The Problem with Humans

Human Foibles“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” David Brin, author

The story goes that, for decades, lots of celebrities and friends of Harvey Weinstein had direct knowledge of his reputation for sexually harassing women and berating both women and men on his payroll. Disgusting as the stories are from women and employees, it’s no big surprise, and I don’t mean just to those who already knew. Now even more big-name predators have been outed at the time of this writing.

Two thousand years ago the phrase libido dominante, the lust for power, was coined referring to the first Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar (63BC-14AD). Not just old news, but ancient news, the insatiable hunger for power historically unleashed the worst of human nature and left death, pain and suffering in its wake. Think: Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Queen Mary, Amivi Gama, Chairman Mao, Idi Amin, Vladmir Lenin, Pol Pot, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco and Adolph Hitler to name but a few notables. There are more, virtually everywhere, just not quite as extreme.

I believe humans come hard-wired with foibles included, and that the lust for power is one of them, an innate human behavior regardless of age, status, race, creed or level of intelligence. A mechanism of survival in the animal kingdom, it pervades every level of human society, as well. From the domestic abuser, corporate CEO, politician, military personnel and Hollywood luminary to the leader of a country or religious organization, the power-obsessed believe they deserve to be ‘on top,’ having earned the right to pass on the same my-way-or-the-highway behavior they endured to get there.

Is there any human who can honestly say they have never behaved in a way to gain power over another or others? I sincerely doubt it.

Power over others can be subtle or overt, but similarly, those who subscribe to it typically believes in their superiority, a blind spot leading them to become easily addicted to fawning attention, near-dictatorial authority and an inability to handle constructive criticism.

Many will defend such domination in the name of establishing and maintaining order. Also, those who dominate and control are not necessarily bad people; after all, they have been authorized to be that way by the complicity of a wife, husband, parent, child, employee, congregation, or country given such behavior is seen pretty much as ‘normal.’ Like not being able to see the forest for the trees, it’s difficult to get to the bottom of a widely accepted cultural norm and its ubiquitous impact.

The really crazy part is that these individuals, in one arena or another, are often recognized as the most successful in life; e.g. President Woodrow Wilson had the utmost respect for Mussolini at one point. When domination is the pretext for success, we are blinded to the reality of self-deluded people and how others suffer at their hand. Harvey Weinstein is the perfect example. Before his fall, everyone and his brother in Hollywood at the Oscars lavishly thanked him for their claim to fame.

At the personal level, while someone might say they are against domestic abuse, behind closed doors it continues emotionally and physically among even the most ‘respectable.’ At the macro level, we find central banking as what dominates and controls world economies and governments via a system benefiting the owners and cronies while everyone else is required to go along to get along.

I believe that until the lust for power is recognized for what it is, a purely innate human condition prior to business, political or religious affiliation, we will continue to be blindsided by its negative effects in our lives. Individually we neglect to look in the mirror, admit our own culpability and commit to making changes in the only way possible – with ourselves. Legislation may provide an external fix but never a real solution. Whenever anyone seeks power over another or others to gain advantage, they perpetuate the worst of personal and societal dysfunction.

Universal Basic Income: Visionary or Wishful Thinking?

social creditUniversal Basic Income, also known as UBI, social credit and Basic Income Guarantee, is not a new concept. However, it is being looked at newly by the State of Hawaii as a solution to how AI (artificial intelligence) is likely to take over many of their jobs.

Having lived in Hawaii, I understand why the concern there may be greater than for other places. My experience showed me that the income disparity between wealthy mainlanders who bumped-up real estate prices in Hawaii, and everyone else who had to work for a living, was crazy severe. To survive a cost-of-live higher than the San Francisco Bay area at minimum-wage levels, I observed that most locals had to work more than one job just to survive. Today, I imagine this disparity is even greater.

