Laughing at the Apocalypse

Way back in the early 1990s, I quit my promising career as a lawyer and went to live in a shack in the woods for a few years.  It was an interesting time… I got better. But I never went back to my promising career.  I started doing stonework instead. While I was in the shack, I wrote a whole bunch of crazy poems about the never ending revolution and the inevitable collapse of empire.  I once had a plan to self-publish them all in a book and thereby change the world (ha ha)… but I never got around to it. Somewhat strangely, as time passes, my crazy poems from way back then seem more and more timely and realistic.  Indeed, with trumpy the psychotic clown in the whitehouse and his minions of zombie like followers, reality has become a little bit too much like my delusions from days gone by. Oh well, what can I do? So I’m dusting off some of the old poems and trying to see if they ring true now.  Have I posted this one somewhere before?  It’s in my old handwritten spiral notebook from 1996.

Laughing at the Apocalypse

They say it’s the end of the world
And it makes me want to laugh
A straight line ends but a circle goes on
Returning again to the past

No doubt the planet is troubled
Civilization is one big mess
Too many people with too many weapons
Souls will be put to the test

Bad weather will be the beginning
Global Warming with Acid Rain
Hurricanes will blow, forests will burn
We will wish things were tranquil again

Governments will start to topple
One by one they will certainly fall
All of their order dissolves into chaos
When the masses hear the great call

Diseases will run very rampant
As germs and viruses invade
War against nature comes back to haunt you
The piper has to be paid

Explosions will wreck the landscape
Pollution will ruin the water and air
Missiles and bombs unleashed on the world
Total destruction is everywhere

But despite all this bad news I give you
Please don’t fall in despair
If you can love and look up above
Your soul will be in good care

So come on everybody, let’s party
Celebrate the great big end
Laughing and drinking, dancing and smiling
We’ll go back to the garden again

They say it’s the end of the world
And it makes me want to laugh
A straight line ends but a circle goes on
Returning again to the past.
Not copyrighted, pass it on.

Revolutionary Demands?

Revolutionary Demands!

Defund the police!
Meanwhile,
The cops collect overtime
Chasing anarchists in the street

Defund the police?
The police are but a small part
Of a very complex system
A system of mass incarceration

Defund the whole complex system!
But the system gives jobs
To lots of people, good people
Who need jobs to live

Defund the whole complex system?
Give different jobs, better opportunities
To all those good people
Who need jobs to live

Change the whole complex system!
Change it to what?
A hodgepodge of this and that?
Socialism, anarchism, communism, fascism, monarchism, bullshitism…

Why not democracy?
Economic democracy
Replace the foundations
Of the whole social contract

Economic Democracy!
A single demand
Abolish the historical structure of servitude 
And replace it with a structure of interdependence

Economic Democracy!
Abolish the corporate money supply
No more trickle down handouts
To winners and loser

Economic Democracy!
Democratize the money supply
Bottom up investment in everyone
Based upon a real social contract

Economic Democracy!
A single demand
Money should be an agreement
That everyone understands.

Not copyrighted, pass it on…

Happy Interdependence Day

I think I posted this little poem once before.  Probably last year on July 4th.  Perhaps I shall start myself a little tradition and post it annually to celebrate the holiday.  It sums up my views on the subject matter rather nicely.  I found it in one of my old hand written notebooks. It’s not copyrighted. So pass it on.

Independence is the story
That ruined reality
The lie
That led to..
Where we are not.
It sounds good
On paper
Or if,
You say it out loud…
Independence
But if you whisper quietly
And let the truth
Reverberate
It is really just
A synonym
For
ALONE

Interdependence is a different story
A shattered illusion…
Reconstructed
As a new truth…
That shows the way
to somewhere else.
It looks complicated
On paper
And sounds confusing
If you say it out loud…
Interdependence
But if you whisper quietly
And let the meaning
Sink in
It is really just
A synonym
For
TOGETHER

Learning to Breathe

One woman’s weed
Is another woman’s wildflower
One man’s riot
Is another man’s revolution

They killed him over funny money
Another victim of the dirty deal
A cop kneeled upon his neck
ONLY government money is real!

But someone took a video
And showed it on the internet
With so much rage beneath the surface
Fires would have to be set

Action and reaction
The story of cause and effect
Oppression brings rebellion
Like an image in the mirror that reflects

The media is selling a race war
To divide the precariat class
But the angry protests are against a system
A system that’s crumbling fast

Mass incarceration for profit
Mass incarceration for cash
Mass incarceration is the system
A system that just can’t last

One side works for the system
Making, changing, and enforcing the law
The other side is the assets
Fed to the system raw

Capitalism is the concept
That enslaves the minions to hell
Cops, lawyers, judges, bankers,
Submit to the sound of the bell

They all live off this system
Selling their labor for it’s cash
What will they do for survival?
If the system really does crash?

The rebels are the holy ones
The voices of the precariat class
A better world is possible
But time is running out fast

Meritocracy and competition are bullshit
When the system is clearly unfair
We have to change the basic structure
So we can all come up for air

The revolution is about interdependence
The foundation of a brand new way
Black brown yellow white and blue
Every single person can play

One man’s weed
Is another man’s wildflower
One woman’s riot
Is another woman’s revolution.

Not copyrighted… pass it on

Apocalyptic Eden

The Coast of Venezuela; December 1992

The game goes on…
It never ends
No rest for the weary
Play, play, play.

What came first? Chicken? Egg? Or the fox to eat the chicken and egg? For that matter; what about the black panther? I can’t remember the exact sequence of events. It was 27 years ago, I have no notes and my memory is faulty. It all happened about the same time in a jumble of activity. In reality, the separate events were not even rationally connected. But in my imagination, the events are now all twisted together into some kind of grand mythological drama that I had a part in. In other words, the universe played a trick on me and 27 years later, I’m still trying to figure out what happened…

I stirred into consciousness in the early dawn in the hammock in the garden with a slight hangover headache. I heard the sound of the outdoor shower running and it made me have to pee so I opened one eye to see. Gaya was there, lathering up her large black breasts with foamy soap as she hummed a song in the shower. Did she know I was awake and watching her from the hammock? Probably… maybe… She didn’t seem to care. She seemed to be putting on a performance for me. It was the bath dance… the shower scene… the soap and water tease. She hummed happily to herself as she cleansed her various body parts. She was a big woman. Much too big for my taste. Nevertheless, my 27 year old body responded naturally to the vision. I had a strong urge to climb from the hammock and demonstrate my manhood to the naked female. But I couldn’t do that. She was Stuart’s girl. He was asleep in just the other room. But wow. Just look at her… She knows I’m watching… She definitely wants it… And I really have to pee…

But I held it, uncomfortably, and pretended to sleep as I watched her rinse and then dry herself off. She certainly took her sweet little time. I almost wet myself. Eventually, she wrapped herself in a towel and headed towards the cabana entrance. I climbed from the hammock and followed a little behind her. As I reached the door to go inside, I saw Gaya through the door window. That’s when she surprised and shocked my poor innocent soul. Instead of turning left and going back into Stuart’s room, she turned right and went down the hall to Pierre’s room. Oh my god… Is this story a soap opera or a porno flick?

I went inside to use the bathroom and drink some water. Afterwards, I returned to the hammock in the garden and went back to sleep. When I awoke a few hours later, I was still in a brain fog and Pierre, Stuart and Gaya, were now all sitting at the picnic table in the garden eating their breakfast. Did I dream about the early morning sin? Was it all in my imagination? It seemed so vivid and real. But the apocalypse highway dreams seemed real as well. Perhaps the tropical heat was disturbing my subconscious. I was still recovering from the strange virus I picked up in Nicaragua. I was reading the bible, taking lariam, smoking weed and drinking lots of booze while trapped on the coast of Venezuela by an ongoing revolution. Of course I was having crazy dreams. The Garden of Eden intermingled with the apocalypse. A mythological history of humans was erupting inside my subconscious.

