Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is the World Getting Crazier, But We No Longer Notice?

The banquet of consequences is about to be served.
If we step back and look at what's happened since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, it's easy to see that the global leadership has chosen to do more of what's failed spectacularly.
Since the Global Financial Meltdown, central bankers and planners have pursued policies designed to boost global stock markets to create a wealth effect in which people will be psychologically inclined to borrow and spend more because their stock market/IRA portfolios are rising. This supposedly encourages them to spend this "paper wealth."
But the policy runs aground on two realities: 1) only the top 5% of the households own enough stocks to make a difference to their wealth (and their perception of wealth, i.e. the wealth effect), and 2) the wealth effect only occurs in "good times" when people feel the economy is healthy and their prospects are improving.
When people sense the economy is unhealthy and their prospects have dimmed, they save more regardless of how much the stock market rises.
Signs of financial craziness abound:
-- 25% of all stock market gains occur after Federal Reserve meetings: in other words, central banks "own the market."
-- The Swiss central bank admitted to spending $470 billion on currency market manipulation since 2010.
-- Other central banks have intervened in the stock and bond markets to the tune of trillions of dollars/yen/euro/yuan.
-- The central bank of China has spent over $100 billion in a few months propping up the yuan.
-- China has made it easier to borrow money again, sparking yet another housing bubble in First Tier cities like Shanghai and Beijing--as if another housing bubble will fix what's broken in China's economy.
-- U.S. corporations have borrowed billions of dollars at 1% to buy back their own shares--a dynamic that may account for 50% of the current rise in the stock market.
-- ObamaCare has added costs to the healthcare system rather than reducing costs; though healthcare spending adds to GDP, it is a form of consumption, not production.
-- Cheap credit enabled energy companies to boost production to the point that oil is now in over-supply--and the need for revenues to fund the debts taken on to expand production force producers to keep pumping.
-- Sweden has dropped its interest rate to negative territory, a policy that has sparked an insane housing bubble.
And this is considered sane and healthy?
In other words, central banks and planners have generated enormous bubbles in debt, housing and stocks to maintain the illusion that doing more of what failed spectacularly will actually fix what's broken. This is crazy, because these policies are what's broken. All these massive interventions and manipulations are driving the system off the cliff.
Longtime correspondent J.B. recently shared some personal observations about the craziness of the current American economy:
"I have to say I think things are even crazier now than is 2002-06.
Look back to then and attempt to gauge how your thinking has changed.
I guess back then I never realized how corrupt the government and Federal Reserve were/are. I actually did think we had a government which cared about the people. How naïve of me. I just thought they were stupid.
There have been no jobs created which pay anything except for programmers working on start-ups with billion dollar valuations which make no money. Interest rates have been driven so low that people have stepped out into High Yield and will lose most their money. The stock market really trades on no fundamentals except what the latest Fed head comes out and says that day. The only investment that your gut feel says should go up (gold) has been in the crapper for several years (do you think the Fed is suppressing in?)
I have to tell you there seems to be a lot of new restaurants popping up in L.A.; most do not seem to last and many of the old ones seem to disappear. We had friends in from France (she is French but a US citizen and lived in LA for quite a while). The one comment they had was they could not believe how expensive food is.
Every government unit in the United States (federal, state, county, etc.) is having to borrow and borrow. Basically they are all bankrupt."
J.B. mentions food and restaurants, but we all know costs are out of control in big-ticket items: rent, tuition, healthcare.  
I recently posted a link that public university tuition has soared 135% to 145% in the decade from 2004 to 2014--a period in which "official" inflation rose 25%.
We recently helped a neighbor get home from the hospital after emergency surgery for acute appendicitis. He told us a visiting-scholar friend from Europe who recently went to the emergency room was billed $12,000 for the visit, which did not include any surgery or procedures.
Americans with gold-plated healthcare coverage don't see what the system bills or what is actually paid, so completely outrageous bills are commonplace. 
(Note that caregivers aren't necessarily benefiting from these soaring costs to consumers, insurers, etc.--many physician correspondents have explained that their income has declined significantly in the past few years, extending a decades-long trend. In regions with a shortage of nurses, pay has risen markedly, but in other regions, nurses' compensation has not risen along with higher healthcare costs.)
High-end restaurants are indeed opening not just in L.A. and San Francisco, but in smaller cities and even towns--as if the populace with sufficient cash or credit to spend $100 on dinner for two is unlimited.
With rising rents, regulatory compliance, workers comp and wages, businesses are jacking up the price of their product/service just to cover the increases in their own expenses.
Corporations are cutting corners by reducing the contents of packages and reducing the quality of their ingredients/products.
Here is the craziness: nothing has actually been fixed in the past 7 years.Rather, everything that was broken in 2008 has been ramped up to an even higher levels of craziness.
The crazy solution to bursting housing bubbles is even bigger housing bubbles (see Sweden, China and the U.S.).
The failure of central planning (super-low interest rates, easy credit, etc.) has led to extreme extensions of the very policies that made the global financial meltdown inevitable.
Yet strangely, we accept this craziness as the New Normal. People with demanding jobs in Corporate America are working harder and longer for less pay (eroded by inflation) to the point of physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion. But the mortgage and bills must be paid, so they continue sacrificing their health for the sake of supporting an unsupportable lifestyle.
We now have a TINA economy--there is no alternative. People feel trapped, unable to choose another way of living and another livelihood, because all the alternatives mean sacrificing discretionary income--often by 2/3. The person earning $90,000 in Corporate America or the government can only earn $30,000 if they bailed out and took a less insane job.
Eventually, things start breaking.  The overworked person's health breaks.   The corporate bond market breaks, as debt that can't be paid is not paid. Small businesses break, close their doors and the owners retire or move on to some sort of work that is less stressful. The Venture Capital bubble of throwing millions of dollars at Unicorn startups with no revenues breaks.
Blind, destructive craziness has costs.  The supposed benefits of doing more of what failed spectacularly are short-term, and they're finally starting to run out.
The banquet of consequences is about to be served.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why Real Reform Is Now Impossible

