>

Her reaction caused a stir in the markets, which then rebounded on the news that she would survive.

20150924_APAC1

Apparently she’s doing fine and is heading off to supper. We’ll see.

*Update*

From Zero Hedge:

Fed Refuses To Comment On Yellen’s Health

One way or another, she doesn’t seem well. Whether it’s penis envy vis-a-vis Christine Lagarde, or another stroke, she looks as healthy and as in-the-loop as the global economy and the people paying for it. Or did she just ‘get it‘ that her monetary policy has played into the hands of the ‘International Order,’ as Barack Obama called it.

Yellen gets it

The One Percent

There is much talk about the one percent and how they control the world. This could not be further from the truth. The error comes with statistics like this one:

The richest 1% will have more wealth than the other 99% by 2016.

Despite pure wealth, governance is the key to the notion of the 1%. The fact is that even the top 0.1% don’t have anything to say about governance, and neither do the top 0.01%, nor the top 0.001%. As it happens, if you are a billionaire, you are part of the 0.00003%; and those aren’t even the important billionaires, just your standard run-of-the-mill billionaires.

There are about 2000 billionaires in the world. The population of the world is 7.3 billion (or 7 300 000 000.) That comes out to about 0.00003%. If we only consider the top 100 billionaires (the Bilderbergers of the world,) that figure goes to 0.0000015%. These are the real ‘one percent.’

Bill Gates (being the richest human) would have the unique distinction of being the only part of the 0.00000001%.

Do the math.

This gives the term ‘society of entitlement’ a whole new meaning. This phrase is usually reserved for those who make so little money that they have to rely on government assistance. It might be a mis-nomer. It should probably refer to those who have so much money that they can tell the government what to do.

Raising the minimum wage has been suggested as a means to close the wealth gap, and it has also been argued that the economics behind this argument is flawed. Perhaps then, it is time we start talking about a maximum wage.

One wonders who the world’s first trillionaire will be. One way or another, it won’t be long before we find out:

“If you added up the net worth of the 51 richest Americans last year, the trillionaire mark would be reached. This year, that number is down to 37 individuals. … Existing wealth has a greater capacity to accumulate wealth. … If we are now at 37 individuals to reach a trillion, will we be down to five people in 2039, with $200 billion each, and 65 years from now, turn those five into one?”

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 9.23.25 PM

(Click on above graph for a larger view.)

Final thought – If we were to get rid of 90% of the world’s population, nothing would change. If we, on the other hand, were to get rid of 0.01% of the world’s population, everything would. Which would be the more humane solution?

[Disclaimer: The above thought is NOT a call to action, rather, it is a thought experiment which harkens back to the eugenics movement/de-population agenda and those amongst the elite who, even now, would support such things.]

Quagmire [kwaɡˌmī(ə)r] – An Awkward, Complex, or Hazardous Situation

American Imperialism is alive but perhaps not so well in the middle-east. There are many stories about the region and its mind-boggling complexity in the news these days, but there doesn’t seem to be any over-arching analysis of the entire situation which stretches from the Crimea to the Yellow Sea. The big picture is frightening in scope and potential.

Let’s start with some basic facts:

Upon further reflection, the rest of this article will be left to the reader’s imagination. However, the main takeaway should certainly be the fact that this quagmire in Asia has (to a large extent) been engineered to protect the US Dollar. It may not work out that way, in the end.

“My Taxes Pay Your Salary”

The main problem with the “My taxes pay your salary so I want you to take action on my behalf” argument is that the top 20% pay more taxes than do working-class citizens, and often, the actions they want taken are contrary.

The government has to do what’s in the public interest. What most people don’t realize is that there are many publics, each with their own interests. The government only chooses which interests from which publics they will act upon.

2010_US_Tax_Liability_by_Income_Group_-_CBO

As can be seen in the above chart, the top 20% of earners pay almost 70% of individual taxes. The bottom 80% account for only about 30% in the USA.

So beware that when using the, “I pay your salary” argument, you probably don’t; but by saying so, you justify being ignored.

Magnesium: The New Oil?

We should not allow our complacency to undermine what could potentially be the best boost to our economy since hydro and the lottery. This plan amounts to surface-picking / recovering rubble piles left behind during the massive mining of asbestos. There are 500 M tonnes of rubble piles which are accessible by bucket and loader. Magnesium is selling for $4.20 US / kg (as of August 2015 – and has previously traded for more.) Magnesium is present in the rubble at levels from 25% and higher, and it is of high quality. Other valuable resources are also present. Revenues from the magnesium alone could generate upwards of half a trillion dollars.

http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/magnesium/

*Update – magnesium prices have dropped significantly since this article was written. The current (31 March, 2016) value of $2.03/kg changes the aove math considerably. The historic high price was over $6/kg at the end of Q1 in 2008. Nevertheless, even with this lower price, the resource is worth as much as all the oil in Alberta, and the cost of transformation is still much less.*

Currently, China produces 75% of the world’s magnesium, and Canada is not even on the map; Canada is a net importer. The US market is protected from Chinese imports by high antidumping duties and is supplied instead by Israel and domestic primary and secondary production.