“Good morning sleepyhead,” said Gaya from the table as I slowly blinked open my eyes and sat up in the hammock. “We thought you were going to sleep all day.”

“Good morning,” I said. “My head hurts. Too much rum last night. What time is it? What’s going on?”

“It’s after ten,” said Pierre, “and morning news reports say that the socialist coup leaders have fled the country. They are now reportedly in Columbia hiding out with the FARC.”

“So the revolution is over?” I questioned. “No more state of emergency?”

Gaya stood up from the picnic table and brought me a cup of coffee in the hammock. “Not over yet.” She said as she handed me the cup. “They are still rioting in Caracas. Are you ready for some huevos?”  

“Yeah,” I said, “eggs would be great. I’ll have scrambled please, I mean revuelto.”

“Si Senor,” said Gaya sarcastically, “I will go make them.” She went inside the Cabana.

“The State of Emergency is ongoing,” said Pierre. “But with the Socialist leaders on the run, it will probably be over soon. I’m going to Macuto this morning to check on public transport options. Maybe they are allowing some buses to go soon.”

“Gaya has to go to Macuto this morning as well to fill out some paperwork with the Cabana Rental Agency,” said Stuart, “maybe you two should go together.”

“Yes, I know,” said Pierre, “she already told me. We are going to catch the 11:00 collectivo at the tienda.”

“She needs our passport numbers too,” said Stuart, “for the rental contracts. But at least we don’t have to go in person. I’d rather go to the beach. What about you Patrick? You want to go to Macuto with Pierre and Gaya or to the beach with me?”

“I would definitely prefer the beach,” I said. “We should bring a cooler full of drinks and food and plan to stay all day.”

On or about this moment, Gaya returned to the garden with my plate of scrambled eggs and toast and I made my way from the hammock to the picnic table. Before I sat down, however, Gaya repeated what Stuart said about her needing my passport number for the rental contract. So I went to my room to get my passport from it’s hiding spot and that’s when I discovered the traveler’s snafu bureaucratic clusterfuck that changed my life. Ohhhhh Shit! How the fuck did that happen?

I opened my passport and looked at the number and then passed a glance at my growing collection of entry, exit and Visa stamps. There it was. Plain as the nose on my face. My Venezuelan tourist visa. Numero de dias (number of days): 15. What? I thought I was supposed to get 60 days. How come I only got 15? I’d already been in Venezuela for a week. And I was trapped on the coast by the state of emergency. I was planning to cross the whole country by bus to the border with Brazil and the Amazon jungle. I wanted to hike and swim and socialize along the way. There were beaches, mountains and waterfalls to visit. But now I only had eight more days. And I couldn’t go anywhere yet. I would have to wait until the emergency was lifted. And then I would have to rush across the whole country to the border. Suddenly, the tiny little nook of paradise I was staying in completely transformed. The newly created ticking clock in the background of my consciousness added a heavy dose of anxiety to the otherwise idyllic little ecosystem.

When I got back to the garden, Pierre, of course, explained that it was no big deal. All I had to do was go into an immigration office somewhere and file paperwork for a tourist visa extension. They grant them all the time. But Gaya warned that the immigration office in Caracas was in a very dangerous neighborhood surrounded by lots of rioting. Pierre said that the riots would be over soon because the socialist leaders had fled the country and repeated that there were immigration offices in all the big cities throughout the country. I could get a visa extension in Merida or Maracaibo or Ciudad Bolivar. But I couldn’t get one anywhere until after the state of emergency was lifted because there was no public transportation. So for that particular day, I might as well go to the beach. And that’s what I decided to do. Pierre and Gaya left for Macuto to run their various errands while Stuart and I cleaned up breakfast and packed up a cooler for the beach. Would the beautiful young ladies from the day before be there to meet us? I was certainly hoping so.

As we walked to the beach along the pathway, I considered telling Stuart about what I witnessed in the early morning. But I wasn’t sure if I really witnessed it or only dreamed about it. The whole scene was clouded in my mind by a fog of unreality. It also wasn’t really any of my business and maybe Stuart didn’t want to know the truth.

“Thanks for not telling Gaya about the young ladies on the beach,” said Stuart as we walked along.

“What young ladies?” I said innocently. “I’m sure Gaya knows that there are some attractive young ladies on the beach. She also knows that there is some possibility that we will encounter them.”

“But she doesn’t know we have a specific plan to meet a few of them in particular today at noon. That’s different than a general possibility. We have a date with teenagers. Gaya would be jealous.”
“You are a free man Stuart,” I said. “You can do what you want.”

“I know,” he said, “but still… I don’t feel quite free. Gaya and I have a special relationship. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe she wouldn’t be jealous at all. Maybe she would laugh or make fun. But I want her to be jealous. The idea of her jealousy means we are a real couple.”

“But you just met her a week ago,” I said. “And uh, ya know. She is one those beach girls. Been around the block a few times. She’s nice and fun. I really like her. But not exactly long term relationship material.”

“That’s what your wrong about Patrick,” said Stuart. “Gaya is long term relationship material. She is perfect long term relationship material. That’s the problem. Yes, I know there have been many others before me. I’m not the first gringo that she has squeezed for cash. But that doesn’t matter at all. What counts is connection. Gaya makes me feel like a real man. She takes care of me and I take care of her. Our strengths and weaknesses counterbalance. We have symmetry.”

“Are you in love with Gaya? Really?” I questioned.

“I don’t know,” he said, “maybe that’s it. But I think I’m talking about something different. Not love exactly, but sort of; it’s more about attitude and the way that birds and blokes get on. I’ve dated plenty of birds back in England but they are all so independent and demanding. Gaya is like the opposite of that. Gaya gives. She takes care of me and you too and Pierre as well. Because that is her nature. She gives, gives, gives…. She cooks for us all, she shops for us and cleans for us. She doesn’t have to do any of that. She just rented us the cabana. All that other stuff is her doing what comes naturally to her. Her way is to take care of people. And if you are talking about long term relationship material, that quality is the most important quality of all.”

“I was actually wondering about that,” I said. “Are we supposed to pay her extra for the cooking and cleaning or is that included in the rental contract?”

“You can tip her if you want,” said Stuart. “I’m sure she would appreciate it. But no, you and Pierre are not obligated to pay any extra for Gaya’s services. It’s not included in the Cabana rental contract. It is just included because Gaya happens to be living in the Cabana with me.”

“So what you are saying is… Don’t tell Gaya about the young girls on the beach or we might lose our maid and chef service.” I joked.

“No mate,” said Stuart with surprising seriousness. “You misunderstand. Gaya is not my servant. Gaya is the woman of the cabana. There is a very big difference. She is very good in her role. So good, in fact, that I am wondering if she could be the woman of my home back in England?”

“And what about the hot young ladies we are hopefully meeting today?” I asked as we arrived at the beach and set up our blankets and cooler.

“They are not woman like the incredible Gaya. But they are very sexy birds and I’m a single man on holiday. At the very least, it should make for a good story when I get back to the pub in England.”

As we sat down upon the blankets, I could see the girls in the distance. They were walking towards us along the shoreline. Sun glistening upon their young bikini clad bodies. Yes, yes, yes. This was definitely going to be a good story to tell if I ever made it home to the bar…
To be continued…

 

Unemployment and the Corporate State

The next travel story installment is almost done but not quite ready to post.  Soon.  In the mean time…

I am a fictional character. I am not real. I am fake news. Do not believe me when I tell you about the revolution. It is an imaginary revolution. It is not real.

The truth is; we are all subjects of the corporate state. We are not citizens of “a democracy” or “a republic.” The mass media propaganda machine consistently denies this truth because the ruling class that controls the media is afraid that an informed public will dismantle the corporate state and establish a real democracy instead? Recent government responses to the corona virus pandemic make this truth manifest. Especially the distribution of economic stimulus money through the unemployment system.

