American Monetary Institute 2009 Conference: “We Shall Prevail”

The world’s most important gathering of monetary reformers takes place each year in Chicago at the American Monetary Institute’s annual conference. This year’s event takes place September 24-27 at Roosevelt University. Chairing the conference is Stephen Zarlenga, AMI director and author of the landmark book The Lost Science of Money. For information and the list of speakers, including monetary economist Michael Hudson, see the AMI website. While personal matters will prevent me from appearing on-site, I have sent the following remarks. Segments of my six-part DVD, “Credit as a Public Utility,” will also be shown.

It is not difficult to come up with methods to solve today’s economic crisis through monetary reform. Many of us are doing it. The key, as I have been writing for the past several years, is to treat credit as a public utility, not the private property of the world’s financial elite.

If we truly adhered to this concept, we would be able to see that a debt-based monetary system, where money only comes into existence through bank lending, can succeed only in isolated circumstances when a growth bubble outpaces the ability of the public to pay interest charges for the privilege of having money to spend and thereby to survive.

Whenever the growth bubble fails, as we have seen over the last three years, the system crashes, the financiers pick up assets for pennies on the dollar, and the cycle starts again. It seems haphazard and unpredictable, but we all know that the system was designed this way and that only the wealthy profit in the long run.

The rich use governments, through which they control politicians, bureaucrats, and covert operatives, to protect and enhance their power. Democracy is subverted. Once the rich have their host country firmly under control, they branch out to the rest of the world. The key then becomes the use of financial power to control the world’s resources through trade and currency manipulation and the management of legal codes and institutional rulemaking.

If social classes within the host country or foreign nations victimized by financial hegemony should happen to rebel, police and military forces are deployed to crush the rebellion. Educational systems and the mass media are employed to brainwash civilian populations by keeping them docile and compliant. A host of methods are employed, including false-flag terrorist events, to instill fear in the population and keep them beholden to the authorities for protection. Because the financial elite are parasites who kill their hosts, they must constantly ensnare new victims.

The foregoing is a complete picture of the present world situation. The last two hundred years have been marked by the march toward world conquest by the money-masters through the Anglo-American military-financial-intelligence colossus, combined with their bought-and-sold allies from the privileged classes of subservient nations.

The outcome was in some doubt during the 1970s in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. But beginning with the Reagan Doctrine in the 1980s, where a decision was made to gobble up the world one small country at a time, the march forward resumed. The 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, the carving up of Yugoslavia later in the 1990s, and the conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan most recently have brought the Western alliance to the borders of Russia. The attack now continues through the Caucasus region, even as Iran and Pakistan are being isolated.

It may be controversial to say that Russia is the target. Why might this be so? It’s because the financial takeover by the West in the 1990s didn’t work. An independent Russia has made a comeback. They have a lot of nuclear weapons and know how to use them. The collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving the U.S. “the world’s only superpower,” created a far more perilous imbalance than most people are aware of. It’s an imbalance that has caused Western military planners—for instance with NATO—to dangerously overreach.

The big question geopolitically is whether China can be induced to stand with the West. This was the objective of the effort beginning around 1971 under President Richard Nixon’s “Opening to China” to incorporate China into the Western financial system. But today China increasingly seems to be standing alone, with the makings of a self-sufficient banking and industrial complex—and a stable currency—that is defying Western attempts at control.

Will there be an “oriental surprise?” Will China reach a point where it makes an irreversible decision to side with Russia or stand against the West? No one knows. Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post on August 19, 2009, that keeping China as a friend to the West is essential for the “New World Order.” And yes, he used those words—this is not a big secret. The winds of change are also blowing in Japan, where the pro-American ruling party has just been voted out.

Personally, I find this struggle for world domination repugnant—the complete triumph of the rule of materialism and violence. As Rodney King said, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” Indeed, why can’t we see that life on earth, as Pope Benedict XVI recently pointed out in his encyclical Caritas In Veritate, is a gift from God to man, a gift that bestows on all of us the duty to treat each other fairly and with compassion?

So, in the face of the current world horror, what chance do monetary reformers have to be heard?

