We seek comfort. We seek beauty. Such is our nature. We like patterns and rhythms in which we find comfort. Doing things well and then doing them over and over until they become habit, until we benefit.
Roger Ebert, well-known and eclectic movie critic for the Chicago Sun Times, provides a sideward glance at the process in his May 3rd, 2012 review of the film, Surviving Progress.
(To see full text of his review, visit: www.rogerebert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120502/REVIEWS/120509996/-1/email_headlines)
Under what conditions can the quest for comfort and beauty yield inherently destructive growth?
Ebert writes [I have added bold and italics, throughout];
“…’Surviving Progress,’ a bone-chilling new documentary, argues that the world has financed an unsustainable growth rate by essentially encouraging whole nations to take out un-payable mortgages on their own futures.
Brazil is given as an example. Enormous loans are given to the nation, which cannot meet the payments, and is then encouraged to liquefy its own natural assets — the rainforests. When the assets are gone, the wealth will have been taken out in the same process, and corporations will leave behind a drained nation and move on to another loan customer…”
So the question is simple. If patterns and rhythms, one loan after another, produce destruction rather than comfort and beauty, why do those practices persist? Again, we turn to Ebert;
“ …All of this is justified by ‘progress’.”
More population, more consumers, more material goods, more cars, highways, housing, retail sales. More franchises, fewer small entrepreneurs…
How have we been seduced? Does something unseen transform consumption and financial benefit into ugly line items?
Ebert tells us above;
“…Enormous loans are given…”
Aha! Funding consumption via debt leads us astray.
Ebert begins to see the story, the overarching theme that borrowing at compound interest manifests daily. He continues;
“…All but a very few of us are in debt. We exist as entities that borrow money and spend the rest of our lives making interest payments on a debt tally that never seems to budge. Whatever wealth we have, in labor, property or cash, is suctioned to the top.
That is the basic fact being referred to by the current term “the 1 percenters,” and is why we are “99 percenters.” We exist to have our wealth moved up the economic chain out of our reach…”
And to the ugliest, he refers;
“…It’s even possible to think of war as a way of speeding up the creation of debt. In anything short of total destruction by nuclear war, the top 1 percent on both sides — winners and losers — end up accumulating wealth that the other 99 percent go into debt to create — and often their capital is represented by their own lives. If I die in a war, you have whatever I am worth…”
Can we be so addicted to debt or is debt somehow built into the very marrow of the system?
Martin Prechtel, raised on the Pueblo Indian Reservation, authored the insight-filled Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, a lyrical blend of memoir, indigenous wisdom, and spiritual call to arms in which he details his apprenticeship to a Guatemalan shaman and his return to the U.S. after fleeing Guatemala’s brutal, manufactured civil war.
In his latest book, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive, he demonstrates how real human culture is exterminated when the real, non-genetically modified seeds of the plants that feed us are lost and makes the following, cryptic observation;
“…Like plants that become extinct once their required conditions are no longer met, authentic, unmonetized human cultures can no longer survive in the modern world…”
Unmonetized human cultures? Extinction? Remember Ebert’s words;
“…Brazil is given as an example. Enormous loans are given to the nation, which cannot meet the payments, and is then encouraged to liquefy its own natural assets — the rainforests…”
When the rainforests can no longer be monetized (consumed or structured to produce financial benefit), they become extinct, an unmonetized culture not fit for the modern world;
“…When the assets are gone, the wealth will have been taken out in the same process…”
In contrast, monetized human cultures believe, in Ebert’s words, “ …All of this is justified by “progress.”
In other words, monetized cultures rest on the uneasy assertion that permissible rhythmic destruction produces comfort and progress.
Am I too harsh? Or does something unseen transform consumption, progress and financial benefit into ugly line items? Can monetized cultures be so addicted to debt or is debt somehow built into the very marrow of the system?
Quickly, to monetize means to ascribe or attach monetary value to something (tangible like a product, intangible like behavior). In today’s world, monetization equals the value of legal tender/Federal Reserve Notes and other Central Bank issued currencies (euro, kroner, krona, peso, ruble, yuan, etc.). Because legal tender is lent into circulation, compound interest accompanies each individual unit of tender.
Tangible/Product: Estimated cost of a full-cart of groceries at a national chain (Safeway/Kroger) measured as $400 – $500 (Federal Reserve Notes).
Intangible/Behavior: Estimated savings on a full cart of groceries at a national chain (Safeway/Kroger/400 – $500, Federal Reserve Notes) if using in-house company preferred customer card, measured at 10% -15%/$40 -$60, Federal Reserve Notes.
Food – good, Savings – good! To the masses, repetitive usage produces comfort (cessation of hunger) and benefit (savings).
However hidden in Federal Reserve Notes is compound interest, an unwelcome partner in every transaction. The more we (as a nation) spend, the more interest we accumulate, the more debt we build, the more wealth we transfer to the private owners of the currency system;
“…All but a very few of us are in debt. We exist as entities that borrow money and spend the rest of our lives making interest payments on a debt tally that never seems to budge. Whatever wealth we have, in labor, property or cash, is suctioned to the top…”
It’s not that we borrow. It’s that we are forced to pay (legal tender) with currencies that originate through borrowing (initiated by loosely-named federal governments) from private individuals who collect compound interest in every monetary transaction.
And why do we participate? Aside from forced compliance (legal tender), we seemingly experience benefit (savings through smart usage/discount cards/frequency of usage/traveler’s miles, etc.)
In tracing the machinations of debt-based/compound interest-bearing private currency disguised as the basis of sovereign national economies, we often discover guideposts that provide inside-looks at the thinking of the originators;
“The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class.” — Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863
Strother Martin and then Paul Newman tell us in Cool Hand Luke that, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” At first glance, the Rothschild quote would seem to point towards the class Ebert describes;
“…That is the basic fact being referred to by the current term “the 1 percenters,” and why we are “99 percenters.” We exist to have our wealth moved up the economic chain out of our reach…”
Not so, I say. That is every bit a miscommunication, akin to script mouthed by Martin and Newman.
We see no opposition when we “save” through behavior. Who amongst us turns our backs on savings? In reality, the class that Rothschild refers to is the entirety of the “monetized culture”. Through debt-based currency, the “monetized culture” obliterates the “unmonitized”.
When push comes to shove, “monetized culture” opposes “unmonitized culture”, the shamans, the naturals, the indigenous at every turn and insidiously, often in the guise of benefactors.
And will continue to do so until there is no place for “unmonitized culture” in a modern world. The patterns and rhythms (debt-based, compound interest bearing private currency systems), upon which the monetized world rests, demand no less, incessantly in every monetary transaction. Resulting comforts and beauty exterminate real human culture.
© Copyright 2012. Stephen J. Bergstrom. All Rights Reserved.