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The Smiling Psychopat, or Banks and Ethics

Tuesday musings

For a long time societies on Earth have tried different ethics, different laws and moral rules. It is spectacular to read about greek, roman, tudor violence, about the discretion to kill that has shaped most of human history. Cultures like our western culture are said to have progressed as we adopted chrstianity, but we had a long time of dark ages as we where very religous. Now we are supposed to abide by the law and fight for profit. Is that any different than not having any law and fighting to stay alive? What does it mean to drive cut throat competition for profit, like we see in the biggest banks.

The three forces

Law is a function of language and organization in society. ‘Order’ however is a ubiguitous phenomenon. Animals that have no language will chase and or kill each other and other animals to fix the order, with what they have, their own strength. Animals that lose their strength get killed. Of course nature has a lot of lazy slackers that found a niche and don’t hunt or kill, along with ‘plant killers’ so this is a simplification, but one that is close to our human nature. If a lion sees a jackal tresspass on his territory and cause trouble, 20 seconds later that jackal is dead. If a lion sees another lion tresspass on his territory, the fight is for life and death.

Order, the management of fear, is the motivation behind creating (written) laws 

When you can introduce law you still need an motive. We believe the growth of the population is that motive. How can you induce order in a group you can not run after. Law in early days was enfoced by severe punishment and death, so natural selection favoured individuals that could obey laws. Another motive would be the desire to utilize the population for production and the ability to trade is greatly enhanced if you don’t kill. Zoroaster was one of the first to stop killing, Moses, many others brought wealth by preventing killing. It could be turned around : Mohammed is one example of a man that created his law to form an army and keep moral high. Kill the infidel. So for Mohammed not only does a person have to obey law, he has to be religious, and then very specifically religious. 

Laws can kill, indirectly, in hard to see ways 

The major problem of law is that there is no guarantee it protects life. The Amish don’t want to use medicin, so the mortality from simple deceases is high. Lots of primitive law systems, superstitions, would sacrifice human life or kill because of fixations. The Aztec that clearly sacrificed. We burned witches. A law can be abusive, life shortening, discriminative and cruel. The morality of the person making the law is essential. If you can’t trust that you need to devise a system where the potential victims of law have their say (to protect their life and livelyhood) which is our system of democratic law.

Law designed democratically will become more just 

If we lived in medieval times you could choose to be a thug (knight) and kill and get killed, or be a farmer/worker, and hope no knight passed by. Death and killing was only regulated by kings, but kings where basically chief thughs. Weirdly even when these kings where deeply religious that did not stop them from maintaining order in the most horrendously cruel ways. Most british kings and queens for instance simply had an idea and went their thuggish way about it. This is lightyears away from ‘I had a dream’, more like ‘I had a gang’ or ‘Become king or die trying’. History shows that society was educated and adapted to the institution of the kingdom so that after a while kings and queens (in England) wheren’t really killing that much anymore (it ended with Bloody Mary?).

A change perhaps came as religion passified many, channeled their agression and told them to work hard to generate their own wealth and if things suck, not complain (protestantism). Selling people to strife for a modest industrious life without having to give them anything made life for lawmakers a lot easier. Besides, industrious activity generates wealth, and wealth always trumps aggression because you generally fight to survive. Another possible factor is that conflicts eliminate the most aggressive ones, at least a few of them. If groups fight with aggressive individuals, there is no real selection for more aggressive individuals and the group  will become less aggressive. Another society became milder may be that we started to protect woman, so rapists did not create so much offspring. Nutrition is a factor as wel, but in general aggression in was reduced through the application of laws (religious and worldly) with an effect on the people. Laws, understood and obeyed may be seen as eugenetic devices.

Three forces in history, agression, laws, money.. 

So in this environment where we managed to subdue human agression, bring out their industrious qualities, create some protection of women you still had a symbol of ownership and potential, money. It basically travelled along with law and physical force in history as a third power. If you where a poor knight you died, if you where a rich one you could pay your way out. When king Henry invaded France (he had an idea he should own both England and France) he killed all the knights/noblemen he captured in the first battle. This was shocking at the time, a destruction of culture, something that was usually settled monetarily.

Newton Sentenced a Counterfeiter of Money to Death 

The ‘third force’ in life and death situations became visible many times. The Dutch 80-year war was lost by the Spanish because they could not pay their mercenaries anymore. The Bostoners printed paper money (silver dollar certificates) to keep the looting soldiers at bay (who should have been robbing the French in Canada, but where repelled). Money represents wealth and quells the appitite for violence. You can make people work for it, it can symbolize anything. It may be interesting to know that one King brought it all together when he both abolished the divine right of kings, was protestant and created his own bank, the Bank of England. We’re talking about William of Orange the Third, who ruled together with Mary. Hmm..womans rights anyone ? He came in with a horde of dutch traders and made London boom.

Banking

Modern banks are at the top of the food chain, like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are about money. Their fight for it actually gives value to money, because the constant pressure on society to pay for things makes people unwilling to share them, even in an environment of wealth and abundance like we had last century. These banks are after money like it was oxygen. Internally they apply the death penalty (practically), they fire people at a whim. This culture creates a machine that simply tries to suck up and own all money available, by any means, and thus has a big influence on real life, even if that is not stricly necessary. The motivation for the people working in this system is winning in the game, not living a life (according to testimony by Joris Luyendijk). These people are nerds for money and are most powerfull in their game. 

