Tough Economic Times

The Stock Market Crash Of 2016: Stocks Have Already Crashed In 6 Of The World’s 8 Largest Economies

June 17, 2016

Network-Earth-Continents-Public-DomainBy Michael Snyder

Over the past 12 months, stock market investors around the planet have lost trillions of dollars. Since this time last June, stocks have crashed in 6 of the world’s 8 largest economies, and stocks in the other two are down as well. The charts that you are about to see are absolutely stunning, and they are clear evidence that a new global financial crisis has already begun. Of course it is true that we are still in the early chapters of this new crisis and that there is much, much more damage to be done, but let us not minimize the carnage that we have already witnessed.

In general, there have been three major waves of financial panic over the past 12 months. Late last August we saw the biggest financial shaking since the financial crisis of 2008, then in January and February there was an even bigger shaking, and now a third “wave” has begun in June. Not all areas around the globe have been affected equally by each wave, but without a doubt this new financial crisis is a global phenomenon.

The charts that I am about to show you come from Trading Economics. It is an absolutely indispensable website that is packed full of useful data, and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Let’s talk about China first. The Chinese economy is the second largest on the entire planet, and since this time last year Chinese stocks are down an astounding 40 percent…

As things have started to unravel in China, the Chinese have been selling off U.S. debt and U.S. stocks like crazy. The following comes from Bloomberg…

(CHECK OUT LINK FOR CHARTS: http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/the-stock-market-crash-of-2016-largest-economies.html)

For the past year, Chinese selling of Treasuries has vexed investors and served as a gauge of the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

The People’s Bank of China, owner of the world’s biggest foreign-exchange reserves, burnt through 20 percent of its war chest since 2014, dumping about $250 billion of U.S. government debt and using the funds to support the yuan and stem capital outflows.

While China’s sales of Treasuries have slowed, its holdings of U.S. equities are now showing steep declines.

Unfortunately for China, their economy just continues to slow down, and George Soros is so alarmed by this and a potential “Brexit” that he has been selling off stocks and buying enormous amounts of gold in anticipation of an even bigger global downturn.

Japan has the third largest economy in the world, and over the past year Japanese stocks are down a total of 26 percent from the peak…

Personally, I have been extremely alarmed by what has been happening in Japan lately. Japanese stocks were down almost 500 points last night, and overall the Nikkei is down a whopping 1,800 points so far in June.

Of course the Japanese economy as a whole is essentially a basket case at this point. For a detailed analysis of this, please see my previous article entitled “Watch Japan – For All Is Not Well In The Land Of The Rising Sun.”

Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world, and over the past year their stocks have fallen 19 percent from the peak of the market…

(GO TO: http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/the-stock-market-crash-of-2016-largest-economies.html FOR CHART)

The key thing to watch for in Germany are serious troubles at their biggest bank. I wrote a long article about the slow-motion implosion of Deutsche Bank last month, and just this week Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low.

The fifth largest economy on the planet belongs to the United Kingdom, and since last June their stocks have fallen about 13 percent…

(LINK:  http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/the-stock-market-crash-of-2016-largest-economies.html)

One week from today, the “Brexit” vote will be held in the UK, and if they vote to leave the EU that could have very serious economic and financial implications for them and for the rest of Europe as well.

France has the sixth largest economy in the world, and over the past year French stocks are down 20 percent from the peak of the market…

The French economy is really struggling these days, and we have not heard much about it in the U.S. media, but there have been tremendous riots in major cities in France in recent weeks.

The seventh largest economy on our planet belongs to India. Even though India is facing some very serious economic problems, their stocks are doing okay for the moment. Even though stocks in India are down over the past 12 months, we have not seen a major financial crisis over there just yet.

But there is definitely a major crisis in the eighth largest economy in the world. Italian stocks are down a staggering 32 percent from the peak of the market. That means approximately a third of all stock market wealth in Italy is already gone…

(LINK:  http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/the-stock-market-crash-of-2016-largest-economies.html)

Earlier this year, I wrote about the horrifying collapse of the Italian banking system that has greatly accelerated since the start of 2016. It looks like virtually all of their big banks will ultimately need to be bailed out, and this threatens to become a far bigger crisis than the crisis in Greece ever was.

And let us not leave off the ninth largest economy in the world. Not too long ago, CNN ran an article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared.” So not only are they admitting that the ninth largest economy on the globe is collapsing, they are also admitting that it is even worse than what the experts had anticipated.

So did I leave anyone off the list?

Ah yes, I haven’t even addressed what has been going on in the United States yet.

U.S. stocks did crash last August, but then they recovered.

Then they crashed again in January, but then they recovered again.

Now U.S. stocks have been taking another tumble here in June, but we are being assured that there is nothing to worry about.

Meanwhile, the underlying numbers for the U.S. economy just continue to get worse and worse and worse.

Hopefully this article will clear a lot of things up. In this piece, I have presented undeniable evidence that a new global financial crisis has begun over the past 12 months. We have not seen global stock declines of this nature since the great financial crisis of 2008, but much worse is still to come.

I would love to be wrong about that last part.

It would be wonderful if the worst was now behind us and good times for the global financial system were ahead.

Unfortunately, every single indicator that I am watching is telling me just the opposite.

 

from:    http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/the-stock-market-crash-of-2016-largest-economies.html

September Beacons of Light fr/The Group

Beacons of Light
September 2015
Presented Live 08/29/2015

Get On With It
The Great Frustration

Greetings from Home, Dear Ones.

You are magic. Each of you holds a special form of magic, something that you specifically brought from Home. You intended to focus your entire life on bringing it to Earth, and you are starting to re-member that in new ways. This is a magical time on Earth, dear ones, where each of you can start to re-member your true power and step into it even the tiniest bit. Your actions and commitment are what creates your world in front of you, for these are new times. We will share a little bit of what lies before you right now so that you can view it from our perspective. When you do this, dear ones, you fall in love with humanity. There are times when you turn on your television sets and see that the world according to your belief systems is a mess. It appears everyone is going in different directions. Although you cannot see what is truly taking place, we do so we will share that with you. These are amazing times that may also a little bit challenging for many of you. You do not quite understand what is taking place. These changes are happening in many different areas simultaneously, but we will only share with you one that is making a difference in your own reality.

Many Governments Do Not Represent the Collective Heart of Humanity

You have this wonderful thing taking place in the United States called your presidential elections. Oh my goodness, we cannot wait to watch all of this mayhem that you are preparing. This is a massive journey into what we are not quite sure. In the beginning you used these elections to choose the best person for the job. Of course, over many decades it has turned into something entirely different. So, let us take you back quite a few years to when this change started to take place. It was actually during the early 1960s when you had a presidential election between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. This election was actually decided for the simple reason that one was able to present himself better on television than the other. That experience had a huge effect for the first time in the collective. Most of the people you have chosen to run your governments are lawyers. They have a history of all this understanding behind them. Why would it be that one must be a lawyer to run your countries? That would simply indicate that everything must go through the legal system. What has happened, dear ones, is that in many places in the world your governments no longer represent the collective heart of humanity. As we have very simply shared with you before, it is the collective heart of humanity that will run and rule. Now what you are seeing is your governments are trying to scamper to get in front of this. Your presidential elections in the United States are a very simple example of this happening.   All these people are jumping in front of the camera presenting themselves very well and confidently what they are saying does not always make sense. Why are so many people backing and encouraging them? Because they are channeling the frustration. It is very simple. They are the only ones that have even addressed this frustration. There is a gap in the middle of your economic system, where your middle class should be but quite simply is not. Why are your governments not representing you in that way? You have turned this into a capitalistic system and, therefore, the money speaks louder than the collective. That is in the process of changing.