The answer, I believe, is that we are being heard. My mind goes back to 2003, only six years ago, when Stephen Zarlenga came to my office at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., where I had booked him to give a presentation based on his book, The Lost Science of Money. Later I worked with Steve on his first draft of the American Monetary Act. The time came when Steve began to meet with Congressman Dennis Kucinich, briefing him and others in Washington on monetary ideas.

So much has happened since then. So many more people have become aware of the evils of the debt-based monetary system. We have seen Congressman Ron Paul ignite a national storm of revulsion against the Federal Reserve System. There is now even hope that the American Monetary Act might be introduced on the floor of Congress.

But it is also perfectly obvious that this is only a start. The start, however, has been made, though there’s a long way to go.

We’ve had promising starts before. Back in the latter part of the 19th century, the American public were far more attuned to ideas of monetary reform than at any time since. There was then a Greenback Party that elected members of Congress and ran candidates for president. The Populist Party understood monetary issues and the importance of a flexible and expansive currency. Henry George became the leading author of the day with his reformist ideas based on the principle that the earth was a commons from which all have a right to benefit.

But then, when the international bankers finally succeeded in taking over the country through the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the curtain fell. It wasn’t an iron curtain; it was a red velvet curtain, such as graced the windows of the rich financiers of the age who benefited. These financiers started two world wars to consolidate their dominion. They may yet start a third. The Reagan Doctrine may have made it inevitable.

But I do not believe the warmongers will have the last say. Even if they bring down upon us another world catastrophe, those who believe in the better side of humanity will eventually win, because our cause is just and our ideas are based upon truth. Without monetary reform there can never be economic democracy. But with it perhaps the chief cause of war can be eliminated: the unjust distribution of wealth among people and nations, where some get far too much and many get nothing.

I strongly support the American Monetary Act, the movement for a basic income guarantee, and proposals supporting citizens’ dividends such as those of the Social Credit movement or the ones already in place through programs like the Alaska Permanent Fund. Even if such measures are not immediately implemented, the effort to promote them serves the purpose of educating millions of people.

Our present responsibility is getting the word out that there is indeed a far better way to do things and that real change is possible. That money and credit can empower people, not just enslave them. That debt is unnecessary when credit is viewed as a public utility. That technology when properly distributed can free people for higher intellectual and spiritual pursuits, not just eliminate jobs and force millions of people into bankruptcy and starvation. That, as Henry George and his successors have made clear, resources are for everyone, not just a few.

I have come up with my own proposal for immediate relief that I call “The Cook Plan.” One of the worst myths of our time is that for government to spend money it can only collect that money ahead of time through taxes or by borrowing. “The Cook Plan,” instead, would have the government print and distribute vouchers in the amount of $1,000 a month to any adult resident who applied.

The vouchers could be spent on necessities of life such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, or communication. They would then be deposited in a series of community savings banks and used to capitalize low-interest lending to individuals, students, small businesses, and family farms. The backing for the vouchers would be the new economic production they would engender at the grassroots level of every community.

This measure alone would take a giant step toward bringing about a healthy U.S. and world economy at the level of “We the People,” rather than the fruitless and hypocritical attempt to create “recovery” through bank lending and government deficit spending. “The Cook Plan” has met a positive response from around the world during the several months since I proposed it.

My views, while economically sound, have a spiritual basis. I believe in God, and I believe that man was created in the image of God. I believe that a world where we love our neighbor as ourselves and implement this love through social and economic policy is not just a dream, that it is the only practical way to live.

I believe in the family of man and the responsibility of man to be a good steward of the earth and the environment. I believe financial tyranny has done its best to destroy these values. But I see an upsurge of desire and commitment among people for a new day, a truly democratic society, and a life on earth that is organized and conducted sanely, compassionately, and wisely.

Those who attend such events as the American Monetary Institute’s 2009 conference understand all this. Together we will continue to work toward our ideals, no matter what disasters may intervene. It will take time and hard work, but we and those who come after us shall prevail.

Richard C. Cook is the author of We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, scheduled to appear by September 2007. A retired federal analyst, his career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. He is also author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan AdministrationCaused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age. Read other articles by Richard, or visit Richard's website.