UBI is a dividend-type proposal similar to the one in Alaska since 1982 via the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation distributing an annual share of oil revenues to each resident of the state (including children in the family). In 2007, the amount to each resident was $3,269 and in 2016, only $1022.

Former Democratic Congressman, Dennis Kucinich, a proponent of this economic strategy for every American, not just Alaskans, said after former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson announced the 2007 $700 billion bank bailout:

“Since the bailout will cost each and every American about $2,300, tomorrow I will offer legislation to create a United States Mutual Trust Fund, which will take control of $700 billion in stock assets, at market value and not higher, convert those assets to shares, and distribute $2,300 worth of shares to new individual savings accounts in the name of each and every American.”

According to another UPI proponent, Richard C. Cook, former Treasury employee and author of the book, We Hold These Truths, (for which I wrote the forward) one of UBI’s most recent sources is Scottish Major C.H. Douglas. In 1918 he was an industrial engineer who authored the book, Economic Democracy, which addressed the gap of purchasing power for the average person, and therefore the need for government-distributed dividends.

Cook, in a Global Research article, discusses “Credit as a Public Utility: The Key to Monetary Reform,” asserting that social credit “should be treated as a public utility, like water, electricity, and clean air.”

“A citizens’ dividend could work wonders in rebuilding the economy from the bottom up, including small business and local agriculture. To assure that dividends are spent for necessities, they could be issued initially as tax-free food, fuel, and housing vouchers from a government recovery account not dependent on taxation or borrowing. Rather the backing for the vouchers would be the productive potential of the economy. This way new economic production could be generated without bank loans. The vouchers, when spent, could be funneled into a network of community savings banks that would re-lend the money at zero percent interest.” (Richard C. Cook, “How to Save the U.S. Economy,” Global Research)

At the time, in 2007, when Richard Cook asked me to write the forward to We Hold These Truths, the social credit concept sounded good to me: a practical solution to the purchasing-power gap Americans had continued to suffer in the early to middle 2000’s. That said, in 2017 I am no longer a fan of social credit having had the time to look into it more deeply.

Would this government strategy create economic justice providing a spiritual basis for the economy as Cook and others suggest? Or would it simply be the next step towards larger government and its increased control over matters of our personal lives? And how exactly would social credit affect the national debt? The UBI, in my view, is short-sighted; it would enhance, not end, the grip financial elites already have on Central Banking, a system destined to underwrite a world government with a world currency.

Frederick Hayek in his 1960 book, The Constitution of Liberty, predicted that egalitarian redistribution would end up only as a new approach of the “old aims of socialism.”

Visionary? No. Short-sighted wishful thinking? Yes.

Blockchain Technology – Enslavement or Liberation?

world currencyBlockchain Technology: The devil uses it to destroy the world; the god uses it to benefit mankind.” ~ACChain video

Which is it?

Over the summer I read and bookmarked every article about Blockchain Technology I could find. I also have friends with whom I learn more and debate the subject.

I admit I am biased towards the enslavement camp but am well aware this is not the case for everyone. In my mind, once something becomes available for mainstream consumption, it’s in the hands of big money; common knowledge signals that the Powers-That-Be already co-opted a potential breakthrough for the people in service to their monopolistic agenda. This, at the expense of everyone else.

Bitcoin, and now Ethereum, exist as open-source, decentralized, peer-to-peer currencies outside the conventional monetary system. But I wonder if these and others are not simply the sexy seductions for a general buy-in to the crypto concept. Is it just a matter of time until this up-and-coming technology morphs into an institutional tool of greater control and surveillance for the power elite? Like so many come-on’s in the world of marketing, this, too, could simply be an introductory offer to hook us on an innovative approach to money, one that eventually  transforms the financial system conveniently beyond individual control, and in the name of transparency, takes personal surveillance to an unimaginable new level.

