A World Beyond Banking (originally published on inteldaily.com December 2010)

TThere has always been huge inequality in the world – kings, queens, emperors and their subjects. A few of their subjects lived in luxury as bastions of the system, most of the remainder suffered a life of subsistence of even worse – slavery. The process of transference of wealth from the masses to the monarchs or oligarchies has existed since Babylonian times, perhaps earlier but it is a process that has now become world-wide with few countries free or mostly free of this scurge on humanity.

What is described as ‘indigenous’ peoples is proof that it is possible to live without money, to live healthily and happily, often to old age in a society that is simple yet cultured and successful without any of the modern definitions of success, The very existence of these alternative ways of life is seen as a threat to the dominant ‘civilisation’ and every effort is being made to bring the people of the world under the yoke of debt slavery.

Over many centuries it became clear that maintaining order in a population of downtrodden poor was indeed difficult and leads to an upsurge in violence and rebellion every so many decades. Over time ownership by the Sovereign has moved towards ownership by aristocracy, then the state and now in the modern age, ownership by corporations. Prior to 20th century most people in the world had little or no money and most certainly had no dealings with banks, Banks and money-lenders preyed mainly on the rich, relieving the reckless and foolish of their property. The creation of the Bank of England and many others based on that model (e.g. US Fed) enabled banks to lend money not just to landed aristocracy but to whole nation states. It was not until after the great recession that they saw the great potential of the masses for gaining further wealth. By this time much of the former fiscal inequalities had been redressed to some extent, making the public a more attractive target now that most of them were no longer completely destitute.

Over a period of decades the banks have undertaken a propaganda campaign to convince us, the general public, that they are our friends and that they are here to help us with their array of financial products. The truth could not be more different, the intention of all banks is not only to hold your money at little profit to you but to entice you into accumulating debt so that your money and assets become their money and their assets.

In the USA of the 1930s many farmers were left with little choice but to approach the banks for loans, hoping that this would get them through to better times. Of the course the reality of the situation is that many lost their farms and most of those who were able to hang on ended up effectively handing over their profits to the bank. A more recent example of this process of wealth transfer is Ireland (where I live): thirty years ago it still had the appearance of a fairly poor country however there was very little personal debt.

Old cars and untidy houses were common enough, but these cars and houses were largely paid for, many people had no bank accounts and dealt only in cash, which was kept in a teapot, on the mantelpiece or under the mattress. Many ordinary people who did not wish to keep lots of cash at home used Credit Unions, a more benign financial organization owned by its members. Even now, at the tail end of 2010, it is common to see older people who have no dealings with the banks and have no debts whatsoever; sadly this is not true of younger generations.

Like most governments in the world, the Irish government has sat idly by and allowed the banks to spin it’s web, allowing consumerism and finance to explode. Within a decade the Irish public was seduced by the prospect of luxury cars, modern houses with multiple bathrooms, huge televisions, mobile phones and designer clothing. Of course, the government probably realized that a boom fueled on debt could not last, but seeing as many politicians stood to gain personally from unabated consumerism and borrowing they did not seem to care. The process of modernization is not only financially enslaving but culturally destructive, leading people to abandon their roots in favour of the homogenous phoney culture of ‘keeping up with the Jones’, which is largely inspired by American media.

Fortunately the wheels have come off here, before the process was completed, however the Irish public now faces decades of pain due to reckless borrowing beyond our means and the likely sell-off many national assets (to the private sector) that should remain in the public domain.

What is happening now is that people here in Ireland, and around the world are waking up to the fact that they have been conned. The banks lent us money that didn’t really exist, it was all paper or digits on a computer – backed up by nothing at all. The banks are failing due to recklessness and widespread usury, allowed to happen by governments who were asleep at the wheel. Having made gross errors of judgment these same governments now expect us, many of whom are already in debt, to pay for these banks to be bailed out so that they can continue to rip us off.

Finally, as the short term hit or the shopping trip, the plazma TV and the shiny motor loses its effect, nullified no doubt by the flow red hot credit card bills, the public are starting to see this game for what it really is. The question is now what do we do? How do we change the rules of a game that is rigged against us? Or better still, can we find a way to just walk away from the table and refuse to play like the good citizens anymore?

The time for waking up and re-educating ourselves is now moving into the time to take action and to spread it throughout society. Reading this article and countless others in a similar vein may make you better informed but it will not change the status quo. Now is the time to do something constructive to change this crazy system, otherwise we and future generations will spend our entire lives in servitude to the banking system.

Luke Eastwood
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