25 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on September 4th, 2009 at 11:57am #

    Beware of old fogeys! Richard C. Cook is 63. Michael Hudson is 70. These are people whose ideas date from 40 years ago but the future belongs to the young. Visit the website! It’s a hoot! Just to get you off on the right foot, the first thing you see is a picture of a young man, marked “early photo”! There follows a long series of most respectable-looking elderly gentlemen, all of whom, I’m sure, were eminent in their day. But their day is gone. Then there is lady connected with Ron Paul (that notorious Marxist revolutionary!). Next comes a gent who is described as “one of America’s most knowledgeable, reality based experts”. On what do America’s other experts base their knowledge, I wonder?
    And, of course, the ideas of 40 years ago are very clear. America the invincible! America the eternal victor, with the primitive Untermenschen trotting along behind in open-mouthed awe! And not even noticing that the master race was manipulating them (Yugoslavia, Caucasus). And Russia is still the dangerous enemy! Although why it alone made a “comeback” is not explained. No mention of the hated EU, of course, just a happy, US-led family called the “the West”. And Vietnam was just a bump on the road. Nice Mr Reagan fixed that! (Or was it his wife’s astrologer?) And so on and so on!
    I’ll bet anything, though, that, no matter what else is decided, one of the conclusions will be that the EU and the Euro are evil and must be stamped out! (Mr Walberg, they’re going to need your elephants!)

    As for the point Mr Cook is really trying to make, you might consider buying the DVD.

  2. lichen said on September 4th, 2009 at 12:50pm #

    Michael Hudson has some good ideas; I don’t think it matters how old he is, and, actually, his ideas aren’t fro forty years ago. There are free market fundamentalists and other phenotypes of right wing scum in all age groups. And yeah, the EU/euro does tend to suck in many ways…

  3. lichen said on September 4th, 2009 at 12:59pm #

    I, too, support basic income guarantees and dividends, as well as other measures that will bring us closer to equality.

  4. Gracchus Babeuf said on September 4th, 2009 at 1:45pm #

    I would say Market economics are dead. If you look at the situation of Global Warming, peak oil, and wealth inequality. I think the only possible solution is a type of planned economy. Even looking at capitalist production were only 80% to 60% of industrial and commercial capacity is ever utilized. The only problem is that it must be democratically planned ensuring a truer type of freedom than ever. Karl Polanyi described democratic planning mixed with bourgeois civil rights as a more truthful freedom. The other direction is a neo-feudalist system like North Korea, which should be avoided at all cost. I also agree with lichen on basic income guarantees, but also make housing, dental, medical, food, and work uneliable human rights!

  5. Obstreperous said on September 4th, 2009 at 2:00pm #

    Planned economy = planned inequality on an even larger scale than the chaos of the market could ever produce.
    Great idea. Why work…simply take. Oh, by the way, who’ll provide all of those great services. Yep, disaffected and disgruntled government slaves. Yippie, I can’t wait. Coercion and oppression is clearly the path to follow to help our fellow man.
    Modestly regulated markets create have created more equality than any planned economy ever has. Oh, that’s right. It’ll be different next time. I forgot. You convinced me, just billions of others to convince.
    Or does it matter. Russia and China will decide for us.

  6. Max Shields said on September 4th, 2009 at 2:11pm #

    Michael Hudson is a non-ideologue. Oh how we need non-ideologues. Yes, he has ideas but they’re not tied to left/right.

    Markets exist. It’s that simple. How markets work or don’t work…is not controlled by market thinking or capitalism. Legislation/laws govern how things work or don’t work and for whom.

    Monetarism is a bit arcane as it has become based more and more on debt – loans put money into circulation.

    Decentralists, or those who see scale as core to the economic issues, think, money should not be issued by the Feds or banks but by local commerce. It’s a simple fundamental of currency. Currency is not just a means of exchange, but currency value should reflect trade balances. National currency does NOT do that. It creates a chaos in the markets and in understand trade balance. US aggregate trade deficits do not speak to San Franscio’s trade balance. It distorts SF’s TB by demanding that the aggregate US deficit be reflected in the value of USD, which has almost NOTHING to do with SF’s economy.