Money Speaking Louder Than the Collective

Exactly how this change takes place we will have to wait and see. It could possibly result be a complete collapse of the system then rebuilding it on solid ground, which in our estimation is not a bad thing at all. We wish you would just get on with it! Or, you can continue to prop things up and pretend everything is okay, and actually make small changes along the way to evolve it in that way. We tell you, dear ones, the earlier method is currently underway but we will have to wait and see where this goes.  What about this frustration and why is it there? Quite simply, you have turned everything—especially in this area—into something based everything on capitalism. Capitalism was the most important piece and you have brought it into your government, In truth, through your systems, those that speak the loudest tend to get elected. Well, you are about to see how loud people can speak. In fact, you will actually end up voting most of the time by turning the channel because it will get pretty crazy over the next year. When you turn the channel, most of the time they actually know it. Yes, your voice can be heard in different ways, dear ones. Right now, it is a circus but it is fun and interesting to watch. Does it represent what is taking place? It represents the frustration that is still not being addressed.

The People’s Frustration

Why is there so much frustration? A person can see very clearly where the frustrations come from. You had an election at one point where your entire collective decided on one person, but another person became president. You can feel that your government does not actually represent you; it has more to do with those who are paid by these companies to be lobbyists. Those are the people that fill these gaps and move your government one way or the other with corporate money. Now you are at a point where you are going to make some important decisions. We are specifically talking about the United States at this time, but as you know all of your energies are connected especially through your economic systems. So, what is good for one is actually good for all countries. The whole world is watching these changes as they are evolving, because everyone will affect another one. We can hardly wait to see where you go with this. We see none of this as bad and it might help you to keep that in mind, because our vision is further than yours. We can see what you build on the other side and that is why we hope you just get on with it and take that next step. Above all we hope that your governments are able to adjust  quickly enough, because currently they are not listening.

Let Your Collective Voice Be Heard

Now you have a fresh energy of new people coming in. The good part about that, at least in the United States, is that your collective voice is being heard right now. That is fascinating, for all of this is bringing attention to something that has vanished. Many people have felt like, “Oh, that is just them. They will go do their thing anyway. They do not need me to participate.” Dear ones, they do need you. You are part of the collective in more ways than you can imagine. To express your voice in that collective is going to be one of the greatest possibilities that you have. You will create your world on a small scale, as well as on a large one where you will interact with the others. It is how you all come together at these magical times. Dare to dream. Dare to bring back your hopes. Look into the future and dare to plant the greatest possibilities for yourself at that moment. Treat yourself well knowing that you are a creature carrying all the energy of what you call god. Each of you can start using those abilities to create your world around you. When you reach that highest level to where you have created something that fully supports you, that is the time you become the highest use to the universe.  are Those times are happening right now.

It Is Time to Get On With It

So, we will ask you, what will it take in your life to get on with it and take that next step? Are you waiting for an election or for some door to magically open? We tell you, dear ones, you have that opportunity now…very clearly. Step into it. Claim it. Step forward. Each of you has brought a part of the blueprints for the New Earth from Home. Now you may call it your internal truth, but it only fits together when you can speak it in such a way that it fits together with the other truths around you. How do you do that? Very simple. Practice. That is all there is. Keep trying and step forward in love, then you will start to fill some of these gaps where this frustration is. How can this frustration about this middle level be solved? Through creativity, and through giving them a voice. Giving them the power to re-create. Of course when we speak of them, many of them are you. Channel it and do so in a very positive way. Look for change, absolutely. There are many shifts and rapid changes that need to take place in your systems in order to transition from one area to the next. We see those about to begin, though not yet beginning. The beautiful part is that the collective vibration is making a noise that cannot be misunderstood on this Earth. People are starting to step forward very carefully, knowing that every movement they make affects others around them. Your own vagus nerve is starting to evolve so you can feel that compassion even more throughout all humans. This is part of the lightbody returning that humans are now experiencing. You can hold more of your own light.  What we ask you to do dear ones, is get on with it. Step forward. Step up. Here it comes. Deal with it the best you can and do not wait for the perfect opportunity, for it is here, now. You have so much that is taking place, yet what you may not understand is that you are in charge of all of it. The collective vibration now decides. That means if you choose to be quiet, you give up your power. It is time to speak, and step forward, to claim your willingness and your wisdom. Not that it is always perfect, but unless it is offered up there is no possibility of reaching harmony.

A Critical Date

Bring it forward. In these times, dear ones, you will be well guided. Sometimes you will open your mouth with a clear intent of your heart to speak something, but you will not quite know where the words are in your head. So you will start to channel from the heart in a new way, which is the opportunity for spirit to speak clearly through you. As you devise and develop this new way of working together in the new planet Earth, we can hardly wait to see what you do next. We tell you specifically that we have given you a date to watch for, the second week in November was to be a critical tilting point. At the time we gave you that date it had to do with the Federal Reserve making a specific move at the end of October. Now, we tell you that has already passed and you have already moved that critical date. Not out of trouble but moving in the right direction. Yes, you had a little dip in the energies in the meantime, showing some of the weaknesses in the global economies in the world and China has a big part of that. Work together with it, dear ones. Send them energy and wish them the best. Know that you are all connected. Stop pointing fingers and calling yourselves separate and claim responsibility for all of it. That is the way of the new Earth, knowing that you are part of every piece of it. Claim your failures as well as your success because that is how you grow and just enjoy playing the game. It is time to get on with it.

It is with the greatest of honor that we ask you to treat each other with respect. Nurture one another at every opportunity. Play the new game well together.

Espavo, dear ones

The group.

The word Espavo is an early Lemurian greeting : “Thank You for Taking Your Power”

– See more at: http://www.lightworker.com/beacons/2015/2015_09-Get_On_With_It.php#sthash.W0ZGQ2t4.dpuf

On the BRICS Alliance

Meet the BRICS “New Development Bank”

Meet the BRICS’ “New Development Bank”1st February 2015

By James Corbett

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Last week we attempted to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the World Bank and the IMF, how the two are differentiated, and what the World Bank actually does. (see: So What Does The World Bank Do Exactly?)

As you’ll recall, Bretton Woods architect John Maynard Keynes admitted that the confusion over these two bodies was embedded in their names; the World Bank should rightly be referred to as a fund (for development projects) and the International Monetary Fund as a bank (to help countries cover balance of payment deficits and ensure financial stability). The World Bank itself is a body that ostensibly provides long-term low interest or no interest loans secured on the global bond market to fund sectoral reforms and infrastructure development projects in some of the poorest countries in the world.

As we saw last week, however, the Bank is used as a weapon by the economic hitmen identified by John Perkins and others, directing infrastructure development funds to crony corporations and forcing countries into debt obligations that they will be unable to meet. These impossible debt obligations are then used to give the Bank leverage over the developing world economically and geopolitically.

What’s more, both the IMF and the World Bank have historically been controlled by the US and Europe, and clamors for reform in governance from the developing countries have fallen on deaf ears.

It is in the context of this IMF/World Bank stranglehold over the global financial architecture that we have to understand the stunning development that took place at the 6th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil last month: the creation of a New Development Bank (NDB) to compete with the World Bank in providing funds for infrastructure development to developing nations and the creation of a Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) to compete with the IMF in providing liquidity protection to countries with balance of payment difficulties.

The development was by no means surprising: the idea for a BRICS development bank has been bandied about for years now and was written about in the pages of this newsletter extensively last year. Nor does it represent (at least at this point) a fundamental challenge to the World Bank or IMF’s dominance; neither the NDB’s $50 billion USD in subscribed capital nor the CRA’s $100 billion liquidity pool come close to the World Bank’s $232.8 billion in subscribed capital or the IMF’s $755 billion in liquidity ($1.4 trillion if you include emergency funds). Neither do they have the infrastructure yet in place to coordinate and deploy these funds, nor a track record of working with the world’s poorest countries to ensure that funds reach their intended targets and not the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt politicians and middlemen.

Still, there is something of a revolutionary feel to the obligatory pictures of the smiling BRICS leaders coming out of this year’s summit. This year the smiles do not seem quite as forced. Perhaps they even seem a little self-assured. It may be a baby step, but after all it is a step toward a world where the poorest countries do not have to turn cap in hand to the IMF or World Bank for financial aid.