Why did the federal government decide to distribute such a large portion of the Corona Virus economic stimulus money to citizens through the mechanism of the unemployment insurance system instead of just sending direct checks? Because the unemployment insurance system is designed to re-enforce the hierarchical structure of the corporate state. In order to “make a claim” for “unemployment benefits” you have to “apply” to the government and prove that your circumstances fit the parameters outlined in the statute. That is a whole different situation than having a democratic right to your fair share of the “new money” stimulus issued by your theoretically “democratic” government. As the oligarchs lay back in their comfy chairs watching the stock market go up to reflect their stimulus from the Fed; thirty million desperate souls scramble to the telephones so they can call up an employee in the unemployment insurance bureaucracy and say yes, yes, I fit the parameters of the statute, I qualify. I deserve some of the money. Will you please send me my share? The unemployment system will, of course, take some time to review the applications and, perhaps, send the applicants a chunk of money. Then again, maybe they won’t. Any individual application for benefits could be denied for any number of possible reasons…

One of the great myths of the modern mass media apparatus is this crazy notion that the unemployment insurance program is somehow designed to protect workers. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the unemployment insurance program was designed by corporate state managers in order to undermine the bargaining power of workers. The whole premise of the system design is that workers are assets of the corporations (businesses) they work for not free individuals with economic rights to participate in a fair market. If you do not understand this reality, then perhaps you should quit your job and go apply for unemployment benefits yourself and find out.

Although it differs slightly from state to state because of different administrations and sub systems, generally speaking, the unemployment insurance game works like this. All businesses with full time employees are required by law to pay into the unemployment insurance program. The rates they pay are dependent upon the number of employees they have, the salaries of those employees, and the relative likelihood that those employees will be laid off in the near future. When a full-time employee of a business that pays into the unemployment insurance program loses their job, they can make a claim for benefits. But a person only qualifies for benefits if they lost their job for a “good reason,” and can demonstrate that they are continuing to look for work elsewhere. Businesses have a continuing incentive to challenge claims for unemployment benefits because the more claims there are, the higher the cost of their mandatory unemployment insurance. According to the system design, as long as “the unemployment rate” is at reasonable rate there should be sufficient funds in the unemployment fund to pay all the claims for benefits. But if the unemployment rate spikes up because of natural disaster or war or recession, the funds in the unemployment insurance fund are insufficient to cover the claims so the Federal government has to step in and give “new money” to the program from a different source. 

When the economy seized up in response to the recent corona virus pandemic, the “unemployment rate,” went way up above the reasonable rate. It’s important to emphasize here that “the unemployment rate” has little or no rational relationship to the availability of meaningful work. It is merely the rate at which people apply to the unemployment system for benefits. Self employed workers, part time employees, gig employees, black market employees, long term unemployed workers, are not even eligible to apply for benefits so they are not even considered in the “unemployment rate.” Nevertheless, the rate of people applying to the unemployment system went up above the system’s capacity to pay benefits so Congress had to come to the rescue with new money in order to “save the system.” Indeed, since the system usually handles between five hundred thousand and a million benefit applications per month and it is now faced with over thirty million applications, it is fair to say that a whole new system is needed to deal with the overwhelming new reality. Instead, the government just dumped a whole lot of new money into the broken old system with hopes and prayers for a fair and reasonable distribution.

The latest news reports indicate that the Corona Virus Stimulus package invested 500 billion dollars into the unemployment system. Will it be enough? Since almost 30 million people have now applied for benefits, if they divided the money up democratically, those 30 million people would receive $16,600 each. But of course, they won’t divide it up democratically. The little white mice have to be forced to fight for it in a humiliating competition. It’s the low brow version of Oligarchic money distribution. The ideological construct of capitalism demands it even though it is completely irrational in a practical sense. Make the losers beg the government for their money. In addition to dumping money onto the unemployment system, the Federal government’s stimulus package also made a few modifications to the unemployment benefits statutory requirements thereby opening up the class of possible applicants to include the self-employed, gig employees and some part-timers as well as the usual full-time employees. They also added a special mechanism to pay a kind of Corona Virus bonus of $600 a week to any applicant who could prove they lost income because of the Corona virus. Finally, and maybe most importantly, they included the Corona Virus Economic catastrophe as a “good reason” to leave or lose your employment. In total, they tweaked an oligarchical competitive money distribution system to put the new Corona Virus variable at the top spot on the unemployment hierarchy.

When I say that unemployment benefits are distributed oligarchically rather than democratically, I mean to emphasize a very important distinction. Democratic money is the symbolic expression of your legal right to participate in the economy. Oligarchic money is controlled by “the system,” and only distributed to you if you “deserve” it or “earn” it by participating in their staged competition. In general, the amount of unemployment benefit you receive is hierarchical depending upon your salary before you lost your job and had to apply for benefits. Back when I was an advocate, the formula for benefits was 60% of your average weekly salary for the previous three months projected forward for six months (26 weeks) worth of benefits. Sometimes the government adds to the number of weeks you can collect or it expands the amount of benefits to 100% of your previous salary. Whenever they expand benefits they have to add “new money” to the system from the outside or increase the amount employers pay into the fund. Either way, they never break down the hierarchical distribution of the benefits because the ideology won’t allow it. In other words, the unemployed engineer receives a much bigger weekly unemployment benefit than the unemployed fast food worker even though they are both equally unemployed and doing nothing and collecting their benefit from the same system.

Another crazy aspect of this twisted little game called the unemployment system is this notion that applicants for “unemployment benefits,” have to demonstrate the reason they lost their employment or “income.” And usually (but not always) they have to demonstrate that they are continuing to look for similar work elsewhere. In the context of the Corona Virus pandemic it seems like the first requirement can be easily demonstrated because everyone is losing work because of the pandemic. And the second requirement might be waived until the quarantines are over. Nevertheless, pay very close attention to the burden of proof. It is the lynchpin of the whole hierarchical construct. It is up to the applicant for benefits to prove that they lost work or income because of the pandemic. Who holds the power to decide? If the applicant is an employee of a corporation or business or government agency, and the corporation or business decides that the “employee” is essential they can force the employee to work by refusing to lay them off and objecting to their application for unemployment benefits if they try to quit. The whole premise of the unemployment system is that you can’t just quit your job in order to go on unemployment. You have to lose your job for a “good reason.”

In the real world, the strange drama plays itself out every single day all across America. Bully boss tells lowly employee to clean up toxic waste with bare hands. Lowly employee says no way dude, not doing it. Bully boss says do it or your fired. Lowly employee says good fire me and I’ll collect me some “unenjoyment benefits.” Bully Boss will then contest the unemployment benefits because he will claim the lowly employee refused to work and thereby “quit.” Generally speaking, if an employer objects to an employee’s claim for unemployment benefits, the claim will be denied. The employee has a right to appeal the denial and have a hearing on the claim before an administrative law judge. If the employee goes through the effort of the appeal and hearing, they might win their claim if they happen to appear before a sympathetic administrative law judge who has particular aversion to toxic waste. Or they might lose their appeal if they happen to appear before a particularly nasty administrative law judge who thinks employees should shut up and do as they are told.

In the context of the Corona Virus Economic meltdown, I can’t help but think about all those psychologically brutalized grocery store cashiers. What do they make? Ten or fifteen bucks an hour? Not a horrible barely survival gig under normal times if you can get it. But with this pandemic floating around it is literally the front lines of the danger zone. For 15 an hour?  But no, they can’t quit and collect unemployment. As a matter of fact, their bosses want them to work more and more. Overtime even? Here, have some gloves and a mask. Good luck out there, we need you… you are essential. If they are essential, then they should be paid fifty or a hundred bucks an hour for the importance of their work. But the unemployment system undermines their bargaining position. They can’t quit an intolerable job and collect some of that well advertised big pile of money in the unemployment system. They have to instead beg the boss to lay them off. When the boss holds the key to your survival rations even after you leave employment, you are not a free person that earns a living, you are an asset exploited for profit. That is the way the system is designed.