Me thinks that given the tanking of the financial system in 2008 and its subsequent propping up thereafter by several iterations of “quantum easing,” Blockchain might just be the fulfillment (think: savior) of a broken fiat-currency world economy. The 1988 cover story of The Economist Magazine: Get ready for a world currency, eerily predicted 2018 as the year, opening with:

“THIRTY years from now, Americans, Japanese, Europeans, and people in many other rich countries, and some relatively poor ones will probably be paying for their shopping with the same currency. Prices will be quoted not in dollars, yen or D-marks but in, let’s say, the phoenix. The phoenix will be favoured by companies and shoppers because it will be more convenient than today’s national currencies, which by then will seem a quaint cause of much disruption to economic life in the last twentieth century.”

Enter Assets Collection Chain (ACCHAIN) in 2017. According to a June 3, 2017 Reuter’s press release, it is  “an open global community and a decentralized asset digitization platform and tool created by Guiyang Blockchain Financial Co., Ltd, (GBF), an affiliate of Shenzhen Puyin Blockchain Co., Ltd. (PBG)The press release continues:

Blockchain, first conceptualized in 2008, has been at the centre of conversation in the industry with several observers anticipating the technology to reshape the finance industry in the next few years, drawing parallels to the way internet has changed the media industry.”

A Newsfile press release, August 14, 2017, reported ACC held a conference in Beijing August 2017 for business, industry and political leaders to find ways to digitize global assets.

“ACChain’s goal is to increase awareness of the company as a tool for asset digitization.  ‘We are helping to digitize our global assets in the global financial market. ACChain is part of developing the first real estate project commodity token,’ said ACChain representative Serena Yin. ‘Property leaders are excited because they stand to benefit the most from RET (Real Estate Token) as it aims to provide them with the liquidity to a popular fixed asset. We are changing the way our world does real estate transactions,’ concluded Yin.”

Still in its earliest phase of the roll-out and touted as advancement for global trade, what institutional Blockchain really is, in this writer’s view, is the beginning of the end of what’s left of sovereign currency. It’s now just a hop, skip and a jump to a one-world currency – the global monetary system on steroids. Intel Software designer Brad Peters:

“If a global crypto coin controlled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) comes to internationalize PROPERTY onto their crypto Blockchain, they get their one world government and one world currency all in the same stroke. This IS your 1988 (2018 prediction) Economist magazine cover.”

If you think crypto-digital currency is the flight-to-safety asset…I have a bridge to sell you.

From Great Recession to Grand Illusion

From the Great Recession to the Grand Illusion of recovery, growing household debt and the number of families struggling to make ends meet is the story left behind the curtain. Only a few leaders, authors and bloggers expose the underbelly reality hoping for strength in the numbers of those who wake up to the window dressing. As Charles Hugh-Smith puts it, “Welcome to debt-serfdom, the only possible output of the soaring cost of living for the unprotected many who are ruled by a hubris-soaked, subsidized Protected Elite.”

I could not have said it better, myself. Yet first-world culture appears to be all about looking good for those in it, even if living in a world of hurt.

Not unlike the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes, we’re supposed to go along to get along and never mention the Emperor is butt naked, i.e. that you’re living precariously on the edge. As an issue deemed “negative” in a “think positive” world and way too personal to talk about, people tend to consider they are the only ones navigating rough financial waters. Conversation must stay upbeat. However, this tacit agreement to silence seems to only eventually lead them to deeper and murkier circumstances, until they are betrayed as if by a cheating spouse.

Methinks suffering in silence (by the little guys) is part of the big guys’ strategy to assure the longevity of their own financial domination. All along, you honestly believed you were doing everything you were supposed to because that’s what the experts said to do. But, alas, you learned the hard way. Bad news for you; good news for the Emperor.

Given corporate commerce has the mandate of a profitable bottom line, if to stay in existence, markets must expand and sales must grow. Marketing and advertising serves to cloud the non-commercial human’s innate ability to recognize their array of choices as they head down the road of increased consumption. The banking industry touts the benefits of their product, credit, and since everyone else relies on credit, why not? Some call the outcome, debt-slavery.