    Hudson has a Georgist strain which is what I find most valuable about some of his solutions.

  7. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 4th, 2009 at 3:18pm #

    People love to work. And there is and always was work for everyone!
    However, people do not love to work if anyone is supervising or when one works for s’mone else.

    That right, right to own work and to do it in own time and own way had long ago been usurped by kings, lords, barons, and now modern patricians who own everything including the work.

    No, i guess we don’t love our masters. I work every day and nobody needs to whip me to go to work or punish me for not going to work.
    Slaving for s’mone else is not work but slavery! tnx

  8. Obstreperous said on September 4th, 2009 at 5:34pm #

    I agree partially. For those who love to work, autonomy is the key. It has been my deciding factor and the one thing that caused me to seek another venue for my skills. Self-empolyment is one way, but that’s not necessary and a good supervisor understands that the self-driven appreciate autonomy. However, not everyone is self-driven and different personalities perfer different environments. I’m also not convinced everyone wants to work. I wouldn’t venture a percentage, sut certainly some simply feel entitled and don’t care. I’ve seen some individuals work harder at getting out of work than the work itself would have involved…sort of some personal goal of indolence. Usually at the propting of coworkers who bear their load, the powers that be can be convinced to ask that individual to work for the competition.
    The sad part is that, yes there is work, but often not work that inspires or makes full use of ones skills;hence, underemployment is one of a number of unreported sad statistics of our time.
    Congrats on your own personal work satisfaction. Take care.

  9. John Turnbull, Jr. said on September 4th, 2009 at 6:50pm #

    There is a fundamental, almost religious, fanaticism standing in the way of anything being done by the people of this country to reverse the seemingly irreversible path to oblivion that we are now on. I am not a fatalist; I am a historian who understands economics and human nature. The obstacle is the belief that capitalism is God’s gift to humanity. I suggest that, until people are convinced that capitalism is the Devil’s workshop, we who think will be wasting our time. I offer the following simple statement of capitalism as I see it, hoping that it might cause people to question the wisdom of placing their lives in its hands. For the word state, read ‘the people acting democratically through their elected representatives.’
    Capitalism is a system in which persons, not the state, own the supply of capital goods that will be used to produce a supply of capital and consumer goods, and 2) persons, not the state, decide what capital and consumer goods will be produced, and 4) persons, not the state, decide the prices at which both the capital and consumer goods will be bought and sold, and 5) persons, not the state, decide who will own these goods, and 5) persons owning the capital goods, not the state, decide what the educational systems will teach the people and what human beings they will employ and the terms upon which they will employ them in order to provide the labor without which their capital goods will be worthless, and 6) all decisions are made by the people struggling against each other in a coliseum called the free market, and 7) persons owning the capital goods combine to prevent the efforts of the people, through their government, to cope with the burdens, misery, pain, suffering, and death that are the inevitable consequences of the system.
    In other words, the state should not interfere in the slightest way with the operation of the system, a prohibition that only the Devil would enforce. I find it almost impossible to believe that any human being can be this merciless. Unfortunately, there are many that do.

  10. Obstreperous said on September 5th, 2009 at 1:54am #

    Hope springs eternal trying to resurrect hundred year old social engineering experiments that have failed because they ignore the human element that ultimately runs those systems. Soros and friends wants to destroy the rule of law and create an even more socialist system in the US, because he knows that he’ll be part of the group that is “more equal than others.”
    Over regulation in an attempt to create an advantage in the markets has created more inequities in capitalist systems than the systems themselves could ever create. Government is the magnet in the roulette wheel attempting to fix the game for the current ‘ins.’
    I don’t care which system you have. More government control means more inequities and suffering. Government is necessary, but should be kept at a minimum. It’s rather unfunny how groups grant the government always want to grant the powers that be even more power when they have the advantage. In the long run that works to everyone’s disadvantage.
    We do not disagree on the peace, social equity and self-determination that we think everyone should enjoy. The disagreement between you and I on approach is how the power exploiters keep their advantage. Managing political platforms by exacerbating differences among citizens and making specific appeals to special interests of those groups is how elections are won. Staying in power is the end goal…not the goals we want.

