The world economy is contracting in a way not seen since the dawn of the industrial age. It was a descision to unburden the intensive care units (as far as it was taken timely) and protect the lives of the elderly. There are variants in each country, as there should be. In some the thought was to “Take it on the chin”, in others the virus was kept out with extreme prejudice. Money stopped flowing, and as we have written here many times, as a result oil stopped flowing. Oil wells can’t just be shut down (they may not restart), so prices dropped until all reserves where full and now we wait for news that oil producers started dumping oil in ponds.
This event poses a serious challenge for the economic system. Governments told a part of the population to stop producing. Money stopped flowing. Export and import stopped. This also meant no cost, for the 2/3ths of monthy turnover. However banks did not stop asking mortgages and rent. Loans had to be payed off. Technically if everything stops it makes no sense and it is unwise to demand these payments. They serve a function that is to drive people to work. Of course banks never demanded the measures, in fact banks have been behind the call for “Herd Immunity” and letting the old wood die. See the quote below.
To anyone that has seen a violent rainstorm ruin a garden party or who has seen the devestation after a tsunami or hurricane understands that you can’t blame anyone for such an event. Nobody is responsible for the existence of the coronavirus. Some are certainly responsible for how to deal with this calamity, and heads should roll if it is clear mistakes where made. But there is no justification of financial bondage resulting from this crisis.
If you want something, like live in a house, you are forced to go into debt, because banks have organized society such that everyone thinks that even a small piece of land is worth a fortune. Because it isn’t banks have made it so that there’s enough money to allow enough people to part with money to pay the “mortgage” and still have a happy life. There is no real friction, no real effort. Mortages are gifts of banks to themselves, and it allows them to judge who will buy a house and possibly deny them. So it’s a tool of discrimination and bondage. Money talks now, before people talked.
Economics tells you to “invest” ahead of income, to produce even if there is no demand. Of course, this puts you in a strange relation with possible finaciers, they wait for you to want to do something, then they lend you the money, and you will be paying them and be forced to work to pay them. It does not matter whether what you want is a morally sound idea, as long as money flows. So banks profit from prostitution, arms trade, drug trade and all kinds of inflationary schemes. Their goal is to increase cashflow, and a side effect of that is that they increase fossil fuel use (but I digress).
Now all the above is just a game banks play. It could be handled differently, for instance with total democracy on loans or institutional quality approval of products and non-profit banks. No flash trading on the stockexchange, only slow transactions. All that would increase quality of life, solidity of our endeavours, but it would reduce cashflow. The world economy is a creation of banks, in all its harm and inefficiencies. It’s a materialization of “Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and we gave this power to them.
If you want to “restart” the economy you have to act as if nothing happend. Like we where all anesthetized and woke up a year later. No time had passed we where aware of. All the cost where born by our resource reserves. No debt remains. This is possible and this should be the way it is. Of course the turnover of one business will return slower than another, and I for sure am a fan of the idea of prioritizing climate responsible businesses over ones that have a CO2 debt to the world or are still creating one.
No bank really lifted a finger to protect anyone except themselves and some super turnover generators. Those (like the airlines) where massive fossil fuel consumers, and these are always the banks favourite : Create credit, buy fuel, burn fuel, receive cashflow, rinse and repeat. No attention was and is payed to the needs of people. So meat is not distributed, vegetables are rotting in the fields. Some authority needs to worry about that.
Banks really only enjoy the game and don’t like to get involved unless it is to protect themselves. They may have “bought” oil reserves and wells, which is a massive mindfuck because they create the money to buy against the asset they buy, meaning they pull themselves up by their bootstrap and the wool over our eyes (we should be more alert). They have nothing, only title to and a bunch of tokens (dollars, euros) we believe have value. Right now that game is halted. The question is : Why would banks gain control over our lives during this time of crisis. Why would we aknowledge debts to them when the cost of lending money in the EU is negative?
But better still : Why are we playing the game they invented, even as we are all suffering ? A halted economy is a time out, banks can not incur debt even if they supply credit. Debt is an illusion created to bond people to the economy. You may think this is a rediculous statement, but it is not, because we NEVER pay our debt. Simply said we do this :
- Banks lend money into circulation
- We ‘earn’ that money
- We buy products made with fossil fuel
- That fossil fuel is burned
- We ‘earn’ more money
Can it work without step 4. ? NOPE! Can we make fossil fuels ? NOPE!
The exchange we make with our economy is not equitable. We do not do for it what it does for us. The reason is the availability of fossil fuels (I include all types of gas in this catergory for semanticists). We can not make them in our kitchen or factory (of course there’s power to gas now but that’s barely a thing). “But oil companies make oil”. Yes, they get it out of the ground. Why would they give it to us? This is the big lie of our economy, we feel and believe we are the creators of our lifestyle, but we are given a tremendous gift to use : fossil energy. This not praise for this polluting energy source, it’s just that we overlook how essential it (still) is.
The funny thing about oil is that it really is something. A barrel or tank full of gasoline, you can smell it, it keeps you warm. Money on the other hand, is nothing. It’s a number or paper. Banks can create it (we all know that) just like that. So this trade of oil for money could be considered a mystery. In fact it is not a mystery, it is the system called the economy. That trade of energy for numbers is the basis of our economic system, and it puts all power in the hands of the banks. The game banks play is how to keep us happy and distracted, yet retain enough control over our lives to steer away from threats to this system. There’s also a gentrifying element to bank policy, of course they like to support neat people over unpredictable types. They fund wars that (to be frank) always kill more aggressive people than cowards (unless nuclear bombs are used).
There are two points I like to make with this post. The first is that banks should not gain power from stopping the game. This is like moving chess pieces whil your opponent is taking a toilet break. It is cheating. The second is that we need to find a way to remove the incentive to maximize cashflow for banks, and this means we need to replace fossil fuels or simply limit the wealth banks can gain from it. Banks should become non profit.
A great way to achieve this is to require renewable energy as the source of productiviy growth, and replace recurrent buying of fossil fuel with recurrent use of renewables. Banks are against this, because these renewable sources can be owned by you and me, cities, states and countries, not by them. There is no strategy by which banks can promote renewables and retain control over their francise. Renewables kill the banking system as we know it.
You could see this reflex to push the world into debt from this coronacrisis as the ultimate powergrab by the banks. They need to dominate because renewables will make them obsolete. If we allow that to happen we will be toiling under this load for decades using fossil fuels, in increasing heat, without flexbility to make changes. Industry will be set loose to destroy what is left, cut down all trees, poison every well, this is the process we witness and trend facilitated by sock puppet Donald Trump. Weaker EPA restrictions, licens to drill everywhere etc.
We can often wonder what happend to the people of Easter Island, why they disappeared. It may not be that they ran out of resources, but that they frantically tried to compete with each other to use them because they had a currency that gave them the illusion it was valuable. The last fishermen with the last fish sold them for a hefty price. Then all died of famine. This is the economy of banks, and we should learn this lesson, and start cooperating using renewables, not competing using exhaustables.