Despite the distraction of a booming stock market masquerading as an expression of a healthy economy, household debt levels tell another story; they surpass debt levels of the Great Recession in 2008. The Federal Reserve reports on household debt for the 1st quarter of 2017.

“Aggregate household debt balances increased in the first quarter of 2017, for the 11th        consecutive quarter, finally surpassing the 2008Q3 peak of $12.68 trillion. As of March 31, 2017, total household indebtedness was $12.73 trillion, a $149 billion (1.2%) increase from the fourth quarter of 2016. Overall household debt is now 14.1% above the 2013Q2 trough.”

A Bankrate Inc. January 2017 survey revealed 57% of American respondents (6 of 10) didn’t have enough cash to cover a $500 unexpected expense. Almost half of the 1,003 adults surveyed said they or a member of their family were hit with a major expense in the past year.

However, if you discern with eyes wide open, you can see marketing manipulation for what it is. Greater awareness brings into focus the greater range of choices available to you beyond those prescribed by a marketplace that benefits at your expense. With a curiosity to advance your financial IQ, alternatives to traditional wealth building and management start to make sense.

What this proves, in my estimation, is that suffering in silence does advance the cause of financial and personal well-being in the lives of everyday people. Bottom line, the overriding problem is systemic, not personal. Until more people are willing to discover how the monetary system undermines their best efforts, and speak up about it, I fear more suffering behind closed doors.

Central Bank Chicanery and We the Revenue Units

“Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” ~Morpheus, The Matrix

The Oxford English Dictionary defines, chicanery, as, “legal trickery, pettifogging, abuse of legal forms; the use of subterfuge and trickery in debate or action; quibbling, sophistry, trickery.” You need not read past, “legal trickery,” to understand the overlooked impact central banks have on we, the revenue units. But perhaps more worrisome is where central banks appear headed.

A quick review of central banking’s role as regards currency informs us that a global monetary system dominates and controls all other systems of the world. Like the 800-pound gorilla in the living room, this fact becomes impossible to ignore once you see it.

Just as it is impossible to fully understand planet earth without realizing the role of the solar system that contains it, so also is it impossible to fully understand money separate from the monetary system.

The global monetary system is a network of 17 central banks worldwide of which the Federal Reserve Bank is the one in the U.S. Central banks are the only banks capable of issuing currency, (a private product we pay to use), issued via “fractional reserve banking,” loaned into existence, and repaid with interest. This formula, called the “expansion multiplier,” in the Federal Reserve’s pamphlet, Modern Money Mechanics, multiplies profits for the architects of the system and their cronies.

Currency trickles down from the governmental level to commercial and local banks when a country’s government borrows money from its central bank. When a business repays a commercial loan plus interest (a.k.a. the debt-service) they pass on their bank-loan charges to their customers as increases to the price of goods and services. Over time, what began as “simple” interest becomes “compound” interest which in-turn increases prices at an ever-faster pace.

As a result, we, the revenue units, must increasingly work harder and pay more for the same basic goods and services for which people in the 50’s and 60’s paid far less. This exponential rise in the cost-of-living has become glaringly obvious in the real estate and insurance industries.

Once in power, more power is needed to remain in existence.

The 2008 economic meltdown tested the Fed. It employed the desperate measure of dumping trillions of newly-printed money into an ailing monetary system via a series of Quantitative Easings (QE) to “stimulate” the economy, as well as, its position of power. Their monetary strategy led most Americans merrily down the yellow brick road of the appearance of recovery and wealth.

Yet, like the Wizard of Oz, appearances are often deceiving. In reality, the glut of newly-issued currency contributed to deeper devaluation of the dollar (now worth less than 3 cents). Going forward, the Fed would have to keep up with what the QE’s had begun. To continue ensuring liquidity in the marketplace, larger and larger amounts of currency would have to be injected into the system.