The fraud of banks is not the real problem, their profit seeking is

This world of quants, derivatives, bonds, all kinds of instruments that would be meaningless if people didn’t care about them, has at it’s core money itself. This is it’s security, because as long as you extract money, people will need money. Banks will deflate because people will come to them to lend money and thus hand over their goods and possesions, which they can then lose because the same bank takes away the money from society that should have been there for the lender to make a profit. By striving for profit banks maintain a dependency. They are not like other companies, we mentioned before that energy companies and banks are anomalies that do not fit in the normal economic paradigm. This is why they are so powerfull. A ‘private’ bank is a problem.

Profit seeking by banks means money scarcity, thus forcing people to lend

What ethics is derived from this essential instinct for more money? That depends on what effect the money and the fight for it has. The ethics of a bank does not lie in its investment strategies, but in the nature of money, because all banks combined will invest in all possible activities. This is true and a fact, even hard drugs are payed for and the money is laundered by banks. Todays money derives it’s value from it’s ability to buy fossil fuels. This is why we need it. If it didn’t do that we would have to work much harder, really produce many things we now get from factories that run on fossil fuels, through logistics that depend on fossil fuels. Bank ethics pretends not to say anything about this, because it only looks at money, but it does, because it knows very well that it needs this ability for the money to retain it’s power. The banking system depends on the availability of fossil fuels to keep us needing the money they lend us.

Money and credit can only be granted as we do today in a world with plenty of fossil fuels 

What does this say about ethics? Well, like laws that can be lethal and should be democratized, and force to be contained, the power of money should be such that it not only enables trade etc. but that it is not a problem in itself. Our bank ethics is partially shaped by the ethics of the money we use. Do we use fossil fuel money then our world will be destroyed, wars will have to be faught, many have to be poor, droughts, storms, floods will kill millions. This is even without a bank investing in wars for profit! The nerd/knight bankers fighting cut throat to keep their system alive (by creating money scarcity) are even without knowing it endangering us all. We should not be experiencing constant debt and money scarcity, and we would not if these big banks would not exist. But we would also not have acces through money to the resources these banks brought under money control.  

The money extraction (profit) pressure from the moneylenders corrupts everything. It is a spreading disease. Banks are parasites.

Money does other things that leach it’s third force into the other two, law and violence. This is mainly because of it’s fossil fuel nature, because if it was gold and labour backed you could not do a lot of things that damage the population. You could lobby for wars and corn syrup but after a while that would affect the economy so badly the laws would change. Today it’s clear lawmaking is part of bankers profit seeking, against the response of a population that is miseducated by profit driven media conglomerates. Money pays for lobbyist that help introduce harmfull chemicals, plants, machines, processes into society, and make room for more fossil fuel. Money perverts the laws and deals death everywhere, because that is a way you can make a profit as a bank. Bank ethics are a function of the utility of the money they lend out, and we live in a time where money itself is a force, because it can buy fossil energy. It can put power in a killer bot, as it does with drones, and kill kill kill. The banker drives this because he is after profit to keep himself in business.

Remedies 

So there is something wrong with banker ethics, basically it’s blindness to consequences of the drive for self preservation. There is no ethics in banking, financing, even if there is in some cases. People pointing at fair banks fall for the oldest trick in the book, the smile of the psychopath. You fix things by taking money out of law (no lobbyist or rich congressmen), but taking lethality out of banking (no arms trade or war financing). But most of all by changing the nature of money, and by eliminating money through ownership. If money represents productive power, meaning energy, then you can use it to create wealth. But if people have productive power or own it in the form of renewable energy sources, you don’t need money.

Local renewable energy and production reduces the need for money 

Another way to reduce the damaging effect of banking is by making transactions more local. Money should not behave like it has no physicality. A payment to Spain from Holland has less impact then one to Belgium. You give money a weight and apart from pretending it arrives in your account you also pretend it was transported there like any other commodity.

Making money behave more like a physical commodity serves the real economy 

Of course the last option is the easiest to implement, in crude form, by taxing money transfers around the globe. ‘Fast money’ or ‘Flash Cash’ laws reduced the ability of banks to have money show up in strange places, not allowing outsiders to know how much was actually there. One way to achieve it is through more different currencies and laws against using foreign currencies. The exchange rate tells you what the reciprocity is between the people of the two currencies. 

Full transparency kills bank dominance

The last option would kill banking, which is not a shocking thing, after all money can exist without huge banks. It is to make banks 100% transparent. Not in terms of reporting, but simply open at every level, like you can access a database and walk the floor whenever you feel like it. It would kill banks because it would make it impossible to maintain the illusion of power. The source of it would be apparent, namely crazy laws. Public support of those laws would dissapear and they would be changed, and banks would become small and servile.

Banker occupation

What is clear is that if we don’t break the captive power of banks, we will not be able to move against fossil fuels, and we will face so much climate change it will make it impossible to maintain law and order or an economy, and so banks have an interest in changing themselves. But because their horizon is short term, they will have to be changed by us. How? We can demand the change, primarily by new investment laws that prioritize investments in renewables. There is real momentum for this as anyone can see the ROI on renewables is fantastic. How than can it be so difficult to lend to buy renewables?

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