The last thing to consider in the context of the unemployment insurance system is the overhead. Every single claim for benefits must be processed by an employee of the unemployment bureaucracy. Since the system usually handles a half a million claims and now has to handle thirty million, a whole lot of people will have to be hired to process all those claims. And government work pays good. Then, when employers challenge some of the claims, there will be appeals and hearings before administrative law judges. Judges don’t come cheap. And neither do lawyers. Lots of claimants for benefits will hire lawyers to help with their applications and benefits. With individual benefit amounts near fifteen or twenty grand and 500 billion in the overall kitty, employment lawyers everywhere are scoping out the opportunities before them. In all seriousness, by the time the $500 billion makes its way through the unemployment system only 250 billion or so will end up in the hands of claimants.  The other 250 billion will be harvested by lawyers and bureaucrats that know how to work the system.

Can you visualize the oligarchic unemployment system now? A tall pyramid with lawyers and bureaucrats at the top drizzling money down to the crazy white mice that race frantically up the greasy sides below trying to prove that they deserve some of the money. Very few if any of the applicants will get the $16,600 they would have earned if unemployment benefits were divided democratically among all claimants. But the mice will be quite happy with the $4000 – $12,000 they do get. After all, unemployed losers in the capitalist economy are lucky to get anything at all from a system based on “independence.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, in the fancy houses, the oligarchs are still sitting in their comfy chairs watching their stock portfolios rise up and up on the computer screen as the Fed’s two trillion dollar stimulus works it’s way through the “free market system.”
The big moment is coming soon. I hear them talking about it a lot every time I accidentally turn on the news. Is it time to open up the economies? Republicans are fighting with democrats about it and democrats are fighting with republicans. Democrats want to keep the economies closed for safety (fear). Republicans want to open them up for freedom (profit). In reality, neither party cares what the workers want because both parties work for the oligarchs. Their political battle is staged for entertainment purposes only and the oligarchs are going to use the tool of the unemployment system to force their assets back into their profit generating positions as soon as possible. If, however, workers were invested with “democratic money” they would have bargaining position. They would be able decide individually whether or not it was safe to go back to work rather than having the “bosses” decide “to open the economy.”

The primary purpose of the unemployment system is to keep people in the labor force even when they are not working. That’s why “benefits” are temporary and based upon the applicants supplication before the state. That’s why applicants have to demonstrate they lost their job for a good reason. “Yes Mr. Oligarch, I’m sorry I lost my job. I really am a good hard working serf. And I promise I will go back to work as soon as you give me a job and tell me what to do. In the mean time, can I please have some money while I wait?” All those kind oligarchic managers are waiting patiently for the crisis to pass. But once they’ve waited long enough. Time to crack the whip. Your job is now available…. So no more unemployment benefits for you. Back to work you go. The bosses decide when and how people go back to work. The workers have no bargaining position because the oligarchs have rigged the money supply.

But alas, the game is a foot. The multitudes are stirring. Assets don’t like being assets. The unemployment system is a blunt tool that doesn’t necessarily deliver the goods. Republicans raised the issue before the stimulus bill even passed. Now it’s the heroic entrepreneurs and small business owners speaking out as the propaganda voice of the corporate managers. But but but… if you give the serfs too much money in unemployment benefits… they won’t want to go back to work. And it’s true.. giving them free money is only giving them crazy ideas. Lots of workers are now realizing their jobs were bullshit non-essential jobs. They are also experiencing the “unemployment system” first hand. Suddenly, everyone is talking and writing about a universal basic income (UBI). The basic income math dude who ran for president in the democratic primaries is even allowed on main stream news programs. Meanwhile, the socialists are talking about a general strike. But what would be the goal of a general strike? A socialist revolution? A taking of power by the “good guys?” What if the socialist general strikers bonded with the basic income crowd. What if basic income was not conceived as a handout from capitalism (freedom dividend) but was instead understood as the foundation of a new social contract? What if the single unified demand of the nationwide general strike was a demand for a democratic money system to replace the oligarchic money system? Well, then, I would say that the future is upon us.

The line is drawn, what side are you on? How about neither? Try the middle path instead? Demand “democratic money” from your “democratic government.”

Imagine the revolution 

And the coyote howls…. 

Owoooo…. Owoooo…. Owoooo!

This essay is not copyrighted; pass it on.

A Reality Based Economic Model

Silly Socialism and Crazy Capitalism met at the local bar
They drank beer and chatted about economics
After a few beers,
Their conversation became an argument
They switched to tequila
The argument became a fight
Fisticuffs,
Broken chairs
Rolling around on the floor
Pulling hair, biting, scratching, and punching
Nobody called the police
The fight just went on and on
Eventually,
A stranger, c^2, broke up the fight
Separated the combatants
And called a truce…

But it was a fragile truce,
Silly Socialism did not trust Crazy Capitalism
Crazy Capitalism did not trust Silly Socialism
Anxiety and anger lay just beneath the surface
Another eruption was possible at any moment
The stranger tried to calm the situation
Offered the adversaries a new kind of drink
A different flavor…
Not beer or tequila or whiskey
But an elixir of unknown origins
Silly Socialism took a slow sip and smiled
Crazy Capitalism took a big gulp and laughed
Then they were both laughing
It was all so very funny
Until a good song came on the jukebox
And they started dancing…
Together?
That’s when the stranger slipped away

The story is…
Crazy Capitalism and Silly Socialism
Left the bar together
Nobody really knows what happened 
But, apparently,
They couldn’t go to Silly Socialism’s city apartment building
Because Crazy Capitalism thought it was too crowded
And not very private
And they couldn’t go to Crazy Capitalism’s mountaintop mansion
Because Silly Socialism thought it was too isolated
And not very secure
So they ended up at a roadside attraction motel
Near a closed national park
A taxi dropped them off
They got a room
Went inside
Closed the door
Pulled down the shades
And turned out the lights…

The next day on the golf course
Crazy Capitalism bragged to his buddies
About his great accomplishment;
I did it, he said, I really did it
I fucked Silly Socialism
I fucked her good
Not sure how it happened
I always thought she was boring and annoying
After a few drinks with her at the bar
I wanted to beat the crap out of her
But then, I noticed
Underneath that bland and superficial exterior
She is also kind of hot and sexy
So I went along with some of her silly ideas
And listened to her explain her elaborate plans
Even pretended to agree with her a few times
She’s actually quite funny
We laughed and danced
And then we “mutually agreed”
To leave the bar together
We went to a cheap motel
And I discovered a surprising secret truth
In the darkness of the night
Silly Socialism can be very free
Wow,
She totally rocked my world.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town
Silly Socialism was at the cafe with her friends
Talking about her big night out;
It happened, she said, it really happened
Crazy Capitalism and I made love
We bonded together in a very special way
Not sure how it happened
I always thought he was rude and annoying
After a few drinks with him at the bar
I had an urge to slap him
But then, I noticed
Underneath his loud and obnoxious exterior
He is also kind of tender and sweet
So I laughed at some of his ridiculous jokes
And listened to him explain his crazy ideas
I even pretended to agree with him a few times
He’s actually quite nice
We laughed and danced
And then we agreed
To leave the bar together
We went to a quaint little guest house
And I discovered a surprising secret truth
In the darkness of the night
Crazy Capitalism can be very giving
Wow,
We made us some beautiful sweet tender love…

So what is truth?
Did Crazy Capitalism fuck Silly Socialism?
Or did Silly Socialism and Crazy Capitalism make love?
Perspective… subjectivity… narrative
Tell the story how you want
The end result is the same
Crazy Capitalism got knocked up by Silly Socialism 
And gave birth to an idea
Or Silly Socialism ate the apple that Crazy Capitalism gave her
And discovered the idea herself
What is the idea?
Very simple
But not easy
A reality based economic model:

e=mc^2

e = Capitalism
m = Socialism
c^2 = Free Will or Uncertainty

Temptation in Paradise 

Coast of Venezuela; December, 1992.