Meet the BRICS ''New Development Bank'' - BRICS leaders 2014But what are the implications of this for the developing countries themselves and the prospect of genuine development? What does this development say about the BRICS and their growing ambition on the world geopolitical stage? And where does this fit into the age-old banker quest for global government? To answer these questions, we must first examine the institutions in question.

The Basics

Under the terms of the Agreement signed by the BRICS leaders at Fortaleza, the New Development Bank’s mandate is to “mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.” To accomplish this goal they will “support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.” The initial subscribed capital of $50 billion will come from initial payments of $10 billion from each of the five BRICS members. Total authorized capital of the Bank will be $100 billion. Membership of the bank will be open to all members of the United Nations and each members’ voting power will be equal to its subscribed shares in the Bank’s capital stock. The Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai and its governance will consist of a Board of Governors, a Board of Directors and a President.

The Contingent Reserve Arrangement, meanwhile, “is a framework for the provision of support through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.” Its initial $100 billion in committed resources will come in tranches: 41% from China, 18% each from Russia, India and Brazil, and 5% from South Africa. Governance of the CRA will consist of a Governing Council including one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each of the five parties and a Standing Committee consisting of one Director and one Alternate Director appointed by each party. The Arrangement’s two main instruments will be a liquidity instrument for providing funds in response to balance of payment problems and a precautionary instrument for permitting access to funds ahead of anticipated balance of payment problems.

A Global Power Struggle?

So what does this all mean? Is this the first salvo in the long-expected economic war between the developed world and the developing world? Does the creation of the NDB and the CRA mark the rise of the BRICS as a force on the world stage? Does it threaten the existing IMF/World Bank empire?

Meet the BRICS ''New Development Bank'' - World Bank President Jim Young Kim and Indian Prime Minister ModiThe agreements for both the NDB and the CRA take pains to point out that they are meant as a “complement [to] existing international monetary and financial arrangements” rather than as competition to them. And the World Bank has formally welcomed the announcement of the NDB, with World Bank President Jim Young Kim telling reporters at a recent press conference with Indian Prime Minister Modi “The only competition we have is with poverty” and “Any bank or any group of institutions that try to tackle the problem of infrastructure investment to fight poverty, we welcome.”

But behind the polite words and ‘we’re all working toward the same goal’ rhetoric is the cold fact that the developing world has been increasingly vocal about their interest in World Bank reform in recent years and specific complaints from the BRICS nations themselves over the strings that are inevitably attached to World Bank lending. It is also perhaps significant that all of the BRICS nations except China will be paying more into their capitalization of the NDB than they do to the World Bank.

Although much talk has been made about how the BRICS are attempting to subvert the dollar’s hegemony as the world reserve currency, that is not the case with these institutions, at least not at this point. All of the capitalization payments and fund commitments in the agreements for the NDB and CRA are explicitly denominated in ” the official currency of payment of the United States of America.”

The main competition that many are expecting from the NDB as opposed to the World Bank is that there are expected to be far fewer (if any) conditionalities attached to NDB lending. As we saw last week the Structural Adjustment Programs of the IMF and World Bank require a whole series of political and economic reforms dictated by Washington and its cronies before developing countries can qualify for development funds. Now members of globalist institutions like Matt Ferchen of the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy are openly fretting about the possibility that NDB funding will undermine this structure: “China has this rhetoric in terms of its foreign policy and especially as it relates to China’s engagement with other developing countries, that China won’t interfere in other countries’ domestic politics, that China respects the domestic, economic and political systems of other countries, in a way that they want to be seen as different from the World Bank, the IMF, or countries like the United States.”

For those who understand that the IMF/World Bank system is and has been used to subjugate debtor nations and impose the will of the Western powers on those countries, this seems like a potentially transformative moment. Could it be that the BRICS nations are creating a global institution that will truly undermine the Washington consensus stranglehold over the global south? Are the BRICS creating a global institution we can get behind? Should we be happy about this potential NDB/CRA revolution?

‘Good’ Globalization vs. ‘Bad’ Globalization

Meet the BRICS ''New Development Bank'' - Globalization - Currency ChessLike with so many other situations, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that the only alternatives that are being presented to us are the only alternatives that are possible. In this case, it seems that we are being presented with the choice between supporting a development paradigm led by the ‘bad’ globalists of the IMF/World Bank crowd that seek to control other countries through financing and the ‘good’ globalists who are selflessly looking to spur development for the good of humanity. This is just such a false choice.

First, the underlying assumption that the BRICS countries are doing what they’re doing out of some selfless love of humanity needs to be confronted head on. The BRICS countries in general, and China in particular (which is the strongest proponent of the anti-interventionist stance), have much to gain by offering no strings development loans. This was made clear by Gaddafi when he made the argument that China would beat out the US for control over Africa because it’s non-interventionist foreign policy was better at winning Africans hearts and minds. China is interested in securing African resources. It cannot challenge the US directly at its leverage-and-threats approach to gaining control of those resources, so it plays the good cop in the good cop / bad cop game. This allows it to create deep (and lucrative) ties with precisely those nations, such as Sudan, that the US is most interested in ‘reforming.’ It may be a mutually beneficial relationship, but let’s not kid ourselves that China is interested in building up Sudanese infrastructure out of sheer goodwill. Did China finance the construction of a $1.3 billion railway from Khartoum to Port Sudan because they care about Africans or because they care about establishing the infrastructure to service their 2 million ton oil terminal in the port?

Secondly, the idea that the BRICS are creating a ‘good’ globalist institution rests on the further assumption that, even if the current batch of BRICS leaders are benevolent and altruistic, that the next batch (or the one after that…) will be as well. The World Bank, too, started out as a humble institution making very limited loans for very specific projects. It wasn’t until Robert McNamara took the reins of the Bank in 1968 that it started to take on the characteristics that we recognize today. Similarly who is to say that the BRICS leaders (or their successors) won’t allow the potential power of being a global financing body go to their heads? Why should we trust that any sprawling globalist institution will act always and forever in the interests of the greater good?

No, the ‘good’ globalization / ‘bad’ globalization here seems like a ruse to further globalization. Whether the world comes to accept a greater reliance on and submission of sovereignty to globalist institutions led by the West or institutions led by the BRICS countries does not seem to be a genuine choice.

So what are the alternatives? Surely it is important to build up the infrastructure of the developing countries, isn’t it? Surely this can’t be accomplished without the massive resources of a World Bank or a New Development Bank, can it?

Meet the BRICS ''New Development Bank'' - The Great EscapeIt should first of all be noted that the urge to assume that developing nations cannot possibly find solutions to their own infrastructure and development problems without the aid of the rich global power players is not only paternalistic and patronizing, but contra-indicated by the evidence at hand. What, precisely, has the last 50 years of World Bank/IMF intervention and “aid” to the developing world achieved, exactly? Is Argentina in a better position than it was before IMF intervention, or a worse one? Has sub-Saharan Africa improved its political and economic clout on the world stage as a result of its World Bank financing, or become even more subservient to the countries that have provided it those loans? Are the success stories of economies that have risen out of poverty like South Korea because of or despite IMF/World Bank meddling? The answers to these questions, all easily enough documentable, speak for themselves.

Also, it shows a profound lack of imagination to believe that funding can only come through mega-grants delivered by bodies with hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal. In recent decades the concept of microcredit has transformed our understanding of what is possible in terms of funding business and enterprise in the developing world, and it is currently challenging assumptions that infrastructure like affordable housing and sanitation systems can only be provided by the “grant aid lottery” of the World Bank (or NDB). Local communities know best what local needs are and how local manpower, resources and services can be organized to meet those needs. Granting bodies in Washington or Shanghai cannot possibly be expected to have that type of knowledge, or expect that throwing dollars at these problems will achieve the same results as providing small-scale, goal driven aid for specific local projects created and run by local community organizations.