The endless bleating of well-paid pundits in the corporate media about "reform" is just more circus.
It's difficult for well-meaning pundits to abandon the fantasy that meaningful reform is possible. Indeed, a critical function of the punditry and corporate media is to foster the fantasy that the status quo could be reformed if only we all got together and blah blah blah.
As I explain in my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reformreal structural reform would trigger the collapse of the status quo. (As a reminder, the status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many.)
But there's another dynamic that makes reform impossible. I've prepared a chart to explain this dynamic:
Central banks have transformed the market--in stocks, bonds, commodities and risk--into the signaling mechanism that tells us all is well. Even though the real-world finances of the bottom 95% continue deteriorating, a rising stock market and suppressed measures of risk signal that the economy is doing well. If you're not doing well, it's your personal problem; the status quo is fine and needs only minor tweaks.
Elevating the market into the oracle of economic health creates a systemic risk:If the market tanks, the status quo is called into question. People start asking, is it truly a wonderful arrangement that benefits us all, or is it really just a skimming machine that funnels money and wealth from the many into the voracious maws of the few?
Central banks thwart this existential danger to the status quo by rescuing the market every time it approaches the market clearing event level. (see chart) In a market clearing event, risky loans and bets are liquidated, credit dries up, risk soars and the price of assets falls to levels that once again make fundamental sense.
Market clearing events are a necessary part of a healthy credit and asset-allocation system. If the market is never allowed to clear away the dead wood of mal-investments, high leverage, nose-bleed valuations, bad bets and risky loans that should never have been issued, all this dead wood eventually chokes off healthy expansion.
The problem for central banks is a market clearing event pushes markets to levels that call the entire travesty of a mockery of a sham status quo into question. That is too dangerous to risk, so central banks quickly defend the fantasy that markets only drift higher, stopping any market clearing event in its tracks.
This leaves the economy increasingly vulnerable to the financial equivalent of an uncontrollable forest fire that burns away all the collected dead wood that has been protected by the central banks.
At some difficult to predict point, a random financial flame ignites the accumulated dead wood and the markets are torched in a conflagration so intense not even massive central bank intervention can extinguish the flames.
Structural reform is only possible when markets and sentiment crash far below the market clearing event level. Meaningful reform only becomes politically, economically and socially possible when the status quo has failed so obviously and so painfully that even its most entrenched defenders concedes that the choice has boiled down to either full-blown revolution or meaningful reforms that limit the power of the few at the top of the wealth/power pyramid.
The pyramid by the number of people in each wealth bracket:
The pyramid by the assets and income held by each wealth/income bracket:
But the process of real reform is quickly hijacked by vested interests once the markets recover back to the market clearing event level. Once the crisis has passed, the well-oiled machine of lobbying, grift, graft and campaign contributions kicks into gear and waters down or co-opts the reforms into PR facades designed to fool the masses into believing the reforms will work as advertised (for example, all the "reforms" passed in the aftermath of the 2009 meltdown: thousands of obfuscating pages of Obamacare, bank regulations etc.)
The only time meaningful reform is possible is in a crisis that reveals the true nature of the status quo, and central banks will create as many trillions of dollars, yen, yuan, euros etc. as are needed to erase that moment of clarity and truth.
The endless bleating of well-paid pundits in the corporate media about "reform" is just more circus designed to distract us from the much colder truth:the status quo is beyond reform. The choice is either collapse or well, collapse: letting the status quo strip-mine the bottom 95% will eventually lead to collapse and so will structural reforms that deprive the few of their power to create near-infinite sums of money and credit for their cronies.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, a 20% discount thru May 1, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book's website.

NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

America's Entitled (and Doomed) Upper Middle Class

The upper middle class is well and truly doomed by self-delusion and the pathology of entitlement.
Two recent articles describe America's entitled (and doomed) upper middle class: the top 5% of households with incomes above $206,500 annually and individuals with incomes of $160,000 or higher annually. (source: Historical Income Tables: Households Census.gov)
The first describes how businesses are responding to the new Gilded Age in which spending by the top 5% has pulled away from the stagnating bottom 95%:
In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat Companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system.
With disparities in wealth greater than at any time since the Gilded Age, the gap is widening between the highly affluent — who find themselves behind the velvet ropes of today’s economy — and everyone else.
The Haven’s 95 staterooms were located so high up in the forward part of the ship that even guests in comparatively expensive staterooms might remain unaware of its existence. Depending on the season, a room in the Haven might cost a couple $10,000 for a weeklong cruise vs. $3,000 for an ordinary stateroom elsewhere on the ship.
Since the late 1990s, however, “there has been a huge evolution, maybe a revolution in attitudes,” Mr. Goldstein said. In addition to larger rooms or softer sheets, big spenders want to be coddled nowadays. “They are looking for constant validation that they are a higher-value customer,” he said. For example, room service requests from Royal Suite occupants are automatically routed to a number different from the one used by regular passengers, who get slower, less personalized service.
With a week in a top Royal Suite costing upward of $30,000, compared with $4,000 for an ordinary cabin, the focus is on “very affluent travelers, and we have no trouble filling these rooms,” Mr. Bayley said.
The second article is by an upper middle class writer who bemoans his declining income and status:
The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans: Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.
We are naturally sympathetic to anyone describing themselves as middle-class who is in such dire financial straits that they don't even have $500 as an emergency fund.
But as we read further, we find the author is hardly a typical middle-class worker-bee: he was a substitute host on a national television program for a few years, received substantial advances for books he wrote (substantial enough for him to complain about the taxes due), got a Hollywood movie deal for another book he wrote, etc.
He was making enough money to suggest his film-producer spouse (yet another not-a-middle-class job) quit working, and to buy a house in the tony Hamptons which he poo-poos as nothing special. (A home in a pricey premier suburb is nothing special? In what circles is it nothing special?)
The solution to his poverty is obvious to the rest of us: sell his Hamptons home and moving to less tony digs. He could buy a house in a Midwest college town for a fraction of the Hamptons house and live happily ever after off the cashed-out equity.
The writer was never middle-class--he was upper middle-class, with upper middle-class income, assets and aspirations.
Then come his complaints: he made too much money for his kids to get financial aid to Stanford (fire up the sad violins of sympathy), so his parents had to pony up the $150,000 for each kid to attend an Ivy league university--oh, and then go on to earn Masters degrees or higher.
His wife, out of the work force for the years he was raking in big bucks, couldn't find a job as a film producer (how awful!)--and then she vanishes from the narrative: did she lower herself to take a "normal" job, or is she still a Hamptons Housewife? Are we not being told because it doesn't fit the "poor me" narrative?
His 401K retirement was sacrificed to pay for one of his daughter's wedding--and how much did that extravganza cost? Was that a wise decision?
The writer confesses he's made poor financial decisions, but he lays the blame on economic ignorance rather than the real cause: his overwhelming sense of entitlement.