Some main markets for magnesium include automotive, electronics, and battery.

http://www.mmta.co.uk/magnesium-market-overview (data from 11/2013)

Not only could this provide funds through taxes and duties for the Quebec government, but there are other sectors which would benefit greatly, as well. The entire region would be re-energized with new industry, tourism, services, not to mention recycling technology. The truth is that we can not simply bury this rubble under a canopy of trees (and falsely call it green) for future generations to clean up. The rubble from the mining of asbestos can not simply be left, and we can simply not turn down this economic opportunity. This green project could fuel an industry, reduce un-employment, re-energize an entire region, and provide for more independence on the part of Quebec, if properly managed. It will also greatly contribute to a cleaner environment and a fueling of green industries which could grow in the shadow of the ‘Projet du Grand Nord.’

Continue reading “Magnesium: The New Oil?”

Speed Wobbles Kill (Why Boring is Good on Wall Street)

If any of you have ever experienced a speed wobble, you’ll know that it is a time of sheer panic and massive (over) corrections. Speed wobbles happen when stability is lost.

“Speed wobble is the term used to describe a quick oscillation of the handlebars while riding at high speeds. Any vehicle with a single steering pivot is capable of experiencing speed wobble.”

What does this have to do with Wall Street? Well, this is exactly what is going on with US monetary policy. The single steering pivot is the Fed. The quick oscillation is the recent volatility of the markets. The stolen energy (see following graph) is the intervention in the markets. The high speeds are the algos and the massive volumes generated when they read the headlines. Normally, volumes have been very low of late, but with very high rates of acceleration, wobbles, not bubbles are created (well, bubbles too, but the wobbles are what burst the bubbles.)

The simple fact that stability indicates growth and volatility spells panic is what investors rely upon in order to place their bets. That which has been seen in the markets would tend to indicate that with ‘wobbliness’ increasing, the crash may be imminent.

longboard

A good explanation of the effect this has on markets can be found here.

Welcome Back Qatar

The recent drop in the price of oil has had widespread negative consequences for Canada and many other net oil-exporting countries. It has also had dire consequences for the United States. The fracking industry has seen lay-offs, rig closures, and the beginnings of consolidation; the smaller outfits are becoming more and more attractive to large corporate buy-outs as their over-leveraged business models are being slaughtered by dwindling margins. We have been told that lower gas prices are good for the average consumer, but how good can it be if it takes out their entire economy? The petro-dollar scheme, it would appear, is showing signs of stress.

Meanwhile, strategic reserves and storage facilities are filling up fast. It has been estimated that all the extra storage space left in the USA will be full by the end of May. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API) last month saw the biggest build-up of US oil reserves in 34 years (at least.) Most countries that can afford to buy more oil are also adding to their reserves; and who can’t at these prices? Stockpiles are at an all-time high, and not just in the USA; China is also buying a lot of oil while the prices are near record lows. When all the storage capacity is used up, oil will be dumped onto the market driving the price down even further. Yet, the algos aren’t crashing; nobody is putting much pressure on the Saudis to cut production, the markets are not in a panic, and there seems to be a laissez-faire attitude towards the whole debacle. Surely this must be temporary. Maybe things will turn out for the best, but how? We’ll get back to this in a moment.

The Arab spring has brought about many changes in the middle-east. Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen have seen meaningful change since 2011, and they are not alone. There has been a political awakening in some parts of the region, and there are now new actors taking the stage. ISIS has become a force thanks to the backing (either direct or indirect) of the Saudi and American governments; a renewed call for a caliphate has re-awoken a new generation of Arabs who want to assert themselves internationally. There are grass-roots political movements springing up all around the region and even spilling into northern Africa. It seems that change is all around.

Continue reading “Welcome Back Qatar”

Canada: The Only Safe Place Left?

It would appear that Canada is doing alright. One of the few western nations to have weathered the credit collapse, Canada seems to be doing okay, for now.

The recent drop in the price of oil, however, has hurt and will continue to hurt. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz patted himself on the back yesterday by saying that it was a good thing that he lowered the rates when he did, rather than wait and see. The effect is to slightly weaken Canadian GDP in Q1, but reduce the long-term sting (assuming oil will rebound this year – a scenario which some consider unlikely.) This continues the storyline that Canada has been conservative in its financial planning and that ‘slow and steady’ wins the race.

Japan, on the other hand, faces many huge problems. An ageing population coupled with a low birth rate, little land for crops, radioactive food on what little land they do have (which will hurt the birth rate more than increase the death rate) and a money-printing strategy of which even the Fed is jealous.

Europe is printing money, Australia’s natural resources are crashing in value, China’s economy (the shadow side of it anyhow) is plummeting, and Russia… it could go either way. The only thing holding up the US economy now, besides hype and faith, is the value of the dollar. (What Saudi did to oil, America did to its currency; but Saudi is hurting, too.) The strong dollar is leaving all other currencies in its wake. Swiss de-pegged the Franc and said enough, we’re not playing this game anymore. (They should have gotten their gold back in that referendum last year, even it if was all in coin bars.)

Let’s not forget that the Canadian economy would be in tatters were it not for the American market. This is Canada’s greatest vulnerability; but Canada has been hedging of late with emphasis on the TPP and other trade deals abroad.

Nevertheless, other factors bring one to conclude that Canada is the place to be. Li Ka-Shing (richest man in Asia) just sold everything he had in Hong-Kong and got himself a Canadian passport. The Rothschilds’ head office is in Toronto (they may or may not still control the world, but they do know what they’re doing.) Things can’t be all bad, can they?

Continue reading “Canada: The Only Safe Place Left?”