This is where it gets interesting. By all accounts, to sustain ongoing liquidity, the Fed tactics have advanced to aggressively buying-up public assets, company stocks and “toxic” real estate, which has contributed to the double-digit rise in the stock market. Increasingly drastic measures provide a type of expansion putting the economy at risk of being swallowed whole by the financial sector. Think: further concentration of power.

Here’s why:

“So the central banks have a problem here, they are now “forced” to purchase assets to prevent market downturns but one should ask the question ‘who will they eventually sell to?’ The answer of course is ‘no one’ because there is no one large enough to take these assets off their books.”  ~Bill Holter, Central Banks Will Destroy Their Own Currency By Doing What They Do …Creating Currency And Credit. From Here, The Faster They Run, The Faster The Boogeyman Catches Them!, April 22, 2017

The Fed has the legal authority to endlessly purchase assets of which they can then drive up the prices that virtually no one can out bid. Higher costs-of-living due to more inflation do not translate into a recovered economy, contrary to popular opinion, and especially for the majority of Americans without assets.

As long as someone is receiving a paycheck, they seem to care little about the system producing it, an entrenched system that owns and controls the ability to create an endless supply of money, (new credit). Additionally, if central banks decide to transition to blockchain technology, as discussed in my February and April recent blogs, it would not be a decentralized application, as is Bitcoin. Instead, blockchain technology would simply enhance central banking’s already centralized system.

With every successive economic downturn, the Fed doubles-down to minimize the economic impact on society. Minimizing the economic impact equals the Fed taking on more and more control of the situation to sustain their power, and in an attempt to counterbalance the ongoing, exponential loss of value in all fiat currency. The role of central banking is like a snowball growing larger as it rolls down the hill; I wonder if anyone sees what I see?

“Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” ~Marshall McLuhan, author

Blockchain: Open Source Money

“Blockchains are simply distributed transaction processing engines. The technology allows data to be stored in a variety of different places while tracking the relationship between different parties to that data. Most people trying to explain blockchains like to compare it to a ledger. Anytime someone makes a transaction, such as a currency changing hands or a new device being added to a network, it is recorded in the chain and anyone can track what has happened. This is why law enforcement is so keen on Bitcoin—the digital footprints are easy to trace.” Fortune tech, Stacey Higginbotham, May 29, 2015

What if we lived in a world where global access to money was available to everyone? Money can zoom around the globe at the speed of digital as a peer-to-peer decentralized and cooperative process – no top-down banking system needed. Trust relationships happen automatically via digitally signed, permission-less transactions, destroying the inevitability of poverty. Would this represent a giant step for humanity?

Such is the utopian dream of tech developers. The next generation of computer networking gears up to surround the world for the greater good. Welcome to the intended blockchain (financial) transformation of the world.

Ignore it at your own peril.

My article of May 2016, The Power Behind the Throne, discusses the mostly under-reported, yet steady advancement, towards a cashless society via blockchain technology, and my thoughts about who really benefits. It could end up as the giant leap for the banking industry, gaining omnipotent control over our financial transactions. A Bloomberg article, Inside the Secret Meeting Where Wall Street Tested Digital Cash, May 2, 2016, cited representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup Inc., Visa Inc., Fidelity, Fiserv Inc., Pfizer Inc. and others in attendance.

Enter 2017 and the documentary produced to inspire and excite: The Blockchain and Us. Some say that 2017 will be the year this technology moves into the mainstream; others say it’s just too risky.