It is not a question of ‘good’ global banks vs. ‘bad’ global banks. It is global banks versus the people, as it always has been, and when we understand the situation from that perspective the sheen comes off of the ballyhoo surrounding the New Development Bank.

Whither the NDB?

Before anyone gets too carried away with speculation about the NDB and the CRA and their likely role on the world stage, it would be good to conduct a brief reality check. There was another announcement of another alternative development bank just a few short years ago that received a similar amount of coverage and hoopla at the time that turned out to be all talk and no action. Remember the Bank of the South? Neither do most of the people who wrote about it at the time, and yet it seemed like a major development when it occurred.

That the BRICS are serious about following through with the NDB and the CRA is not in doubt, but that they can keep these organizations together and working toward a unified vision is very much doubtful at this moment. Internal divisions within the BRICS delayed the creation of the bank for years and even now tensions continue between the members. Brazil and China, for example, remain locked in disputes over China’s economic relation to the South American country; Brazil accuses the rising dragon of plundering their resources and dumping cheap manufactured goods on the country in return. China and India have also butted heads over control of the NDB’s policies and vision, and there is ongoing concern about whether South Africa will be able to live up to its financial obligations in these institutions.

All of this being said, the bank is hoping to make its first loan in 2016. When that happens, there will be no doubt that we will be living in a different world. The question is whether it will be a better one.

 

About the author:

James Corbett is editor, webmaster, writer, producer, host, and the inspiration behind The Corbett Report, an independent, listener-supported alternative news source. The Corbett Report operates on the principle of open source intelligence and provides podcasts, interviews, articles and videos about breaking news and important issues, from 9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.

James has been living and working in Japan since 2004. He started The Corbett Report website in 2007 as an outlet for independent critical analysis of politics, society, history, and economics. Since then he has written, recorded and edited over 1000 hours of audio and video media for the website, including a weekly weekly podcast and several regular online video series. Corbett also produces video reports for GRTV, the video production arm of the Centre for Research on Globalization, and BoilingFrogsPost.com, the website of noted FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. He is also an editorial writer for The International Forecaster, the weekly e-newsletter created by the late Bob Chapman.

For more information about Corbett and his background, please listen to Episode 163 of The Corbett Report podcast, Meet James Corbett. This article originally appeared in The Corbett Report Subscriber newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter and become a member of The Corbett Report website, please sign up for a monthly or annual membership here.

from:    http://wakeup-world.com/2015/02/01/meet-the-brics-new-development-bank/

 

 

Math, Power, & the Language of the Universe

Math: Your Secret Weapon Against Wall Street and the NSA

Edward Frenkel wants you to understand mathematics so economists, bankers, corporations, and intelligence agencies can’t manipulate you anymore.

—By and

| Fri Feb. 28, 2014
Edward Frenkel. Elizabeth Lippman

As Edward Frenkel sees it, the way we teach math in schools today is about as exciting as watching paint dry. So it’s not surprising that when he brings up the fact that he’s a mathematician at dinner parties, eyes quickly glaze over. “Most people, unfortunately, have a very bad experience with mathematics,” Frenkel says. And no wonder: The math we learn in school is as far from what Frenkel believes is the soul of mathematics as a painted fence is from “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh, Frenkel’s favorite painter.

The Russian born University of California-Berkeley mathematician, whose day job involves probing the connections between math and quantum physics, wants to change that. Rather than alienating drudgery, Frenkel views math as an “archipelago of knowledge” that’s universally available to all of us, and he’s been everywhere of late spreading the word. In particular, Frenkel is intent on warning us about how people are constantly using (or misusing) math to get our personal data, to hack our emails, to game our stock markets. “The powers that be sort of exploit our ignorance, and manipulate us more when we are less aware of mathematics,” said Frenkel on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. If you hated math in high school, maybe that will catch your attention.

Frenkel’s paean to math begins with an emphasis on its unifying nature. To him, math—not religion—is the one shared body of firm, unchanging knowledge that we all possess and that nobody can ever take away from us. “You meet someone, you don’t know where they come from, what language they speak, what is their background,” he says. “But you already know that there is so much you have in common, because all the mathematical ideas that have ever been discovered, we all share them.” If you met an alien intelligence, the same would be true. Math never changes. It sometimes has discoverers, but never authors or owners. “It’s a great equalizer,” Frenkel says.

The implications of math’s universality, incidentally, are downright spooky. Take this New York Times essay by Frenkel, contemplating whether the fact that math works so perfectly and without fail suggests we might be living in a Matrix-like simulation. For a while, it was the most viewed article on the paper’s website. The question of why math works to describe the universe, even as we also just happen to have brains that can understand it, is a pretty momentous one. Or as Galileo put it:

Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one wanders about in a dark labyrinth.

Such contemplations have driven more than one scientist to God. But then, hey, it could just be Agent Smith.

Deep philosophical dives aren’t Frenkel’s only approach to math popularization: His leading approach is egalitarian. Liberal. He argues that today, and often to our peril, we leave the tough math to experts—whether they are working on quantum physics, stock market trajectories, or encryption systems that are supposed to protect our data.

But our mathematical illiteracy can have disastrous consequences. Case in point: Frenkel blames the global economic crisis of 2008-09 on inadequate mathematical models used by bankers and traders to predict the financial markets. “We should all have access to the mathematical knowledge and tools needed to protect us from arbitrary decisions made by the powerful few in an increasingly math-driven world,” writes Frenkel in his book, Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality. “Where there is no mathematics, there is no freedom.”

Or take another example: Last year in Slate, Frenkel explained how the NSA manipulated math in order to install secret “backdoors” in the encryption systems that are supposed to protect our data. That’s what allows the agency to hack into our emails and personal information. The math is very high level, involving a field called “elliptic curve cryptography,” but in this highly watched YouTube video Frenkel explains it pretty simply:

Or take yet another example of people using math to take advantage of us. Frenkel has also explored how attempted changes to the formula for calculating the consumer price index, or CPI—a measure of inflation that is crucial to any number of economic policies and decisions—in effect represent a stealth way to raise our taxes and cut Social Security benefits. But we just shrug because it’s math, says Frenkel. “I’m not even going to try to understand what this formula is,” he says, summing up the typical thought process. “If they’re telling me it should be replaced, it should be replaced.”

In other words, you might call it the politically progressive, look-out-for-the-little-guy case for math literacy. “Mathematics equals rigor plus intellectual integrity times reliance on facts,” adds Frenkel in his book.

Certainly, Frenkel makes a strong case that going through the world in a math-illiterate state is equivalent to having your defenses down. You won’t understand the algorithms that Facebook, Amazon, and Google are using to populate your screen with stuff they want you to buy. You won’t know how safe you are on the internet. And you won’t see the next big economic shenanigan coming until it’s too late.

But the question is, is such understanding really possible or plausible for most people? Most of us think that in order to truly appreciate the mysterious beauty of mathematics, we need to study it intensely for a long period of time. Not so, insists Frenkel. While most of us learn the basics of biology in school and have at least a rudimentary understanding of fundamental concepts like genetics and evolution, we generally don’t even know what the fundamental concepts of high-level mathematics are. But Frenkel insists that we need not suffer through years of math study to grasp the key mathematical ideas. Rather, we can learn “a few chords,” he says, just as we can on the guitar.

So here comes one of those chords: Frenkel thinks that rather than learning something ancient and dry like Euclidean geometry, we should all understand the principle of symmetry. It’s a very simple idea, but also a concept that is “incredibly powerful,” says Frenkel, and one that is relevant across geometry, algebra, and other aspects of math. An object is symmetrical insofar as it is the same no matter what you do to it; it is invariant despite transformations. Like a round glass: “If I turn away, and you rotate it, and I look back, I will not know the difference,” says Frenkel.

