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Conscious Capitalism, And Open Thread

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge will be out of pocket for several hours: please use this post as an open thread opportunity to discuss how honest and transparent the government economic data dissemination complex is, how efficient the stock market is, how free of monopoly the Wall Street Fixed Income trading complex is, how altruistic the Federal Reserve is, and everything else that tickles your fancy. In the meantime, here is the latest controversial, and very much must read letter from Mike Krieger: Conscious Capitalism.

From Mike Krieger of Kam LP

Conscious Capitalism

Action alone is the province, never the fruits thereof.
Let not thy motive be the fruit of action, nor shouldst thou desire to avoid action.
- The Bhagavad Gita

Renunciation means absence of hankering after fruit. 
As a matter of fact he who renounces reaps a thousandfold.
He who is ever brooding over result often loses nerve in the performance of his duty.
He becomes impatient and then gives vent to anger and begins to do unworthy things;
He jumps from action to action, never remaining faithful to any.

- Mahatma Ghandi

A Merging of the “Left” and the “Right”

During my most recent interview with Max Keiser I briefly introduced a concept that I referred to as “conscious capitalism” and I promised to expound on this idea in future writings.  When I look around me I see a lot of encouraging signs but I also see a political, military and industrial establishment that is fighting with all its might to squash what I think could be a very powerful merging of forces on both the motivated and moral “left” and “right” sides of the political spectrum.  As I have mentioned previously I tend to be libertarian philosophically yet I find myself in agreement with many of those who the mainstream media tells me are on the “other side.”  Side issues like who is “racist” and the ground zero mosque are used to emotionally separate us and we must not give into such tactics.  I think the most important thing for people that really want to change things for the better and lessen the stranglehold of the current corrupt and dependency/warfare model that is the United States of America should do two things.  First, find the issues that we can agree upon and secondly as Ghandi instructed us “be the change that you want to see in the world” and spread this idea to everyone you come in contact with.  We must remember that we have the ultimate power as individuals and consumers and at the end of the day this nasty little system we’ve got going survives based on our compliance whether we want to admit that or not.

What are the Main Issues we can Agree On?

End the Fed.  I think the first  issue to be dealt with is the Federal Reserve.  Either it needs to be castrated or ended.  As I have said before I think we are already on the road to achieving this end but we can’t give up now.  The keys to ending the Fed in its current form are several fold.  The first is to educate the masses on how and when the Fed was formed, what the Fed is, and finally who it ultimately answers to.  Secondly, we need to support Congressmen like Ron Paul in their bi-partisan efforts to “Audit the Fed” or audit the gold reserves in Fort Knox.  Despite having had considerable support from Congressional Democrats the bill was not passed as Mr. Paul intended and indeed the Fed was given more powers in that laughing stock of a Financial Reform Bill.  Many will view this as a setback and in some ways it was; however, it was also a victory in that it served to “awaken” a growing percentage of the citizenry to how things work and to recognize that the Congress does not listen to the will of the people but rather protects the corrupt establishment at all costs.  Having the power to create money and credit out of thin air, the Federal Reserve is the ultimate tool of the establishment and the noose around the necks of us serfs.  When we have forced the Fed to respond to our inquiries their response in all cases is to grab further power and fight to avoid any disclosures of the actions they have taken in the shadows.  Whereas truth can always shine through even the darkest night, lies must be compounded upon themselves indefinitely to maintain themselves.  To quote Ghandi yet again:  “The wicked can prevail only when they number multitudes, but goodness will rule when embodied to perfection even in one person.”  This is a man who was able to boot the most powerful empire the world has ever seen using nonviolent methods.  I think we can learn a lot from him.   
 
End the Warfare State.  When 9/11 happened I was working  in the World Financial Center.  I saw the buildings come down with my own two eyes.  I saw the people falling out of the towers.  I was scared and traumatized and for a while felt like I needed the government to protect me.  Initially I was willing to give up some civil liberties to achieve some sense of comfort.  I have since realized the grave error of my ways and I now shudder to think of the police state the establishment is trying to move us toward.  Yesterday I read an article about how a Virginia court has upheld the right of police to place a GPS tracking device on a car without a warrant.  Article can be found here http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/crime/Va-appeals-court-upholds-tracking-suspects-with-GPS-102431294.html.  Someone tell me how this does not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution?  This is really terrifying stuff.  What is so hard about getting warrant?  Is this the type of country we want to live in?  Beyond this, there is a clear trend toward more invasive screening tactics to prevent terrorism.  The bottom line is this, if someone wants to blow something up or hurt people they will do it.  Furthermore, instead of us sheepishly just giving away whatever self-respect we have left so that Janet Napolitano can scan your naked body before getting on a plane how about we stop invading countries in the Middle East and killing people.  Sounds like a good start to me.

End the Stranglehold of the Large Banks, Multi-National Corporations and Unproductive and Overpaid Government Workers.  When you look at the latest polls about what Americans have faith in at the top of the list is small business and at the bottom are Congress and the Banks.  This is perfectly rational as everyone that has observed with an unbiased eye how things have unfolded since the financial crisis occurred has seen that the political establishment and Fed have made it their primary order of business to protect the big banks, big corporations and the overpaid and bloated public sector at the expense of the productive and hardworking citizenry and at the end of the day what they have really sacrificed is our currency (this will become painfully obvious soon enough) and our standing in the rest of the world (we are now seen as the third world banana republic we are). 