The infomercial-type documentary introduces “leaders” from countries around the world who extol the virtue of open source money, the grassroots, and bottom-up cultural game-changer begun by Bitcoin in 2008. Blockchain technology and its potential impact is likened to how the introduction of the airplane changed society; the structure of the financial services industry, alone, is said to transform 100% to digital within 20 years. Additionally, blockchain technology is expected to:

  • Affect every industry as a “value” platform with military-grade cryptology
  • Create a generational shift in technology, an opportunity capable of “lifting people out of poverty”
  • Accommodate what they called, “smart” contracts
  • Exert a profound shift in how the Internet could be used to create new forms of value and new ways of transacting value
  • Generate more jobs due to automation

There you have it…Blockchain and Us. Yet naysayers, such as myself, cannot see the commensurate personal benefit. Surrender the paltry financial privacy we have left via cash to the Goliath banking industry? It occurs to me we may not have a choice since the “little” people appear to be the revenue units simply along for the ride.

That said, using cash and paying as you go, has obvious and maybe not so obvious benefits:

  • Choice
  • Transaction privacy
  • No bank-interest charges (overdraft, credit cards, loans, lines of credit, etc.)
  • Possible 5% vendor discount upon request
  • Fiscal responsibility that credit use has destroyed
  • Curbing the instant-gratification mindset easy credit encourages
  • More personal time when keeping up with debt means working harder/faster

I think living in a material world makes is easy to forget that the complete definition of wealth includes more than stuff. The intangible wealth of personal well-being and peace of mind are priceless until they are overlooked and under-valued. Instead of the utopian dream, imagine this:  We no longer make purchases we don’t need, with money we do not have to impress people who do not really care about us. If more people would make a habit of using cash, we could strengthen our own money-management skills towards building real wealth, and also send a message to those who own the gold.

 

The Cumulative Effective-Tax Rate

Taxation in AmericaEarly Americans would roll over in their graves if they heard about modern-day America’s topsy-turvy departure from many of the hard-won freedoms and liberties of the American Revolution. They would be unable to make sense of all the different taxes we pay today, and especially the government’s legal entitlement to a portion of an American’s labor via an income tax. There was no such tax on labor for the earliest Americans; it was unconscionable to tax someone’s personal property, which one’s labor was then considered. The concept of paying one’s “fair share” did not exist until after mid-20th century.

In general, operating expenses of private corporations and the federal, state and corporate-county municipal governments are passed on to the end users (public) in the form of taxation.

A partial list of the transparent as well as all the unseen hidden taxes include: federal and state income tax, county taxes, federal and state sales tax, accounts receivable tax, alcohol tax, alternative minimum tax, building permit tax, cigarette tax, corporate tax, dog license tax, education tax, estate tax, excise tax on imports, food license tax, fuel permit tax, gift tax, hotel tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, car rental tax, IRS interest charges, IRS penalties and levies, license tax, labor tax (withholding), marriage license tax, Medicare tax, municipal state tax on insurance premiums, worker’s compensation and unemployment tax, property tax, recreational vehicle tax, sales tax, self-employment tax, road usage tax for truckers, school tax, Social Security tax, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), telecommunications tax, travel tax, utility tax, vehicle licensing registration tax, vehicle sales tax, watercraft registration tax, well permit tax, hospitality tax and last but not least, the hidden tax of inflation of a debt-based central banking system and all finance charges.

I’m sure I must have missed something!

While on a TV talk show in 1981, President Reagan mentioned that 46 different taxes contributed to the price of one loaf of bread. Imagine how many more taxes have been added since then. How many taxes and fees are hidden in an airline ticket? Seldom considered is how the cost of doing business has the effect of decreasing one’s purchasing power as more and different kinds taxes make up the retail price you end up paying.

The total of the multiple costs of doing business becomes the retail price. Throughout a company’s chain of events from production to sales and marketing, labor costs take a huge bite; they are the wages, taxes and fees imposed on the labor of every employee from the factory-floor worker to CEO. Materials, essential resources, and the interest amounts on a company’s business loans are all rolled into the price you pay.

Americans take a beating from taxes that now appear to exponentially erode earnings (personal property). “Bracket creep,” as it is called, over time automatically moves a taxpayer into new, higher tax brackets. For example, in 1970, private pensions and Social Security retirement were not considered taxable income, though today, they are. These sort of official changes often move people into a higher income bracket with subsequent increased amounts due to state and federal governments.