Symmetry may seem like a simple idea. But the mathematics of symmetry quickly grow elaborate, and thinking about symmetry actually played an important role in the discovery of quarks, the elementary particles that comprise protons and neutrons.

Certainly, symmetry is not the kind of thing that you learned in your boring high school math classes; and for Frenkel, that’s the problem. “What most people talk about when they say the word ‘math’ is not really math—it is painting fences,” says Frenkel. Not only is that a tragedy, it’s a disadvantage.

And that’s why you should care about math. Forget the idea that it’s alienating and hard. According to Frenkel, life is hard without it.

To listen to the full podcast interview with Edward Frenkel, you can stream below:

(Check out link for podcast)

This episode of Inquiring Minds, a podcast hosted by neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas and best-selling author Chris Mooney, also features a discussion about whether offshore wind farms can protect our coasts from hurricanes, and new insights on the possible physical location of memory within the brain.

from:    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/inquiring-minds-edward-frenkel-math-doesnt-suck

Economic Stress Indicators

20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and China?  If you are like most Americans, you have not been.  Most Americans don’t seem to really care too much about what is happening in the rest of the world, but they should.

In major cities all over the globe right now, there is looting, violence, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks. We are not at a “global crisis” stage yet, but things are getting worse with each passing day. For a while, I have felt that 2014 would turn out to be a major “turning point” for the global economy, and so far that is exactly what it is turning out to be.  The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown…

1 The looting, violence and economic chaos that is happening in Argentina right now is a perfect example of what can happen when you print too much money

For Dominga Kanaza, it wasn’t just the soaring inflation or the weeklong blackouts or even the looting that frayed her nerves.

It was all of them combined.

At one point last month, the 37-year-old shop owner refused to open the metal shutters protecting her corner grocery in downtown Buenos Aires more than a few inches — just enough to sell soda to passersby on a sweltering summer day.

#2 The value of the Argentine Peso is absolutely collapsing.

#3 Widespread shortages, looting and accelerating inflation are also causing huge problems in Venezuela

Economic mismanagement in Venezuela has reached such a level that it risks inciting a violent popular reaction. Venezuela is experiencing declining export revenues, accelerating inflation and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods. At the same time, the Maduro administration has foreclosed peaceful options for Venezuelans to bring about a change in its current policies.

President Maduro, who came to power in a highly-contested election last April, has reacted to the economic crisis with interventionist and increasingly authoritarian measures. His recent orders to slash prices of goods sold in private businesses resulted in episodes of looting, which suggests a latent potential for violence. He has put the armed forces on the street to enforce his economic decrees, exposing them to popular discontent.

#4 In a stunning decision, the Venezuelan government has just announced that it has devalued the Bolivar by more than 40 percent.

#5 Brazilian stocks declined sharply on Thursday. There is a tremendous amount of concern that the economic meltdown that is happening in Argentina is going to spill over into Brazil.

#6 Ukraine is rapidly coming apart at the seams

A tense ceasefire was announced in Kiev on the fifth day of violence, with radical protesters and riot police holding their position. Opposition leaders are negotiating with the government, but doubts remain that they will be able to stop the rioters.

#7 It appears that a bank run has begun in China

As China’s CNR reports, depositors in some of Yancheng City’s largest farmers’ co-operative mutual fund societies (“banks”) have been unable to withdraw “hundreds of millions” in deposits in the last few weeks. “Everyone wants to borrow and no one wants to save,” warned one ‘salesperson’, “and loan repayments are difficult to recover.” There is “no money” and the doors are locked.

#8 Art Cashin of UBS is warning that credit markets in China “may be broken“.  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next?

#9 News that China’s manufacturing sector is contracting shook up financial markets on Thursday…

Wall Street was rattled by a key reading on China’s manufacturing which dropped below the key 50 level in January, according to HSBC. A reading below 50 on the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI suggests economic contraction.

#10 Japanese stocks experienced their biggest drop in 7 months on Thursday.

#11 The value of the Turkish Lira is absolutely collapsing.

#12 The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16-year high.

#13 In Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.

#14 The unemployment rate in Spain is sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.

#15 This year, the Baltic Dry Index experienced the largest two-week, post-holiday decline that we have ever seen.

#16 Chipmaker Intel recently announced that it plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs over the coming year.

#17 CNBC is reporting that U.S. retailers just experienced “since 2008″>the worst holiday season since 2008”.

#18 A recent CNBC article stated that U.S. consumers should expect a “tsunami” of store closings in the retail industry…

Get ready for the next era in retail—one that will be characterized by far fewer shops and smaller stores.

On Tuesday, Sears said that it will shutter its flagship store in downtown Chicago in April. It’s the latest of about 300 store closures in the U.S. that Sears has made since 2010. The news follows announcements earlier this month of multiple store closings from major department stores J.C. Penney and Macy’s.

Further signs of cuts in the industry came Wednesday, when Target said that it will eliminate 475 jobs worldwide, including some at its Minnesota headquarters, and not fill 700 empty positions.

#19 The U.S. Congress is facing another deadline to raise the debt ceiling in February.

#20 The Dow fell by more than 170 points on Thursday.  It is becoming increasingly likely that “the peak of the market” is now in the rear view mirror.

And I have not even mentioned the extreme drought that has caused the U.S. cattle herd to drop to a 61-year low or the nuclear radiation from Fukushima that is washing up on the west coast.

In light of everything above, is there anyone out there that still wants to claim that “everything is going to be okay” for the global economy?

Sadly, most Americans are not even aware of most of these things.

All over the country today, the number one news headline is about Justin Bieber.  The mainstream media is absolutely obsessed with celebrity scandals, and so is a very large percentage of the U.S. population.

A great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and most people don’t even seem to notice the storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon.

In the end, perhaps we will get what we deserve as a nation.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog.

from:    http://www.activistpost.com/2014/01/20-early-warning-signs-that-we-are.html

Economics, Earth, & Personal Truth

Sacred Earth, a New Economy and the 21st Century University

 

By David C. Korten  [PDF format]

University of BritishColombia

April 4, 2013,

New Economy Summit

I’m thrilled to be a part of this student initiated, student led gathering and of the larger movement you are spearheading. I had all but given up hope that our universities might become relevant to the extreme challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. I had not considered the possibility that students might provide the leadership needed to drive the transformation of higher education.

You are society’s canaries in the mineshaft and you are organizing to sound the alarm and demand change. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You offer hope for the human future.It makes perfect sense. No one is more aware of the failure of our institutions of higher learning than you, their students, are. They send you out into a failing 21st century world with a 20th century education that prepares to serve corrupted institutions we must now put behind us burdened with student debts that may keep you in bondage to the old system for the rest of your lives. You have good reason to rebel.

Institutional Failure

To get us all on the same page, let me begin with a quick overview of state of our 21st century world. You might think of it as a list of issues our universities are failing to address.

1.      We face a global economic crisis created by an unstable financial system that favors speculation over real investment, drives continuing cycles of boom and bust, mires people and governments in debts they cannot pay, and holds national governments hostage to the interests of global financiers.

2.      We face a global social crisis of extreme and growing inequality. The enormous disparities feed violence by undermining institutional legitimacy, human health, and the social fabric of families and communities.

3.      We face a global environmental crisis of climate chaos, loss of fertile soil, shortages of clean freshwater, disappearing forests, and collapsing fisheries. This crisis is reducing Earth’s capacity to support life and creating large-scale human displacement and hardship that further fuel social breakdown.

4.      We face a governance crisis in the seeming incapacity of any of our major institutions, including universities, to come to terms with and address the three afore mentioned economic, social, and environmental crises.

Life and Earth are sacred….Money is just a number.

These four crises are interlinked, self-imposed, potentially terminal, and a direct consequence of institutional structures that value money more than life and that allocate power to those least likely to use it in service to the common good. We the people, allow this travesty to play out because we live in a cultural trance induced by stories that lead us to accept beliefs and values at odds with reality—a condition for which our academic and media institutions bear a major responsibility.