First, the large banks.  If there is anything anyone that dislikes the system as it stands should be against it is the TBTF (Too Big To Fail) banks.  They played a huge role in destroying the global financial system and the long-term wealth creation mechanism of the United States.  Not only that, but as a punishment for their sins they have taken taxpayer bailouts, paid enormous bonuses while 35 million Americans entered the food stamp breadline, fought real reform every step of the way (successfully I might add) and the executives have escaped punishment.  We protect these banks as if they are some sort of national treasure.  The one trend that becomes clear when it comes to the banks, the Fed and the power players in Washington D.C. is the more you screw up the more power you get.  It is amazingly Orwellian. 

As far as the Unproductive and Overpaid government sector I am not going to spend much time on it myself.  Rather, I ask you to listen to this compelling interview given by Stephen Meister to King World News http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2010/9/4_Stephen_Meister.html.  One of the key points he makes is that there are 7.9 million public sector union members and that for the first time in 2009 there are now more public union members than private sector union members (7.4 million).  More importantly, the private sector workforce is five times as large as the public sector workforce so what you get is a situation where union membership is 34% in the public sector and 7% in the private sector.  A lot of “conservatives” like to demonize auto unions and the like but the real issue is the public sector unions.  He goes on to point out that at least at a private company there is a profit motive and so if the unions push too far they end up hurting themselves.  Not so with a government union since there is no profit motive and their pay is just subsidized by the taxpayer!   To summarize, what are we subsidizing?  The TBTF banks, the war machine, a growing police state, and public sector unions that keep taking more and more.  Everything is completely backwards.  We live in and participate in a complete and total insane asylum. 

Finally, the multi-nationals.  As many are starting to understand we do not live in a world of “free trade” we live in a world of rigged trade where China manipulates its currency lower to keep the labor arbitrage alive.  Due to rising inflation and wages in the coastal areas this is beginning to change, but the key is not to have companies now move from China to Vietnam or Mexico.  We need jobs here.  Our days of pushing paper around as a nation of traders, lawyers and bureaucrats is OVER.  We don’t know it yet since the currency crisis hasn’t fully shown up in commodity inflation but it is happening underneath the surface.  As a result, it is key to get producing jobs back to American shores as soon as possible.  That way we will be able to provide for ourselves better after the currency loses much of its purchasing power abroad.  This will not be easy but it is necessary.  Furthermore, the longer we export such jobs abroad and continue to just collect food stamps, day-trade and file lawsuits the less skills we will have here to do the necessary things when the time comes.

Implementing Conscious Capitalism

So now we are back full circle to the idea of conscious capitalism.  Back in 2002 in my personal journal I wrote a little essay titled “Ambivalence Toward Capitalism.”  I decided to go back and read it before writing today and one of the lines stuck out to me.  I wrote:  “In my opinion capitalism is the best form of society that has graced this earth and yet is the worst form of ideology that has ever become so widely accepted.”  What I meant by this was that I saw the inherent dangers of using a system based in large part on the selfish desires prevalent in mankind.  Harnessing the abilities of man to produce, innovate and create to the best of his or her ability by offering rewards is essentially what capitalism does when it works well.  However, what has become abundantly clear as of late is that if the society itself is immoral then capitalism will fail to function and it can be as destructive as any other system.  This is where I disagree with many libertarians AND big government folks.  There is nothing wrong with some limited federal government and there is nothing wrong with capitalism, where we get into problems is when we view either as a panacea or a religion.  This is because they are both merely systems devised by imperfect human beings and as such will ultimately reflect the morality and ethics of the human beings interacting within that system.  The United States has become in recent years, decadent, aggressive, immoral and brainwashed by television and mainstream media.  As such, should we really be surprised that nothing seems to work whether it be Federal government or capitalism? 

At the end of the day I still think as long as human nature remains the same capitalism is the best thing we’ve got.  The reason it is the best thing we have come up with is because at the end of the day it is not something we came up with.  Real capitalism, as opposed to the crony capitalism we have today, consists of the natural state of affairs in complex societies.  As is wisely noted over and over in the epic Bhagavad Gita, we run into trouble when we become obsessed with the “fruits of action” since then we would lie, cheat and steal to achieve ones ends.  However, those that attempt to demonize capitalism must understand that if the moral base of a society is unchanged it doesn’t matter what system is in place it will eventually become corrupt and tyrannical. 

Therefore, what I think is of paramount importance in today’s America is we need to get a grip on reality as it is not as we wish to see it.  The first thing is to understand how the financial system operates and how the Federal Reserve controls it.  The second thing is to spread this knowledge to everyone you know.  The third and final stage, which is the one we are entering in my view, is to be the change you want to see in the world.  The most effective way to protest the system is to shed counterfeit money for honest money.  This means for everyone that has the means to should sell a certain percent of their dollars and buy physical gold.  If we did this the Fed would be history tomorrow.  More importantly, once this happens the last thing we should do is accept another fiat currency devised by these same insane academics and central bankers that want to push this ridiculous idea of an SDR on us.  Other things people can do is to look at their own lives and be more thoughtful about what bank one uses or what products one buys.  I do not bank at the TBTFs and this is a conscious choice.  This is conscious capitalism.  Buying local goods produced nearby rather than something produced by Asian slave labor is another way.  If we do these things based on a sense of morality, then not only can we get back to real capital markets rather than praying to the false god of crony capitalism, but indeed we can change the world through a paradigm shift in our collective consciousness.

All the best,
Mike


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