What if mainstream media routinely reported on the cumulative total of what everyday American pays annually in taxes? Would you connect the dots to the direct impact this has on your personal finances, e.g., actual disposable income and increasing dependence on credit? The addition of all taxes, transparent and not so transparent, (hidden taxes mentioned above, upfront fees and regulation costs of federal and state regulatory compliance, federal fines (like what British Petroleum passed on to consumers after the Gulf oil spill) lead this writer to the educated guess that the average American pays somewhere in the range of a cumulative 30 to 60 percent of their annual gross earnings in taxes, depending on their tax bracket.

Are you powerless when it comes to this topic? I don’t think so. Knowledge is power, and power can lead to informed action.

Cashless Society, India, and Big Brother

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” ~H. L. Menken

The short story is that American banking and government institutions are partnering on a do–or-die- global ultimatum to shift all countries from cash to digital currency. The ultimatum is that if a country does not play ball by cooperating, they lose out in trade since digital will become the default platform.

Quietly, India was chosen to kick-off off the campaign. The so-called “financial-inclusion” drive that started in India November 9, 2016, is anything but. Additional promotional language states the goal to create “a holistic ecosystem approach” to solve the merchant and customer issues limited by cash-only systems. Translation: Think…Big Brother.

This well-thought out globalist scheme was not simply the brainchild of India’s Prime Minister Modi.

“In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially.”  ~Norbert Haering, Global Research, 1 January 2017

The shock and hardship resulting has been palpable since India is one of the most dependent countries on a cash economy, especially for the millions of very poor. Literally overnight more than 80% of the value of cash in circulation was extracted, nullifying all 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes. Now street vendors and the poor, in general, suffer ever more. India has become the guinea-pig harbinger of a cashless future, spun as an effort towards new economic opportunities. But… for whom?

The primary partnership with the country of India is India’s Ministry of Finance and The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Beyond Cash report is their source document (globalinnovationexchange.org/beyond-cash) but it does not end there. To expand and execute digital payment in India, the US/India partnership introduced, Catalyst: “Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership” “to digitize economies” and to make “everyday purchases cashless.” (cashlesscatalyst.org)

Not surprisingly, the war on cash has been mounted mostly by payment providers in IT services. Their plan, obviously, is to make more money directly from digital payments or downstream from data, also of benefit to governments. Some of the bigger players are the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Gates Foundation (Microsoft), Omidyar Network (eBay), the Dell Foundation Mastercard, Visa, and the Metlife Foundation.

In 2012, the above mentioned umbrella organization, Better Than Cash Alliance (betterthancash.org), was established with the byline: Moving from cash to digital payments to improve people’s lives. With generous donors, the Gates-Foundation and the Master-Card-Foundation, its membership is of  large US institutions: Mastercard, Visa, the Ford Foundation, USAID, the Gates Foundation, Omidyar Network of eBay-founder Pierre Omidyar, and Citi, to name but a few of its 35 members.

There you have it. It’s only a matter of time until we hear of the next country with a fate similar to that of the most-unfortunate Indian people. Will the big dogs continue to use the surprise-attack strategy to ensure no one messes with their campaign? The momentum builds in the interest of international business community to eliminate cash, increase digital payments, and to expand the ability of payment service providers and mega corporations to track every penny you spend. Are you ready for the “financial inclusion” of a “holistic ecosystem approach” to improve your life? Ha!

Special Report 2017

Add New Revenue Streams“No matter what the politicians and monetary authorities say, the buying power of the dollar continues to decrease, with its current value 95 percent lower than it was in 1913.” The American Institute for Economic Research, January 2009 Cost of Living Report.

There’s a funny saying apropos to my Woodstock generation: Getting old is not for sissies. So true and don’t I know it! The same goes for achieving financial wellness – not for sissies.