  11. Deadbeat said on September 5th, 2009 at 4:03am #

    Michael Hudson is a non-ideologue. Oh how we need non-ideologues. Yes, he has ideas but they’re not tied to left/right.

    Thus you have the fallacy of the middle ground. Just because it is somewhere in the “center” it must be “right” and herein lie the fallacy. Henry George got it wrong in the 1800’s and it’s going to be wrong thoroughly in the 21st Century. Hudson is extremely partisan especially when it comes to Marxism — which he is against. Marxism is much more sorely needed today than some derivative ideology that essentially maintains markets and Capitalism.

  12. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 5:20am #

    DB another empty and baseless remark.

  13. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 7:54am #

    John Turnbull, Jr. said “Capitalism is a system in which persons, not the state, own the supply of capital goods that will be used to produce a supply of capital and consumer goods…”

    Are you suggesting the State should own these things? It seems to me when people talk about Capitalism, they make up their own idea of what Capitalism is…and assume, too frequently, that the USA has a purely Capitalistic form of economics. This is just not so.

    But what is more they never define the tenets of socialism as a viable alternative.

    Human’s are wont to swing from side to side without real depth of clear critical analysis. Henry George, unlike Marx, was completely clear about the tenets of classical economics. Economics can be argued until the cows come home. There is no shortage of controversy mostly because there is no real economic system in place. It comes down to a hodgepodge governed by laws which allow Corporations, for instance, to have a kind of “personhood” and provide them with the power of citizenry with little of the accountability to the community. (Of course, there are moments of exception.)

    But rather than looking a Socialism or Marxism and Capitalism as “good/evil” we’d be better off looking squarely at the problems and coming up with viable solutions.

    The reason we find this so hard, I would add, is because our schooling has not provided us with this critically important strategem. I’ve been intrigued with the Land Institute that Wes and Dana Jackson founded. It focuses on deep problem solving. A little more of that, and a lot less ideology would do the human race a world of good.

  14. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 5th, 2009 at 7:57am #

    it is true that some people do not want do some paid tasks. However, none save, brain injured or with severe mental disorder, wld reject all work.

    Work was once joyful. Some 10-15 yrs ago all people worked; even children; and when asked to pick berries or go fishing, were delighted.
    But once this idyllic social structure had been usurped; first by shamans and later clergy, from which megaland owners and other despots arose, most people hated not only the ‘work’ but their very existence, even the love of life ceased for many people.

    This is happening now in US; possibly more that anywhere else because, methinks, US ‘democracy’ appears as best form of the usurpation i just mentioned and form of fascism.
    more cld be said! tnx

  15. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 8:34am #

    Statism is a problem. Do we want our lives controlled by Corporate lords or the State? This is a false choice.

    I’m not pushing anarchy, though it and libertarianism should be much better understood. But these can intrude on problem solutions when we align more with ideology or party than solutions that are framed in other ways.

    Mine is much more of a biological alignment. One can disagree, it is not a dogma, but rather a governing set of principles that seem closer to what we are, at our core, in the context of the life forces that are essential to that core. Beyond that we can debate systems of governance, ideologies, but again, I think the problems are fairly universal and can be undertaken with an authenticity of purpose rather than looking for an ideology to solve these problems.

  16. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 5th, 2009 at 9:05am #

    max, with respect,
    Implicatory structure of langauge tells us with certainty that the label “state” appears overgeneralized while the label “peolpe”, in its stead, is not.

    So it wld be quite clearer to ask, Are we going to be controled by corporate lords or [all] people?
    Which automatically leads to a conclusion being interdependent appears a best way to be.

    It is cristal clear that if do not interpret to any degree US constitution [and projected need for warfare; private insurers, media, educators, etc.] one is reduced to total dependency and near-totally politico-militarily powerless.