So I had the dream again. The nightmare. The same dream I had many times in Central America. The apocalypse highway dream. I won’t write it out again now. It was intensely the same. Strangely enough, I hadn’t had the dream since arriving in Venezuela four days earlier. Indeed, I hadn’t been dreaming at all the previous few days. I don’t know why. But the damn dream came back when I fell asleep in the hammock in the garden after breakfast. I can remember it now because of the vivid wake up experience that was rendered particularly confusing because of the hammock. As usual, the dream climaxed with black helicopters shooting at me among the fleeing refugees on the highway. Normally, rolling around in the smoke on the ground to escape helicopter gunfire was the thing that woke me up. Reality was usually sweaty, panicky and disorienting for a little while and this time it was especially surreal.
Upon opening my eyes I found myself trapped in a new kind of nightmare. I was restrained in a straight jacket. I tried to roll and shake free but the tangle of cloth and fabric around me only seemed to tighten. There were palm trees with coconuts up above. Blue sky and jungle. I wasn’t on a desert highway, I was, I was….. Where was I? I shook and struggled to release myself from the restraints.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. Somebody steadied the hammock. I heard a voice. “Patrick. Wake up. Your having a nightmare. It’s Stuart. Your safe. You are far away from Caracas. Wake up.” I finally opened my eyes wide and sat up and steadied myself in the hammock. I was okay. Reality came to a steady state and I knew where I was.
“You okay,” said Stuart? 

“Wow,” I said, “that was some nightmare.” My body was soaked in sweat and my heart was racing. “But I’m okay now.”

“Probably stress induced,” said Stuart, “did you dream about Caracas?”
“No, not at all,” I said, “it was this same crazy dream that I’ve had over and over for the last several months. Refugees on a highway and black helicopters shooting at them. Started as a fever dream when I thought I had malaria. The fever went away but the nightmare keeps coming back. It has nothing to do with Caracas.” 

“Nightmares in paradise,” said Stuart, “what a drag. Why not get up now and go to beach? Maybe we can meet some of the bikini birds from yesterday.”

I sat up some more and looked around. Gaya and Pierre were nowhere in sight and the breakfast dishes were all cleaned up from the picnic table. “What time is it? Where’s Gaya and Pierre?”

“It’s almost noon,” said Stuart. “Gaya left an hour ago for Macuto to get supplies and run some errands. She promised to be back in time to make dinner. Pierre went out walking in the neighborhood and said he would find us later at the beach.”

“Almost noon, wow. I really slept. Totally crashed out,” I said. “But yeah, let’s go to the beach.”

Down at the beach, we set our blankets up right near the sign that separated the public from the private beach. We were close enough to see that the flock of beautiful young ladies in bikinis from yesterday were back again for more sunbathing. If only a few would decide to walk along the shore towards public property, we might get a chance to meet them. In the mean time, all we could do was enjoy the sun and sand and surf. This was the first time I ever really talked to Stuart at length. I remember learning about his job. He didn’t like his job much. He was just glad he got six weeks vacation a year. This year’s six week excursion to Venezuela was by far the wildest thing he had ever done.

“I’m in hardware,” he said. “I sell screws.”
“Ah really….” 

“Not those kind of screws,” he said with an awkward laugh. “Real screws and nuts and bolts and clasps and clamps and all sorts of similar items. I work for a company based in Manchester where I live but I drive all over England to hardware stores selling and delivering supplies.”

“Oh, I get it. That makes sense. You sell hardware.”

“I know,” he said, “it’s boring. I’m not a spy or a super hero or a revolutionary. I’m just a boring normal hardware guy.”

“You are certainly not boring,” I said, “not with a lady friend like Gaya… and there’s nothing wrong with working in hardware if you enjoy it.”

“Of course I don’t enjoy it,” he said, “it’s work. And Gaya is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s not like I hook up with African goddesses back home in the Manchester pubs. I’m just a screw guy who almost never ever gets screwed….”

“Oh” I said, stunned by a confrontation with reality. 

“Do you enjoy what you do?” he said.

“Uh, uh sort of. I mean, it’s a good job, good career. I’m a lawyer. But I’m in the middle of taking a year off to travel and I like traveling more than I like work.”

“A lawyer huh?” He said. “You don’t look like a lawyer. Maybe that explains why you are so thrilled by all this revolution and socialism stuff. Me. I know nothing about it. I’m just normal guy… A screw guy. I want nothing to do with the chaos in Caracas. I only want it to end so I can keep on traveling.”

“I do find it interesting,” I said. “I’m even tempted to go there.”

“I know,” he said, “and that’s crazy to me. You and Pierre get so excited in your debates. Me. I don’t understand and I don’t care. Capitalism, socialism, what’s the damn difference? I just want to hang out, drink beer and meet birds.”  

Just as Stuart made his comment, three beautiful young ladies in bikinis came strolling along the shoreline from the private beach to the public beach. We were sitting on blankets about twenty feet back from the water. We both fell totally speechless as they walked between us and the water strutting their stuff. Oh my goodness. I had an urge to call out to them, say something, scream or howl. What would be a good beach pick up line in Spanish? But my tongue was tied. I said nothing and neither did Stuart. When the girls were about twenty feet beyond us, they turned around to look at us over their shoulders? They smiled and giggled when they looked but they kept on walking.
“Why didn’t you say something?” said Stuart when they were out of hearing.

“Me, why me?” I said. “You’re the one that’s good at meeting birds. Why didn’t you say something?”

“I was waiting for you to speak,” he said, “you are the handsome American lawyer. The ladies love that. You should call out to them when they come back..”

I got my opportunity about twenty minutes later when they came walking back down the shoreline towards the private beach. As they passed near our blanket, I shouted out, “permiso, excuse me, do you ladies speak English?” They stopped walking and looked briefly at each other before smiling and turning to walk towards us. It was one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen. Wow. Three perfect bikini bodies, glistening in the spray and sun like a vision from heaven. Holy Smokes.  

“Yes,” said the middle girl in the blue bikini. “I speak English little bit. My name Theresa and this is Maria y Caterina. What you want?”

“Well,” I said, “my name’s Patrick.”

“And I’m Stuart,” chirped in my companion.

“And we are tourists,” I continued, “who got stuck in Macuto because of the troubles in Caracas. We rented a cabana here,” I pointed behind me towards the jungle, “to wait for chaos to calm down. But we don’t know anyone here.”

“Touristas?” She said with a smile. “Where from?”

“I’m from the US,” I said, “Estados Unidos.”

“And I’m from England,”chirped Stuart, “Inglaterra.”

The three young ladies looked at each other like they were confused and started giggling. But they didn’t speak. 

“And what about you?” I continued. “Are you from around here. Local? Aqui? These parts.”

“We are from Caracas,” she said, “we came here for weekend with school program but now are stuck because of the trouble. We were to go back ayer… yesterday. Now we don’t know when we go back.”

“I think we saw you yesterday,” said Stuart, “when we accidentally trespassed on your private beach.”

The girls giggled. “Yes we saw you too,” said Theresa. “Security not nice there, no?” They giggled again.

“No,” said Stuart, “security was not nice. And we had no idea it was private. Our trespass really was accidental.”  

The girls did not respond verbally to Stuart’s spirited defense of yesterday’s transgression. They just giggled and talked among themselves in fast Spanish that I could not understand.

I remember being dazed and confused by their dazzling beauty and not really listening to Stuart drone on with awkward conversation. The ladies were so frickin hot and they were standing about four feet in front of me and they were practically naked. Was I speechless? Tongue tied? Probably. But then I heard Stuart invite them to join us.

“Since we are all stuck here because of the chaos in Caracas,” he said, “it makes sense that we be stuck together. No need to separate public beach from private beach. Why not sit down and join us for a while? We have beer in the cooler.”

The girls giggled and whispered in Spanish between themselves for a moment and then Theresa spoke on their behalf. “Today no,” said Theresa, “We have classes at 2:30 in conference room. We have to go. But maybe tomorrow during midday break if we are still here and no go back to Caracas.”

“Midday Break?” I questioned.

“The teachers are stuck here with us so we have a schedule like in Caracas. Classes from eight in morning till 11:30. Then afternoon classes 2:30 until 4:00.”