This was the opening keynote presentation to the New Economy Summit at the University of British Colombia, Vancouver BC, April 4-6, 2013—one of 14 such university summits organized by students at major U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities as part of a Campus Network initiative of the New Economics Institute. A PDF version is available here.

Your student movement is part of a larger human awakening to the foundational reality that we humans are living beings that survive and thrive only as members of a Sacred Earth community of life. Life and Earth are sacred—meaning they are entitled to reverence and respect. Money is just a number.

We must build from the bottom up the institutions of a new system that aligns with this reality. If that sounds like a serious challenge, you hear correctly.

We will not get out of our current mess by tinkering at the margins of a failed system to make it slightly less destructive.

A Personal Wakeup Call

I devoted some thirty years of my professional life to international development, including twenty-one years living and working in Africa, Latin America, and Asia on a mission to end world poverty. I originally assumed that the work of international development was to support the people of impoverished countries in learning to use their talents and natural wealth more efficiently and effectively to meet their needs and achieve healthy happy lives. Over time, I realized that what was really happening was very different.

As GDP grew, life for the majority became less secure and more desperate.

Yes, I witnessed growth in GDP, expansion of the middle class, and the accumulation of huge fortunes by a fortunate few.

I also, however, observed that as GDP grew, life for the majority became less secure and more desperate. Slums spread. Families and communities disintegrated. Once beautiful cultures, survived mainly as tourist attractions. Rivers died. Once vibrant coastal corals and verdant hillsides became barren wastelands.

Eventually, I realized that in the name of helping the poor, rich countries were loaning poor countries foreign currency to invest in growing their economies. Because foreign currency is only good for buying things from abroad, this created dependence on foreign goods and technology purchased with loans that could be repaid only by selling their national labor and assets to foreigners.

When payment came due, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank stepped in like mafia debt collectors with baseball bats ready to break legs.

Separated from nature, we of modern society have lost our sense of what is truly sacred.

They told indebted countries they must restructure their economies, not to better meet the needs of their own people, but rather to repay the debt. Reduce your spending on health and education, they said. Sell your land and natural resources to private foreign corporations. Set up duty free zones with cheap nonunionized labor with no rights or benefits to produce goods for export to foreign consumers.

Debt, dependence, and deprivation for the many. Outsized profits for the few.

You may recognize a familiar pattern, something of a preview of the dynamic that now plays out in varied forms here in Canada, the United States, in Europe, and all around the world.

In Search of the Sacred

Why do we tolerate it? We humans crave meaning and purpose. This leads us to place great stock in shared cultural stories that lend purpose, meaning and direction to our lives and relationships. Political demagogues have long recognized that those who control these stories control the society. During the 20th century, corporate PR and advertising specialists became masters of the arts of cultural manipulation to create an individualistic culture of profligate material consumption that serves well the short-term interests of the financial oligarchy, but now threatens the survival of all.

Of our many influential cultural stories, the most important are those that define what we hold to be sacred [entitled to reverence or respect]. When we get the sacred wrong, we entangle ourselves in a collective web of self-destructive, even suicidal, self-deception—as our current situation demonstrates.

Separated from nature, we of modern society have lost our sense of what is truly sacred. Losing sight of the truly sacred, we fill the breach with a familiar story constantly affirmed in the public mind by pundits and economists schooled in what Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has called a faith-based religion. Call it our Sacred Money story.

Time is money. Money is wealth. Those who make money are society’s wealth creators. Poverty is a sign of personal failure. Consumption is the path to happiness. Individualistic greed and competition are human virtues that the invisible hand of the free market directs to ends that create opportunity and prosperity for all. Those who would deprive society’s wealth creators of the fruits of their labor engage in envy—a mortal sin. Maximizing financial gain is a moral and legal duty of business—indeed of each individual. Earth is a rock in space useful as source of free resources and a convenient waste dump.

False on every point, [the Sacred Money story] perverts our sense of values and leads to the concentration of decision-making power in the hands of a financial oligarchy.

Over the past few decades this has become the story by which we define the purpose, meaning, and direction of society and of our individual lives and relationships. In its thrall, we embrace money as a sacred object of veneration and the measure of our human worth and accomplishment, banks as our temples, consumption as our solace, economists as our moral authorities, and free [unregulated] markets as a superhuman controlling power that rewards the faithful and torments the unfaithful.

The Sacred Money story frames the moral and intellectual foundation of a Sacred Money economics, otherwise known as neoliberal or market fundamentalist economics. This is the economics taught as an objective values free science to business and economics students in virtually all the world’s colleges and universities.

False on every point, it perverts our sense of values and leads to the concentration of decision-making power in the hands of a financial oligarchy. It is neither a true science nor a true religion. It is an immoral, anti-democratic political ideology at odds both with the moral teachings of all the world’s great religions and the findings of contemporary science.

The immoral and intellectually false premises of the Sacred Money story sets us up to measure economic performance by financial metrics like GDP and stock price indices like the Dow Jones Average.

GDP is in substantial measure an indicator of the rate at which we are monetizing relationships previously based on mutual caring. This process destroys the natural bonds of family and community, while increasing our dependence on obtaining money controlled by global finance to purchase goods and services offered for sale by global corporations that serve global finance.

With a similar bias in favor of financial interests, stock price indices are primarily an indicator of the rate at which the inflation of financial assets is increasing the power of those who own financial assets relative to the power of those who do not.

Contrast the Sacred Money story of Sacred Money economics with this very different and more truthful Sacred Earth story. Imagine how different our world would be if this were the foundational story underlying the design and management of our economic institutions.

Time is life. Life is the most precious of the many forms of wealth. As living beings, we survive and prosper only as contributing members of a living Earth Community evolving toward ever-greater beauty, complexity, self-awareness, and possibility. Making time for life—to experience and serve—is the path to happiness and well-being. Equality, community, and connection to nature are essential foundations of human health and happiness. It is our human nature to care and to share. Earth is our sacred mother. As she loves and nurtures us, we must love and care for her. The institutions of business, government, and civil society exist for only one purpose—to serve as vehicles through which we cultivate and express our true nature and create our means of living in service to the Earth Community to which we all belong.

Fortunately, new communications technologies that connect nearly all  the world’s peoples make it possible for the first time in our history to rethink and choose as a species the stories by which we will live together in a shrinking and interdependent world—and to do so with extraordinary speed. It is thus within our means to change the human course as a conscious collective human choice.

To succeed, however, we need a shared sacred story of the origin, nature, and purpose of creation—a cosmology—that reflects the fullness of our current human knowledge, gives us a reason to live, and provides the frame for a new economy that supports healthy, life-serving relationships with one another and a living Earth.

A Reason to Live

In 1992, my wife Fran and I returned to the United States from Asia and settled in New York City. While writing When Corporations Rule the World, I frequently gave talks pointing out that we humans are on a path of our own creation to potential species extinction, I often got a response something like:

“Yes, it may be true we are on a suicidal course, but changing our ways would be expensive and inconvenient. And if the doomsayers turn out to be wrong, we will have ended the party for nothing.”

I was stunned and dismayed. Then I chanced upon Thomas Berry’s book Dream of the Earth in which he observes:

“For people generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation.”

Bingo: To care about our common future, we need a story of the origin, nature, and purpose of creation that reflects the fullness of our current human knowledge, gives us a reason to live, and serves as our guide to forming healthy, mature relationships with one another and a living Earth.

Three Defining Creation Stories

Three story candidates have established currency in Western culture: the Distant Patriarch, the Grand Machine, and the Integral Spirit. The first two are instantly familiar, but inadequate to the needs of our time. Only the third serves the needs of our time, but lacks a defined public presence and institutional sponsorship. Here is a quick review.