Financial wellness takes more than balancing your checkbook, making your credit card payment on time, and investing in the stock market. It takes courage, the courage to consider and to follow a formula for success that is likely never to come out of the mouth of a traditional financial planner.

What I have studied and learned about money over the past 35 years is that making fully-informed and sound financial decisions involves more than meets the eye. The all-important first step is to get the big picture, the history of money. Yet there appears to be no educational emphasis to do so, and for good reason, given those who benefit.

However, with a snapshot overview of how we got to the financial pickle we’re in as countries, businesses families and individuals, the lights go on and new strategies make sense.

In today’s post-meltdown economy, I offer this formula for true financial wellness.

•    Historical context regarding money and how it works
•    A priority of paying down debts
•    Inflation-adjusted to actual, not official, rate of inflation
•    Multiple streams of cash flow
•    An emergency fund other than credit
•    Learn to live within your means
•    Low to no use of credit
•    The courage to stay the course

I have recently rewritten my free Special Report, The Baby Boomer Backup Plan to further provide relevant information about personal finance in today’s economy. This 14 page document is not only for those of a certain age, though they are the most at risk at this time. No catch; just thought my report might help you with your New Year’s Resolutions. Click here: Free Special Report to get your PDF copy. I will send it directly to your inbox once I hear from you.

Post-Truth: Facts Pale by Comparison

inflation cartoonChuckling to myself, I could not pass up the opportunity to highlight the Oxford Dictionaries’ international word of the year for 2016, post-truth, an adjective defined as:

“relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Why was I chuckling?

Since 2002 my research, writing and consultation to help everyday people learn the whole truth about money, wealth and the economy has fallen mostly on deaf ears. As often as possible I source public-domain Federal Reserve and U.S. Government agency information, statistics and graphs to expound upon the realities of actual inflation, economic policies and central-bank money mechanics.

But it does not seem to matter how “official” my sources are when it comes to who wants to know.

The problem, as I have analyzed it over the years, is that the corporate, for-profit financial services industry appears to enjoy an open-ended, evergreen marketing budget when it comes to “educating” the public on topics of money, wealth credit, debt and the economy. Frankly, I cringe every time I hear the supposed facts and advice of conventional financial wisdom replete with critical contextual omissions. So-called objective facts about money and the economy are half-truths at best when you are not made privy to the big picture.

As defined, and in this case, post-truth is the conventional financial data and advice that simply reinforces erroneous existing beliefs, while appealing to the emotions (Chase Freedom, use credit to pay for a wedding, get rewards, etc.). Self-preservation and the need for growth is the name of the financial-services game when it comes to shaping the scope of monetary facts that get passed on to the “consumer.” What is in your best interest, ultimately, is not their concern, as is the case with for-profit entities.

Buyers beware.

I’m not saying that industry professionals are evil and out to get you. Not at all. Probably most advisors, consultants, bankers, traders, etc. mean well, yet they unwittingly disseminate pricey financial advice no longer relevant to the economic times we live in, and often based on incomplete data, in my view. They suffer the same limitations to their knowledge-base as everyone else via their industry education and training.

After meeting R.Buckminister Fuller, reading his book, Critical Path, and then  co-producing the last leg of his speaking tour in1983, my eyes were opened.  There was no going back. I needed to dig deeper into the history of monetary issues.

Post-truth is not a new concept. For me it began way back in 2002 when heading out on my journey to revise common knowledge about money, wealth and the economy. It has been an uphill battle but that said, I thank you, my readers, for your interest, and, some of you, also, for your business. Your insights about and success in applying the practical steps of The Quality Life Plan nourish me and give me hope.

Perhaps one-by-one people will discover the merit of another way to think about, earn, save, spend and invest money. Perhaps word will spread to help give more people the opportunity to experience financial relief and wealth-building by taking advantage of a sound, out-of-the-box personal finance approach.