“So you can meet us about noon?” said Stuart.

“Si,” said Theresa, “if no go back to Caracas, we can meet you tomorrow midday?”

“Aqui no,” said Maria, “las professoras son cerca. El otra lado.”  

“What?” said Stuart, “no comprendo espanol.”  

“Better to meet at other end of beach,” said Theresa as she pointed away from the private beach. “Here too near school.”

“That sounds great,” said Stuart. “We’ll bring a cooler of beer and set up our beach blankets at the other end of the beach tomorrow before noon. It will be a party and you lovely ladies are invited.”

The girls giggled.

“Just out of curiosity,” I said before they left us for their 2:30 class, “what kind of school program are you taking at the beach. Is it college or university or what?”

“Es un colegio privada solo for mujeres.”

“A private college for girls.” I questioned.

“Colegio,” repeated Theresa.
The realization hit me like punch to the gut. Oh no! Oh shit. I remembered the Spanish word from my translations. Colegio is high school not college. I probably stuttered incoherently when I asked. Truthfully, now, 27 years later, I can’t remember if I asked in Spanish or English. I will certainly never forget their answers. “Cuantos anos tiene? How old are you?” I said.

“Diez y siete,” said Theresa. “Diez y Seis,” chimed in the other two. They then all said in unison, “hasta manana.” And turned to walk away down the beach shaking their beautiful bikinied butts in the sunshine. Wow! Holy shit? Was I a bad, bad man? I sure wanted to be.

For the rest of the afternoon, Stuart and I discussed the age of consent laws in Venezuela as we drank beer, roasted in the sun and swam in the ocean. How old is old enough? They certainly didn’t look like high school girls. At the time of these events, I was 27 years old and was certainly no innocent virgin in the sex department. I’d had more than my fair share of sexual experiences throughout college and law school and first few years of my professional life. But I hadn’t had much luck in the sex department during my six months (so far) traveling adventure. There was a little bit of loving with the American sailboat girl on the beach of Caye Caulker island and the Swiss backpacker woman on the ranch in Guatemala but no luck at all with local girls. Indeed, my inability to speak any Spanish had proved rather detrimental to my pursuit of “chicas” so far. The young girls on the beach near Caracas were a golden opportunity. Would I pursue it?

As Stuart and I walked up the hill back towards the Cabana, he asked me not to mention the teenage girls to Gaya. He didn’t want her to be jealous.

“Do you think she would be jealous?” I said. “It’s not like you are married and we haven’t even done anything with the young girls yet. We just said hello on the beach.”

“I know,” he said, “but if she finds out that we are meeting them tomorrow she will be mad. She may even try to interfere.”

“But we’re not meeting them tomorrow,” I said. “We are just going to the far end of the public beach to hang out and drink beer. If super hot young teenage girls happen to come by and join us, it’s not as if we planned it.”

“Exactly,” said Stuart, “we can’t predict the future. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Maybe the girls will go back to Caracas and we will be all alone. So no need to talk about it tonight with Gaya.”

When we got back to the Cabana, Gaya was cooking up another feast in the kitchen while Pierre dozed in the hammock. Another big night of eating and drinking in the garden lay ahead. 
 
Temptation is the key

That unlocks the temple door

Dissatisfied with order

The senses will seek more

We try to fight the instinct

And pretend that we are good

But we’d sacrifice the virgins

If we knew we could

An apple is eaten

And a people are free

The ruler is overthrown

Thanks to you… Eve

She shared it with Adam

And though he tried to resist

He traded in paradise

For a spectacular kiss…
To be continued…

Happy Easter

I am a fictional character. I am not real. I am fake news. Do not believe me when I tell you about the revolution. It is an imaginary revolution. It is not real.

When I first “discovered” the concept of democratic money (December 1994), I was a lawyer who regularly rubbed elbows and conversated with members of the managerial and ruling class. I quit being a lawyer shortly thereafter. I can still visualize the scene at the bar of me drunk and manic trying to explain it to some lawyer or finance executive or law school professor. They all thought I was crazy and that my idea or plan or whatever it was… was a bad idea. But the interesting part is, they all thought it was wrong for opposite reasons. All the capitalists thought it was a bad idea because they said it was just another version of stupid socialism. And all the socialists thought it was a bad idea because it was just another version of stupid capitalism. For the last 25 years I’ve been an independent stone mason. As such, I spend most of my time with the precariat and the financialized middle class. I don’t talk about democratic money much anymore because, well, stonework cures (treats) my mania. Nevertheless, I do occasionally bring it up in conversation in a relatively relaxed peaceful manner. Most people in the precariat and financialized working class seem to get the concept but don’t want to even think about or talk about the economics… I get the same familiar question. Are you talking about Capitalism or Socialism? In my imagination, of course, it is a theoretical middle path between the two.

Imagine the Revolution

Happy Easter

And back to new travel stories next week.

Democratic Money and the New Corona Virus Economy

I am a fictional character. I am not real. I am fake news. Do not believe me when I tell you about the revolution. It is an imaginary revolution, it is not real.
Here in the United States, we don’t like to talk about class. The dominant metaphor projected by the media is the great big competition that we are all participating in as individuals (the meritocracy or free market). Within the competition, there are winners and losers. As independent competitors, most people don’t belong to a class. They are instead working hard not to become “losers” and struggling toward that elusive category of “winner.” Nevertheless, it is helpful to talk about class when discussing the economic system because as a matter of observable fact and applicable law, the economic system treats people very differently depending upon what class they are in. Indeed, at a very fundamental level, we have four separate economic systems in the United States; one for each of the four different economic classes. If the systems could be unified into one, then we could maybe say that we have a real free and fair market. But the blatant unfairness of the oligarchic money supply system makes that impossible. The recent economic response to the Corona Virus epidemic demonstrates this fundamental unfairness in easy to understand, black and white terms. 

The distinct economic classes in the United States are as follows:

01% of the adult US population owns 50% of the financial markets. This is the “ruling class” for purposes of discussion. You probably know who they are in your town. They pull the levers of power. They own lots of stuff. This is not to say they are good people or bad people. It is only to recognize the reality of their position in the economic system.

09% of the adult US population owns 35% of the financial markets. This is the “managerial class.” This is the lawyers and accountants and corporate bosses and administrators that are always telling everyone else what to do. They are the levers of power that get pulled. This is not to disparage the character of “professionals,” but it is to recognize them as a distinct economic class within the economic system. The 09% managerial class

40% of the adult US population owns 15% of the financial markets. This is the useful good guy working class. Firefighters and nurses, teachers and emts. All those nice little people with 401ks and retirement pensions and/or a small portfolio of stocks. For purposes of discussion, they are the financialized working class. They have been led to believe that the financial markets are a good thing that serves their interests because they are invested in them but they don’t really understand the reality of how financial markets function.

50% of the adult US population own 0% of the financial markets. This is the precariat class that seriously struggles to meet basic needs. They have low wage jobs, temp jobs, gig positions, illegal jobs, social service survival payments, disability payments, unemployment payments, worker’s comp. payments, public housing, subsidized housing, homeless shelters and food pantries. This is not to disparage the precariat class. It is to recognize them as a distinct economic class within the economic system. It is the class of people that does not participate in the financial markets so they have to get their currency (money) they need to survive from another source.

This essay advocates for the transformation of the money supply system from an oligarchic money supply system to a democratic money supply system. This one fundamental change to the very foundations of the economy would transform society in significant ways. There is little doubt that the proposed change would be greatly beneficial to the precariat class. If they could be made to understand the proposal they would all agree to it. There is also little doubt that the proposed change would be greatly beneficial to the financialized working class. They, however, might hesitate to accept the transformation because of the small benefit they receive from the present oligarchic money supply system and the heavy dose of propaganda that accompanies that small benefit. Some of the managerial class may agree to the proposed change because they will see how it will improve their quality of life for them and everyone around them. But many in the managerial class will oppose it because they receive way too many benefits from the oligarchic money supply system. Same with the ruling class. A few may like the proposal from an intellectual perspective as a mechanism for organizing society. But most just get way too much benefit from the oligarchic money supply to even consider it. The ruling class controlled media will wage a full spectrum attack against the concept because it challenges the foundations of the economic system.