Distant Patriarch

The Distant Patriarch story is most commonly associated with the institutions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It views creation as the work of an all-knowing, all-powerful God who, from his home in a separate, sacred dimension called Heaven observes and judges our obedience to His commandments as handed down to us through sacred texts and interpreted by His anointed religious authorities. This story focuses our attention on our individual relationships with a personal but distant God and on access to the afterlife as our primary purpose in our present life.

Because all that happens in this life is by God’s will, it logically follows that those who possess great wealth and power in our present life are His favored and thereby poses divine authority. The economy is a vehicle for producing our sustenance until death releases us from the burden of Earthly labor.

I once heard a woman on a radio call in show say that she thinks of her life on Earth as nothing more than a short stay over in a cheap hotel on the way to Heaven. That is her story. No way can we expect her to accept responsibility for the upkeep of the cheap hotel or concern herself with the plight of its less fortunate residents.

Grand Machine

The Grand Machine is standard story of Newtonian physics and classical evolutionary biology commonly associated with science and the secular academy.

By the reckoning of this story, we live in a clock works universe in which only the material is real. Life is merely an accidental outcome of material complexity and has no meaning. Only the material is real. Consciousness and free will, or agency, are illusions.

Our fate thus depends on forces beyond our ability to influence or control in reality without meaning, purpose, or moral foundation.

Life evolves through a brutal competition for survival, territory, and reproductive advantage much as the global corporations we depend on as the drivers of economic progress. Earth is only a pool of cheap resources and a place to dispose our wastes.

In a desperate search for meaning, or at least a distraction from terrible loneliness of a life without meaning in an uncaring universe, we turn to the pursuit of money and material indulgence as our source of solace and sacred purpose. We assess the economy’s performance accordingly. Having a bad day? Go shopping.

For more than six centuries, science and religion have engaged in mortal combat for recognition as the primary story keeper of Western civilization. Yet each contributes to the intellectual and moral foundation of the suicidal Sacred Money economy that drives our self-destruction.

Integral Spirit

To the extent that we accept our human responsibility to and for the well-being and continued creative unfolding of the whole, our lives take on profound meaning and purpose.

The Integral Spirit story has ancient roots and is affirmed by our inner awareness, indigenous wisdom, the teachings of the prophets, the findings of science, and our daily experience. It is the story that I believe resides in some form in the heart of every person, even though it lacks institutional support and public visibility. If this assessment is correct, we need only provide a source of public affirmation to bring it to the fore of public consciousness as a shared story of humanity.

By the reckoning of this story, all of creation is the expression of an integral spiritual intelligence engaged in a sacred journey to discover and actual­ize its possibilities through an ongoing process of be­coming. In this story of God as spirit rather than patriarch, the material universe of our experience are more than God’s creation—it is God made flesh. God is in the world and the world is in God, yet they are not identical.

We come to know the nature, purpose, and intention of this divine force through both our inner experi­ence and our observation of its physical manifesta­tion. All beings, stars, planets, humans, animals, plants, rocks, and rivers are expressions of this di­vine force—each with its place and function in the journey of the whole. Through its lens, we view the beauty and vastness of a self-organizing constantly evolving cosmos with a sense of awe, wonder, and profound meaning.The spirit is both imminent and transcendent; a concept referred to by reli­gious scholars as panentheism.

Far from being alone in an uncaring cosmos, we are all deeply and irrevocably interconnected. To the extent that we accept our human responsibility to and for the well-being and continued creative unfolding of the whole, our lives take on profound meaning and purpose.

Our obligation to love and care for our Earth mother as she loves and cares for us, becomes self-evident. We come to recognize our species as creation’s bold experiment in the capacity of a species with a highly advanced capacity for self-aware consciousness and choice to contribute to the creative journey of the whole.

to read more, go to the source:    http://livingeconomiesforum.org/sacredearthUBC

J.T. Phillips on the Top 10 Spiritual Counterculture Books

Top 10 Books of the New Edge

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 (This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post).

With the rapid rise of the new spiritual counterculture, a generation of young avant-garde writers are making conscious magazine headlines and electrifying the festival-speakers’ circuit. Featuring a brutally honest look at the shadow aspects of the Self, and society at large, these books — while often focused on healing — are not fluffy New Age “Celestine Prophecy” reads nor “The 7 Laws of Spiritual Materialism.” They are harder to define, hosting a multidimensional mix of spiritual awakening, new media activism, visionary art, punk attitude, permaculture principles, Burning Man aesthetic and Occupy ideologies.

As if exploring some quantum physics conundrum, they fuse the world of observer and observed, where the researcher flies third-eye-first into the mystical fields they are investigating. In a similar manner that LSD influenced the Keseys and Ginsbergs of the 60s, newly introduced “entheogens” (God-inducing substances), like the Amazonian shaman’s brew ayahuasca and the synthesized “spirit molecule” DMT, are influencing the style and transformational arcs of these stories. Also, like the 60s, there is a regrettable dearth of female voices, something I hope changes over the coming years.

This is my “informal, unofficial, thoroughly unscientific” list of the top 10 books of the New Edge. I’m hardly an expert on this subject, but I have bared witness to some of this burgeoning literary movement over the last few years as a co-founder of Reality Sandwich and the Evolver Social Movement. For those of you following this literary scene, I welcome you to expand and improve upon the list, adding your choices in the comments section below.
10. The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and The Origins of Knowledge
Author: Jeremy Narby

Amazed by the complex “botanic mastery” of the Ashaninca’s polycultural gardens in the Amazon, anthropologist Jeremy Narby broke ranks with the detached scientific model when drinking the hallucinatory tea ayahuasca, which the Ashaninca claimed had taught them their agricultural knowledge. Composed of two plants – one containing the psychoactive chemical DMT (dimethyltryptamine), the other a double-helix-shaped vine with MAO inhibitors, the brew exposed Narby to a potent spiritual reality where talking telepathic serpents launched him on a study on how shamans might access the consciousness of DNA for healing. It was a serious career risk for a scientist, connecting empirical study with spirituality.

9.  Dharma Punx
Author: Noah Levine

Who would have imagined that the son of bestselling Buddhist author/teacher Stephen Levine would spend his teenage years “fueled by the music of revolution, anger, fear, and despair… Eating acid like it was candy and chasing speed with cheap vodka, smoking truckloads of weed, all in a vain attempt to get numb and stay numb”? Eventually Levine’s rebellious spirit would lead him to the liberation of Buddhist meditation, but without abandoning his love of punk music as an agent of change.

8. Fishers of Men: The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest
Author: Adam Elenbaas

Unfortunately under-promoted in bookstores, “Fishers” is the most hauntingly beautiful book about ayahuasca that I’ve come across. Elenbaas fully exposes his sentimental, wounded soul when detailing his trek from troubled Minnesota minister’s son to sex-and-substance abuser in Chicago and New York, finally finding refuge with ayahuasca visions of Jesus in Peru. With a sweetly maudlin tone, ghostly lyrical imagery, and poetic switches in time sequences, the book is as if Garrison Keller and William Faulkner spent a few years binging with Charles Bukowski and getting high with Terence McKenna. When I asked Elenbaas how he crafted his unusual style, he said, “Ayahausca taught me.”

7. This Is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground
Author: Brian Doherty

While the writing style may slip on occasion, Doherty gives Burning Man aficionados exactly what they are looking for – the myth behind America’s most creatively extravagant festival. Tracing the event from its humble origins with a few dozen onlookers at San Francisco’s Baker Beach to its five-square-mile explosion of radical self-expression in the Nevada desert. One early scene (before the festival instigated a number of guidelines) has co-founder John Law racing his rental car across the desert flats, “flying on mushrooms,” drinking wine and having sex with his girlfriend while shooting guns out the window at teddy-bear targets. Hedonistic, yes, but also the stuff of legends.