    Once that is established in any land, one is confronted with ideal facist structure of governance. US fascim appears best ever developed.
    This can be reversed nuch or partly only by the awakening of the dependencies.
    And if the dependencies take this to heart and begin to demand a change
    and, if necessary, engage in all kinds of passive massive resistance by the left and right, change wld come.
    Alas, just last november 98% of the dependencies have voted for no change of that. tnx

  17. Gary Corseri said on September 5th, 2009 at 9:08am #

    The only semantic point about which I’d quibble with Richard C. Cook’s article is that instituting monetary reforms based upon humane principles might prevent World War III. I think we’ve been fighting World War III since the end of World War II. How many tens of millions have died, how many hundreds of millions have been wounded, crippled, psychologically terrorized around the world? In fact, one could say that we have been fighting a continuous World War since the Guns of August exploded over Europe in 1914–a year after, as Cook notes here, the Federal Reserve Act allowed the international bankers and financiers to seize control of the U.S. lock, stock and barrel–i.e., through control of the “free market,” government, media, academia.

    World War–or this century of insanity, call it what one will–is, by all indications–scientific, ethereal, and in the human gut and the cries of wolves and songs of whales–about to heat up again, literally, as the glaciers melt in the Himalayas, wildfires explode around Los Angeles, a tsunami kills a quarter of a million in Asia, a hurricane destroys a major American city, and viral stupidity is passed on as memes from one confused and prostituted “leader” to another, and to the masses, and back up the food chain again.

    So, if Richard Cook, who is ageless, if Michael Hudson, who is eternally young at 70, if William Blum at 75, and Howard Zinn in his 80s, now offer the fruits of their labor and experience to salvage a world for their children and grandchildren, and all children, let us consider ourselves fortunate for the work of such men and women who have maintained their brain cells and their hearts in good order.
    History runs in cycles, and now we are in grave need of the timeless wisdom of Socrates, of Christ, of Lao Tzu and many other wisdom-seekers who bade us put humane principles first and to sharpen our minds.

    For my money, the “Cook Plan” has a lot more going for it than the Rockefeller Plan, the J.P. Morgan Plan, the Rothschilds’ Plan–or any other plan of the global elite to subjugate billions of people, maintain them in serfdom and militarism, xenophobia, infantalism, poverty, the fear of poverty, paranoia.

    It is clear that our present system of finance and control has benefitted fewer and fewer people and created mass misery around our shrinking, shriveling planet. We need radical surgery–and wise men and women to help us heal.

  18. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 9:50am #

    Bozh, I’m responding to Mr. Turnbull. The State is an entity. It exists, even if it is somewhat amorphous.

    The tendency is to turn over to the State and thereby abdicating our Aengagement. In part, this is due, I think, to scale. As a nation-state continues to expand, as is true of the USA, it is impossible to govern in anyway approximating “for the people”.

    Wars are built into expansionism. Smaller regional states built around a several urban economic centers and thriving city-regions is much more hospitable to human scale living.

    Our problems begin with our trajectory to expand, to be a world empire, and thus to continue we’ve found it necessary to engage in endless wars, conflicts and general interventionism when the empire’s interest’s (which touch every where on the globe) are at stake. This is the result of not simply a “state” but a state which is the basis of massive population and expansionism.

    If that is the problem, at least in large part, then it is not fanciful to look for solutions that match the problem rather than to flail over this or that ideology. The American empire must first be conceded as existing; then it’s problems eminate from this condition, as do the solutions.

    Universal principles should be our guide rather than arcane notions that emerged out of industrialization; which includes the notion of the modern-day State.

  19. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 5th, 2009 at 11:23am #

    state appears as an entity but, imo, the label “state” covers a vast number of entities, while the label “people” cover far fewer.
    Name “state” implies region with its boundaries, jurisprudence, armed services, constitution, etc., “people” implies, joe, jane, trev, lisa, etc.

    Liars, miseducators, clergy, pols are aware of this; thus, they will mix [compare apples with oranges] labels or substitute one for another, hoping people wld not notice the prestidigitation.

    And i’d go on a limb and say that only one in 10mn people spot and understand what’s going on. And i was not one of those people till some geniuses had pointed it out to me.