So let’s start with the oligarchic money supply system that exists now. How much is a loaf of bread? How much was a loaf of bread twenty years ago? How much is a potato? How much was a potato? How much is your rent or “mortgage payment?” How much was your rent or “mortgage payment” thirty years ago? How much to get treated for Corona Virus now? How much to get treated for measles or polio then? Inflation is a fact of life. Inflation is a reality. When I was young, a millionaire was fantastically rich guy and billionaires were only in cartoons (Scrooge McDuck). Now there are millionaires on every corner and billionaires bloviate all over the main stream media. They have replaced movie actors as the gods of the modern religion.

So the big question is; where did all the new money come from?”  

Money does not grow on trees. It can’t be picked. Money is not buried in the ground. It can’t be dug up or mined. But money does exist and there is a lot more of it circulating through the economic system now than there was thirty years ago. So where does this new money come from? How does it get added to the economic system when it wasn’t there before? For that matter, what, exactly… is money? Money is the symbolic representation of the legal right to use economic value within the jurisdiction of the government that created the money. In other words, all new money must originate from the federal government or it is, by definition, counterfeit. Therefore, all of the trillions of dollars that are now circulating through the system that were not circulating thirty years ago must have been somehow added to the flow by the federal government. In other words, the government supplied the currency to the system. How did they supply it? Who did they supply it to?

In reality, new money is added to the economic system on a regular basis through two separate mechanisms. The US Treasury department writes checks to corporations, individuals and government agencies as official Federal spending and the Federal Reserve “loans” money to the financial markets through its role as the central banker. In both cases, money is also subtracted from the economic system to theoretically balance out the system. In the case of official Federal spending, the US Treasury subtracts money from the economic system through imposing taxes on citizens and selling government bonds. But the trick of government accounting is there is no bottom and there is always a lag between what the government puts out in spending and what it takes in through taxes and bond sales. US Treasury checks don’t bounce. They can’t as a matter of law. As the deficit grows larger and the lag between spending and money collecting grows longer more and more money circulates through the economic system. In the case of Federal Reserve loans to the financial markets, the Federal Reserve subtracts money when it collects the payments on the loans. But the Federal Reserve is in the same position as the US treasury. They can’t bounce a check. Accordingly, they lend out more money than they have coming in through loan payments thereby increasing the total amount of money in circulation. If the Fed wants to increase the money supply it “lends” more money. If it wants to contract the money supply it stops lending and increases debt collection.  That is how it is designed to work.

Oligarchic money supply means simply that when new money is added to the system, it is always distributed into the system to the upper levels of the economic hierarchy. Theoretically, the money trickles it’s way downward within the system to eventually reach everybody in the economic system. Democrats and Republicans argue about who in the economic hierarchy should get the new money but neither party is interested in democratizing the money distribution itself. Democratic money means simply that all new money is introduced equally to all participants in the economic system

Presently, the US economic system faces a crisis brought on by the Corona Virus. That crisis is being responded to by both arms of the money supply system. Originally the Fed proposed a 1.2 trillion shot of liquidity to increase the money supply but they have now upped that to “whatever it takes”. Meanwhile, Congress and the White House are talking up various plans for about two trillion in liquidity from their side of the money supply system. As a matter of observable fact, both arms of the system will be distributing their combined four trillion dollars using an oligarchic mechanism rather than a democratic mechanism. That is the thing that needs to change.

For clarity of understanding, let’s look at the difference between democratic distribution versus oligarchic distribution with this proposed Corona Virus rescue economic package. If we have a two trillion dollar package, like Congress is now proposing, all we have to do to distribute it democratically is figure out how many people are in the economic system and divide it up equally. I would include everyone living within the borders in this number but politicians no doubt will seek to somehow shrink the size of the class. For the sake of discussion, I use the approximate number of 300 million human people in the US who are subject to the US economic system. Three hundred million people goes into a two trillion dollar fund, six thousand six hundred and sixty six times. That’s $6,666 dollars per person. Instead, the congressional corona virus two trillion under discussion will be passed out very differently. Much of it is going directly to corporations in large amounts instead of small amounts to individuals. Theoretically, it will trickle down to the employees who work for those corporations in the form of wages and paid sick leave and the opportunity to work again. Another large chunk of the two trillion will go into government bureaucracies like unemployment and Medicaid. This money too will trickle downward into the community through the hands of the employed bureaucrats and into the hands of the displaced workers if they prostrate themselves before the state and beg for it by “applying for unemployment.” It is doubtful that any of the displaced workers will receive more than $6,666 in benefits. Finally, a small chunk of the trillion, about 200 million(10%) will be distributed somewhat democratically… to everybody. Not sure exactly who will be included in this group, all taxpayers, all voters, all residents… But they are saying $1200 per adult and $500 per child. I would like to specifically emphasize that even this small bit of democratic money will be advertised as a handout or safety net for the unfortunate instead of as a recognition of basic economic rights.

The other Corona stimulus rescue package is coming from the other arm of the money supply system; The Federal Reserve. Originally, the Fed said they were going to inject 1.2 trillion of additional money into the corporate bond market (I.e. lend corporations new money). They later upped that amount to 1.5 trillion and have now upped that amount to whatever it takes to keep the credit markets flowing. It is important to understand, that this money too, is distributed oligarchically rather than democratically. 50% of US adults have no investments in the financial markets at all so they get no share of the 2 trillion Fed stimulus. Even among the hundred million US adults who are invested in the financial markets, the money is not distributed democratically. If it was distributed democratically, every person invested in the market would receive $20, 000. Instead, they will receive a share of the stimulus in proportion to their total investment in the market. The ruling class of 2 million people will get 50% or 1 trillion. If they broke it down democratically among themselves that works out to five hundred thousand dollars each. They, of course, break that down, oligarchically as well. The more you have the more you get. The managerial class of approximately 10 million people will get there 35% or 700 billion. If they broke their share down democratically they would get seventy thousand dollars each. And finally, the financialized working class of approximately 80 million people would get 15% or about 300 billion. If they broke their share down democratically, they would get $3600 each (significantly less than $6,666).

Think of it this way. The federal government is not adding any economic value at all to the economic system with it’s Corona Virus economic stimulus package. They are, instead, re-organizing the distribution of the legal right to utilize already existing economic value so that we as a nation respond effectively to the Corona Virus attack. Since money is the symbolic representation of the money holders legal right to use economic value, by adding 4 trillion new dollars to the system they reduce the value of the already existing money by a significant percentage. This will manifest as inflation in the near future. The cost of food and shelter will go up. If this new money was democratically distributed, the amount received by each person would more than make up for this increased inflation. But since the money is distributed oligarchically, 90% of the population actually gets ripped off in the Corona stimulus transaction. Do you really think it’s such a good deal? $4 trillion dollars increases the amount of money in circulation by 20%. That means the value of the money in your hand goes down by 20%. That means the cost of your rent and food is going to go up by 20% in the next few years. $1200 in cash now in exchange for a much higher survival prices in the near future. How much do you get in unemployment? Sort of makes you wish you got the $13,333 that would be your fair share if the whole four trillion was distributed Democratically. But alas, Congress and the President and the Fed stabbed us all in the back. They made a big show of handing us a dollar while they snuck a ten spot from our proverbial wallets.

So what if we did things differently? What if we responded to the Corona Virus Crisis with an economic stimulus based on democratic principles instead of oligarchic principles? How would it work? What would a real democratic money supply stimulus look like? Is it possible to impose an emergency alternative economy on top of the crumbling broken economy and thereby create a stable hybrid economy that is radically different and significantly more ethically sound than the present one? I don’t know. But under the extreme circumstances we are now facing, it is certainly worth considering.

