(guest post) Usury: Artificial wealth and real poverty

Usury: Artificial wealth and real poverty

By Sean Jobst, 6 January 2011

Usury is charging interest on a loan, irregardless of the rate or amount of interest. Leading proponents assume that usury is merely exorbitant interest rates, while they justify lower rates. The problem with such a distinction is even leading proponents do not agree on the threshold between “exorbitant” rates and “reasonable” ones. In actuality, such a distinction is only made to justify what has been universally condemned in every tradition, but what is a central aspect of banking.

Many basic assumptions are violated by usury. One is the right to keep the fruits of one’s labor. Usurers make their income on the livelihood of others, without providing a real service of their own. What labor are they doing other than enriching themselves from what others earn? On the contrary, it assumes they have some special right to take more than the loan. The basic assumption is that money is rightfully gained through honest labor, whereas usury only makes the rich avaricious and burdens the poor with debt.

It is a greater concentration of wealth into the hands of a few, the privatization of profit for a few and socialization of debt to the majority of people. Hence it naturally creates a false hierarchy of wealth, just as it impoverishes people who would otherwise enjoy more fruits of their labor. Furthermore, it turns money into an end itself rather than a means. This is an obvious invitation to greed.

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(guest post) An organic understanding of money

An organic understanding of money

By Sean Jobst, 6 January 2011

Human beings are interconnected to their surrounding environment. From the very moment one human being produced something that the others wanted, some means of exchange was devised. In every culture the medium was something tangible that existed within nature, whether it was precious metals or tangible goods, such as grain. Money was always understood necessarily as being intrinsic in value; something that could be held with the hands or viewed with the eyes.

There was free access to these productive resources, so that labor became the activating factor. The amount of one’s money was determined by the amount of labor they produced. Likewise, there was a sharing of the products of these labor according to need. This organic freedom that was instilled in the earliest human beings, is a natural yearning whose implications are becoming more evident to those who lack this essential freedom, which is free access to the market and the right to choose one’s medium of exchange freely.

“The history of humanity has been largely one long and gradual discovery of the fact that the individual is the gainer by society exactly in proportion as society is free, and of the law that the condition of a permanent and harmonious society is the greatest amount of individual liberty compatible with equality of liberty.” (1)

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(guest post) Indigenous traditions around the world oppose usury

Indigenous traditions around the world oppose usury

By Sean Jobst, 6 January 2011

The spiritual reality of humanity is one, with the various traditions of the world being local expressions of a common primordial origin. “Every nation has a Messenger and when their Messenger comes everything is decided between them justly. They are not wronged.”(1) “Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other.”(2)

It should be no surprise that usury was unknown throughout the world, as it came later and was not part of organic human nature. And in those places where it did become introduced, it was universally condemned. The current writer advises each person to research the culture and traditions of their ancestors, so they can better understand themselves and also truly “come to know each other” in mutual respect and understanding.

The current writer has done exactly this with his own ancestors, who include the Suevi-Alemanni and Celtiberian nations that inhabited what are now southern Germany and Spain. Among both nations, usury was entirely unknown until it came with the Roman conquest. The Suevi-Alemanni were actually the first Germanic tribe with whom the Romans came into contact, so that they now referred to all the various tribes with the term ‘Alemanni’. They were a people of oral traditions, rather than written records. Most of what is known about them comes from the Roman historian Tacitus, who writes:

“26. Lending money upon interest, and increasing it by usury, is unknown among them; and this ignorance more effectively prevents the practice than a prohibition would do.” (3)

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(guest post) The sovereign Lakota people declare their monetary freedom, institute silver-based currency

The sovereign Lakota people declare their monetary freedom, institute silver-based currency

By Sean Jobst, 12 December 2010

The U.S. Dollar is declining at an astonishing rate. The debt continues to rise and so do prices. It’s simply becoming more expensive to live, yet goods are actually becoming qualitatively less valuable. The cruel reality of a monetary system based literally on creating something of no value out of thin air and calling it money, has become obvious to an increasing number of people.

To finance their operations, governments have been borrowing money from the bankers. It can be said with complete accuracy the financial elites possess real power, for they have control over the circulation of money.  Governments are in debt to the bankers, but the bill is passed down to the real producers of a society, who are the citizens. It is the common people who suffer through rising prices, paying more taxes, and losing their jobs and homes.

So it should come as no surprise that an increasing number of people are rejecting this orthodoxy of paper money, and are recognizing in contrast to the inherent pitfalls of paper money, the innumerable advantages of gold and silver. For those are resources existing naturally and have inherent value.

Even while more Americans are becoming awake to this reality, while the bi-metallic currency is actually being instituted in many places throughout the world. Yet the most significant change here is not to be found in its larger cities, but rather in the Plains. This is the phenomenon of a Lakota indigenous tribe that is reclaiming their sovereignty – and instituting a silver-based monetary system.

Who are the Lakota?

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(guest post) A Basic Introduction to the Four Monopolies

A Basic Introduction to the Four Monopolies

By Sean Jobst, 10 January 2011

Usury is not merely an economic procedure, but a fundamental feature of its operation. There is perhaps no better way to describe modern economics than its result: a concentration of wealth into the hands of a few, who enjoy their privileges due to extensive state intervention in the market. Politics has been subverted by economic interests, such that it is not possible for politicians to operate except with the blessing of their financial backers and others who operate the economy.

One of the leading observers of this political economy was the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker. He further developed the Mutualism of the French anarchist Joseph Proudhon, who had recognized the Economists were a new sect and Economics a modern religion, and combined it with the work of an early American anarchist thinker named Josiah Warren, to create a new form of Market Anarchism that was uniquely American. Examining the nature of the state and the development of its economic procedures, Tucker was able to identify four distinct monopolies that had developed.

The first is the land monopoly, “the enforcement by government of land titles which do not rest upon personal occupancy and cultivation.” (1) Capitalism is certainly unthinkable without two actions of the feudal classes: the abolition of the guild and replacing it with the corporation, and the enclosure of the commons. The latter was founded on artificial “property rights” of the landed aristocracy, so “the landed classes were given full legal title, and the peasants were transformed into tenants at will with no customary restriction on the rents that could be charged.”(2)

In this historical sense, Proudhon made an important distinction between the idea of “property,” certainly as it exists now has derived from an artificial basis, and “possessions,” an organic view of land based on actual use and occupancy. This is the only just notion of land, one that is actually used and occupied through one’s labor. Yet in the capitalist West there are large areas of land set aside for absentee owners, whether it is the government or big corporations.

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