6. Black Smoke: A Woman’s Journey of Healing, Wild Love, and Transformation in the Amazon
Author: Margaret De Wys

The curing of her breast cancer through the use of ayahuasca only covers one piece of De Wys’ epic tale of ditching her comfortable life as a Bard College music professor to apprentice with a charismatic Shuar healer, Carlos, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Steeped in the magical lineage of the Shuar tradition, De Wys and her companion encounter near-death initiations, giant anacondas, and the iron fist of the industrialized North when bringing their Schedule 1 controlled healing substance to Native American tribes. She can handle it all, except for rule number 1 of ayahuasca apprenticeship: don’t sleep with your shaman.
5. Exile Nation: Drugs, Prison, Politics, and SpiritualityExile Nation: Drugs, Prison, Politics, and Spirituality
Author: Charles Shaw

Spiritual memoirs don’t get grittier, or more provocative, than this. After being arrested for possession of 14 MDMA capsules (which the author uses as a controversial method for overcoming PTSD), Shaw’s story opens in the nightmare of Chicago’s Cook County Jail, being sentenced to 1 year in the penitentiary. What follows is a despairing first-hand examination of our utterly failing prison systems and the collateral damage that the war on drugs inflicts on American lives. But Shaw embodies the warrior spirit, fighting for a personal rebirth through “unorthodox spiritual and healing practices” with the “evolutionary counterculture.”
4. The Visionary State: A Journey Through California’s Spiritual Landscape
Author: Erik Davis, Photographs by Michael Ruaner

It might seem strange for a coffee table book to make this list, until you realize that’s exactly how it made the list. Traveling on my “Electric Jesus” tour throughout the West Coast, I was hard pressed to find a living room, or home hangout lounge, that didn’t boast this title as some type of flag, or stamp, of membership in the rising transformational tribe. Claiming to be “the first book to address the full story of ‘California consciousness” and featuring the po-mo mystical writings of Davis, the book tracks the landscapes and lives of UFO cults, Zen Buddhists, neopagans, and of course, Burning Man.
3. Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition
Author: Charles Eisenstein

Part-time Goddard College faculty member Eisenstein gained a large number of admirers through his pioneering essays on Reality Sandwich, but it’s his Evolver Editions/North Atlantic Books release “Sacred Economics” that has propelled him to the forefront of the Occupy movement with viral videos like “The Revolution is Love” and countless speaking engagements. In 496 pages, Eisenstein unpacks the entire history of money from a visionary prospective, providing the “radical yet gentle” transitions we can make to reboot and redesign the global (and local) economy. In the end, you believe the impossible: money can become sacred.
2. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Author: Rick Strassman

At the University of New Mexico, Dr. Rick Strassman conducted DEA-approved research, injecting 60 volunteers with the powerful tryptamine DMT. Many readers skip the academic jargon on finagling FDA approval to indulge in the wild trip accounts of subjects rocketing out of their bodies and across the universe, breaking out of the limits of time and space, exploring realms of “pure living energy,” and perhaps most disturbingly, contacting bizarre extraterrestrial beings. While Strassman’s writing is all dry-scientist, the DMT accounts have influenced the imagination of countless writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians in the consciousness movement.

1. Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into Contemporary Shamanism
Author: Daniel Pinchbeck

Although “2012: The Return to Quetzalcoatl” made my Evolver and Reality Sandwich colleague the go-to guy on the Mayan calendar, it was “Breaking Open the Head” that first exposed ayahuasca journeys, initiations with the hallucinatory West African rootbark iboga, and DMT “galactivations” to the hipster world. Blending a healthy dose of Marxist philosophy, Burning Man chic, and Manhattan skepticism, this book pulled off a counterculture coup – it made embarking on a mystical awakening wild and transgressive. Part memoir, part exegesis on Western philosophy, Pinchbeck’s trailblazing work would set the structure, tone, and trajectory for a whole new generation of writers.

Honorable Mentions

“God vs. Gay” by Jay Michaelson
“Tryptamine Palace” by James Oroc
“The Four Global Truths” by Darrin Drda
“The Red Book” by Sera Beak
“Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey” by Rak Razam
“Star Sister” by Stella Osorojos

Elders Circle (Books by older authors who have influenced this genre)

“Supernatural” by Graham Hancock
“The Fifth Sacred Thing” by Starhawk
“The Mission of Art” by Alex Grey
“The Archaic Revival” by Terence McKenna
“Nothing in this Book Is True But It’s Exactly How Things Are” by Bob Frissell
“Antipodes of the Mind” by Benny Shanon
“PIHKAL” and “TIHKAL” by Alexander and Ann Shulgin
“The Mayan Factor” by Jose Arguelles
“Be Here Now” by Ram Dass
“Ayahuasca In My Blood” by Peter Gorman
“Singing to the Plants” by Stephan V. Beyer
“The Secret Teaching of Plants” by Stephen Harrod Buhner

 

Image by moriza, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing. 

 

Jonathan Talat Phillips is author of The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic.

from:   http://www.realitysandwich.com/top_10_books_new_edge

 

NESARA —What is it?

NESARA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NESARA is an acronym for the proposed National Economic Security and Reformation Act, a set of economic reforms suggested during the 1990s by Dr. Harvey Barnard. Barnard claimed that the proposals, which included replacing the income tax with a national sales tax (see also FairTax), abolishing compound interest on secured loans, and returning to a bimetallic currency, would result in 0% inflation and a more stable economy. The proposals were never introduced before Congress, and the only congressman known to have commented on the bill is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, dismissively, and through a spokesman.[1] NESARA has since become better known as the subject of a cult-like conspiracy theorypromoted by Shaini Goodwin, who claims that the act was actually passed with additional provisions as the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, and then suppressed by the George W. Bush administration and the Supreme Court. Other people have adopted and embellished Goodwin’s ideas.

to read more, go to:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NESARA

Number of Verbs & Nouns As Indicators of Stock Market Trends?

Fewer Verbs and Nouns in Financial Reporting Could Predict Stock Market Bubble, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2011) — When the language used by financial analysts and reporters becomes increasingly similar the stock market may be overheated, say scientists.

After examining 18,000 online articles published by the Financial Times, The New York Times, and the BBC, computer scientists have discovered that the verbs and nouns used by financial commentators converge in a ‘herd-like’ fashion in the lead up to a stock market bubble. Immediately afterwards, the language disperses.

The findings presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Barcelona, Spain, on July 19, 2011, show that the trends in the use of words by financial journalists correlate closely with changes in the leading stock indices.

“Our analysis shows that trends in the use of words by financial journalists correlate closely with changes in the leading stock indices — the DJI, the NIKKEI-225, and FTSE-100,” says Professor Mark Keane, Chair of Computer Science in University College Dublin, who was involved in the research.

to read more, go to:    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718101202.htm

“Sacred Economics”

Homepage for Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition

SacredEconomicsFrontCover3.jpg
 

Welcome to the on-line version of Sacred Economics. This is a book that explores, on a social, political, and personal level, the transition in money and economy that is upon us today. With the agreement of the publisher,EVOLVER EDITIONS/North Atlantic Books, I am making the full text available on line one chapter at a time over a period of about six months. By the end of 2011, the complete book will be on this website.

I am doing so, first, in order that this information can spread as widely as possible in a time of mounting crisis; secondly, to align the book with the spirit of the gift that lies at the heart of a sacred economy; and third, because it no longer feels right to attempt to profit through creating an artificial scarcity of things, like digital content, that are fundamentally abundant.

Of course, the book is also available in print, through your local bookstore or online, and in ebook versions at online booksellers. I also intend, again with the bold agreement of the publisher, to make a you-choose-the-price ebook available on my website.

Why serialize the book rather than putting the whole text up at once? First, I wrote the book to be read linearly – it is very much a book, not a website. Secondly, I would like to use this serialized version of the book as a way to deepen the conversation around it by responding to readers’ comments, chapter by chapter. It will be as if we are reading it together. Over time, the sum of the text plus the comments and responses will constitute a larger, cocreated, book.

to read more and follow the publication of the book, go to:  http://www.realitysandwich.com/homepage_sacred_economics