The most important thing to understand about money supply is that a healthy economic system must be designed so that money circulates through it. If there is an in door, there has to be an out door. Under the present system, the Fed normally gives out loans and takes back interest payments. But the bottomless checkbook makes it possible to give loans faster than they take back payments and thereby increase the amount of money in circulation.

Similarly, the treasury gives out by writing checks for Congressional spending. They take in by collecting taxes and selling bonds. But they too, have a legally bottomless checkbook that allows them to spend more than they collect and thereby increase the money supply. Both government offices (treasury and the Fed) have the power to increase or decrease the money supply at will. You can’t have one without the other. That’s why the system so strongly opposes the idea of free money. If you just add money but don’t increase the amount of economic value available, all you do is decrease the value of the money already available.

Democratic money is not free money. It is money that goes out into the system through one door gets passed around society and then goes back to home base through another door. Similar to a loan or a bond, it is money that comes with an agreement. In the case of the proposed Corona Virus Economic Stimulus, it is an agreement to participate in the emergency Corona economy for a specified period of time. By way of example, I recommend a 1.5 trillion dollar stimulus for the total US population of 300 million distributed democratically for a term of three months. That works out to $4500 per person which is an average of $1500 per month as the foundational economic investment. That money will then be spent into the economy by the participants to pay for food and shelter and basic necessities. In exchange for that foundational investment. All participants in the emergency economy agree to return (voluntary tax) of 50% of everything they earn on the free market during that designated time period. Of course many people will not earn anything at all during the three months because they are home in quarantine. Some people will earn only a little during that three months and pay back in voluntary taxes way less than they receive as the foundational investment. Anybody who makes $9000 or less for the three month term, receives more from the foundational investment than they pay in taxes. Anybody who makes more than $9000 over the three month period will pay back more to the fund than they receive in foundational investment. Hopefully, enough people who participate in the fund make more than $9000 for the three months so that the fund is able to at least break even when the term is complete. Might even make a profit. If, however, the fund operates at a loss (collects less than it puts out) that would cause some inflation. But really, the goal of the stimulus is to organize society for a proper response to a pandemic. A little bit of inflation is a small price to pay if it helps our society weather the Corona crisis before us.  

Of course, participation in the Corona Virus Democratic Money stimulus program has to be completely voluntary. Nobody has to do it if they don’t want to. No one has to agree to accept the $4500 investment and thereby agree to return 50% of everything they earn on the free market in the next three months. So the question becomes, will anybody who earns more than $3000 a month want to join the program? They will, after all, end up paying more into the program than they receive in stimulus.

I, personally, am an independent stone mason, and I usually earn between $4000 and $5000 a month during the spring months. As such, I am in a perfect position to answer this question. If I earn my normal $15,000 during the three months, I would have to pay $7500 back to the fund at the end of the term. If I only get $4500 to start, I will lose a total $3000 to the stimulus program. Nevertheless, I will choose to accept the stimulus agreement without hesitation for several very good reasons. First, and most importantly, because of the Corona Virus, my normal planned stonework projects might get cancelled because clients have financial issues associated with the virus so perhaps I will make significantly less than my normal hoped for $15,000 anyway. Secondly, I or a family member could get sick with the virus and we would have to quarantine. Having the $4500 peace of mind to meet my monthly bills if I can’t work at all will give me the psychological crutch I will need to choose a quarantine that I or my family might need. Thirdly, I would like to participate in my community, my state, and my nation to help out during this time of crisis. Stonework is not especially helpful for assisting the sick and I am not skilled at nursing. But if this medical crisis becomes severe it may become necessary to abandon my normal work altogether and volunteer to help medical professionals in some way they think is useful. I would like to have the minimum financial security of the $4500, to be able to volunteer my strong arms to help those good doctors and nurses who are on the front lines if they need and want my help. Finally, even if the Corona Virus Pandemic proves to be not severe and I’m able to do my stonework all Spring and the weather is good and I have a great three months and I manage to make $20,000, and therefore have to pay $10,000 back to the fund, I will still be glad I accepted the $4500 at the start because I can’t think of anything better to spend an extra $5500 on than helping my community get through a health crisis.

Of course, the more a person earns above $3000 per month, the less likely it is that he or she will be interested in participating in the proposed democratic money Corona economic stimulus. This is where the power of community advertising comes into force. We could mount an Internet campaign against the movie stars and billionaires to convince them to join the Corona Virus Fund. Can’t you just imagine their dramatic displays of magnanimity and solidarity with the Everyman as they accept their $4500 checks on camera and agree to turn over half their earnings for the next three months to the cause of protecting America from this horrible threat. More to the point, will the upper middle class that usually earns $6000-$10,000 a month agree to join the fund. I don’t know. Again, the power of advertising and community persuasion. Humans are social animals. Everyone may want to participate as much as possible in an economic program designed to protect us all from a Corona Virus as much as possible.

Finally, before closing, I would like to emphasize that the existence of a $1.5 trillion democratic money stimulus does not preclude traditional government investment in a newly created economic value as well. In this particular case the new economic value that the government must account for is medical treatment for Corona Virus. The people who perform the service of treatment have to be paid and the equipment and medicines used in the treatment has to be paid for as well. Once again, the federal government could create a Corona Virus Treatment Fund out of thin air. All future hospital, Doctor or medical bills associated with Corona Virus would be submitted to the fund for payment instead of to insurance companies or to presently existing government bureaucracies. Theoretically, all of the doctors and nurses and medical suppliers and hospitals and clinics etc., would submit all bills related to the Corona Virus to the Treatment Fund to be paid. It’s hard to know how much this targeted stimulus would be because it is hard to know exactly how much treatment is going to be needed. But I would recommend adding it on to the democratic money stimulus agreement as a service provided in lieu of currency. That way the fund would be replenished through the voluntary 50% tax. I would recommend 500 billion for the targeted Corona fund to make the overall initial stimulus of democratic money 2 trillion dollars. In other words, the US Federal Government would thereby make the following offer to every single person living inside it’s borders. We will pay you $4500 in cash and promise to pay for all medical services associated with Corona Virus if you agree to live your life for the next three months with the Corona threat in mind and return 50% of everything, you do earn over the three months period back to the Corona Treatment Fund. 

Conclusion

It is unlikely that the US government will adopt democratic money any time soon. As I stated at the beginning of this essay, democratic money is a concept that would be beneficial to at least 90% of the population (the precariat and the financialized working class). Unfortunately, the people who are not benefitted by the concept, control the government and the media and the conversation. Accordingly, the concept of “democratic money” will be kept as far away from the general public’s consciousness as possible. It will be ignored and despised and be-littled. But really; it is the most sensible way to organize a modern economy. It is the way of the future… if we ever get there. So put it on your webpages and your social media; put it on tee-shirts and baseball hats. Tell your friends about it in chat rooms and restaurants. Democratic Money! Demand it of your “democratic government.” Write essays about it. Critique it? Talk about it. I think it would be fun to teach a class about it. How about; Democratic money as the foundation of an organic economic system? Would anybody take such a class? I wonder if I could teach it online?

I personally think that the United States is way too big with too many people for a unified democratic currency system. I would break it up into regions with maybe 20 or 30 different democratic currency regions depending on ecosystems and available resources. But trying to think about that break-up is so complicated it gives me a headache to consider. Perhaps the territory of the democratic economic system could be smaller. It needs to be large enough geographically to sustain the basic needs of all the people who live within it but small enough to be managed democratically. Maybe each state could have it’s own democratic money. Right now the Constitution only allows the Federal Government to create “new money.” So the battle between the Federal government and the state government over this issue would be epic. I am ever hopeful that some smart young whipper snapper somewhere will run for governor of some small state with “democratic money” as their campaign platform. I’m not a political person myself though. About all I can really do is take the concept of “democratic money” and toss it out there in the ether and hope some other people will pick it up and run with it. If you have any questions, give me a shout. I’ll be working on a stone wall somewhere.

Stay safe. Don’t forget to wash your hands and welcome to the New Corona Virus Economy.

Imagine the Revolution 

And the coyote howls… Owoooooo!

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