    We are, as these people say, a much more symbolic class of life than any biota; thus it matters much what an entity is called.
    E.g., a spade is a spade it is not a digging tool or an instrument; killing children in afpak or palestine is not “collateral damage” but most likely willful murder. tnx

  20. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 11:34am #

    But what you call a “state” is what I’m addressing. So why change the label?

  21. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 5th, 2009 at 1:10pm #

    max, with due respect
    You said, “The state is an entity. It exists, even tho it si s’mwhat amorphous”.
    By “s’mwhat amorphous”, you meant without firm shape or borders. Nor have you enumerated the states characteristics such as constitution, institutions, nor the fact they exist in US solely to cotrol the people living in US.

    You also have said, “Do we want to be controled by corporate lords or by state?”
    But isn’t constitution which allows corporate control part of the state? Nothing stands in isolation; thus, corporate control is a mere aspect of a state.
    So is military, cia, fbi, media, etc. And when people talk about media or fbi they talk about these entities as if not parts of state nor the fact that media, cia, etc., people control possibly 95% of americans.
    The 5 or 10% are are the state.
    And all americans are people but not all are part of the state. Thus, the question is, shld amers be controled by all amers or just some?
    Then, and only then are all amers are integral part of the state.

    In concluding, people are not controled nor can they be controled by any state but solely by some people, most, or all people.
    State is an entity on one level, people on another. So, we need to study first of all peoples’ doings and not detached from the state and all its instutions.
    i don’t think i can clarify any further!

  22. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    by amorphous I mean that there are a variety of states – not all (most are not) seeking to be or are empires; nor are they all attempting to attain resource hegemony. But they there are similar aspects of states whether they are tiny Luxembough or the mammoths – China and the USA.

    My argument is and has always been that scope and scale determine how much people can in fact “control” their state. It’s not a perfect measure but the best I’ve come across to date.

  23. Max Shields said on September 5th, 2009 at 4:30pm #

    Bozh I would add that, if I’m correct that, humans are not meant to exist under the umbrella of a massive state – one stretching almost 2 million square miles (just on the continental US) with hundreds of millions (or billions) of others in this abnormal tribe. As such whether we are talking about a socialist or a capitalist state, the outcomes are essentially the same. It is not that China was a failed Socialist State or that the Soviet Union was. Or that the USA is a failed capitalist state.

    All three represent the failure of human scale. Do some states fail even when they are considerably smaller. Yes, but those issues vary. Take Cuba…that nearly failed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That state mirrored that of its patron – Soviet Union – in how it conducted its culture and way of life. With the collapse of the USSR, Cuba regrouped and re-emerged a more sustainable state, one operating to scale.

    There are failed states that are simply the aftermath of colonialism and the way in which those former colonies were left to have their natural resources, land, water, etc. extracted from the commons…from the people. In other words, these are states that may be scaled for a healthy human existence, but have been infected by the hierarchical organizing principles of larger empires. They are pseudo-states…or are like cancer cells that mimic their former colonial masters.

  24. Deadbeat said on September 5th, 2009 at 6:04pm #

    Listening to how Max Shields spew nonsense as usual is why his Euro-centric thinking often leads to fallacious assumption about human behavior and the possibility of human organizations. Also many would dispute that the Soviet Union and China are Socialist societies. They are often identified as State CAPITALIST societies.

    We have examples of larger societies but they were not Euro-centric in their formation. You do have to look far if you are a North American.

    The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois [1] Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House. Located in the northeastern region of North America, originally the Six Nations was five and included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The sixth nation, the Tuscaroras, migrated into Iroquois country in the early eighteenth century. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history. The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. In our present day, we can benefit immensely, in our quest to establish anew a government truly dedicated to all life’s liberty and happiness much as has been practiced by the Six Nations for over 800 hundred years. [2]

  25. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on September 5th, 2009 at 6:23pm #

    max, just to rephrase the point i had been making. It is that people create a state and which comprises connected-together aspects of it; such as constitution, jurisprudence, laws, houses, fbi, cia, function of money, etc.
    Thus it appears by far more profitable to study what people have done and how/when/where/why.
    I think i have made my point in this post much clearer than in previous posts. tnx