This is not simply hubris; it is a pathology that characterizes America's upper middle-class, and those who aspire to membership in that class.
This article expresses the core belief of America's upper middle class: I deserve to make more money every year until I decide to retire. Then I deserve a well-funded retirement in an upper middle-class neighborhood with all the usual upper middle-class trimmings.
The list of entitlements is practically endless: my wife shouldn't have to work, even though writers' incomes are notoriously uneven; my daughters deserve to attend Ivy league colleges without taking on $100,000+ in student loan debt; they deserve lavish weddings that they don't have to pay for; I deserve a recent-vintage auto, numerous nights out to movies and dinner, annual vacations (we can assume overseas vacations, of course; how gauche to travel only in the U.S.), and so on--an endless profusion of entitlements that are completely unmoored from the realities of their chosen careers in writing (insecure) and film production (insecure).
Memo to the author: did you somehow not notice that the money to pay writers is drying up? Did you not notice that book advances are vanishing like rain in Death Valley? How clueless does a writer have to be not to be aware of the structural changes in his industry?
The writer sets out to illuminate the precariousness of middle-class life, using himself as an example: a high-end New York writer/author and his equally high-end New York film producer spouse, who made tons more money than the $50,000-per-year middle class household and managed to buy a home in one of the most desirable suburbs in America.
The writer is aware of the disconnect, and he attempts to mask this by downplaying his previous (high) income and the value of his Hamptons home. (I got the feeling he didn't even want to disclose he owned a home in the Hamptons.)
Given prices in the area, the writer is sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity--and if he had drained the equity, we can be sure he would have disclosed this poor-me factoid.
Is this a household that is flat-broke, or a house-rich, cash-poor household that spent far beyond its means for years in the belief that the upper middle-class were magically entitled to a high income, regardless of economic realities?
As we look at the economic landscape, we find this class the fantastically entitled bourgeois dominating the technocrat / managerial / professional layers of our economy--the people who pen the editorials and edit the news reports, the people with tenure or high-paying government jobs--the people who claim the mantle of knowing what's what.
The reality is this class of entitled bourgeois is utterly clueless about the financial realities that are about to hit the global economy like a tidal wave. The top 5% aren't prepared to weather a mild storm, much less survive a tsunami. They are well and truly doomed by their self-delusion and their pathology of entitlement.
With this clueless class in positions of leadership, where does that leave the nation?
Meanwhile, the economic realities that the top 5% have evaded (thanks to the "recovery" that benefits the few at the expense of the many) have pushed U.S. Suicide Rate to a 30-Year High.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, a 20% discount thru May 1, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book's website.

NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Lessons from Japan: Decades of Decay, Unavoidable Collapse

Japan has proven that decay can be stretched into decades, but it has yet to prove that gravity can be revoked by central bank monetary games.
Japan's fiscal and monetary extremes are in the news again: this time it's the Bank of Japan's extraordinarily large ownership of Japanese stocks, a policy intended to boost "investor sentiment" and prop up sagging equity valuations:
The core failure of Japan's central bank and state is they have attempted to substitute monetary games for desperately needed social, political and economic reforms. This is the Keynesian ideology and project in a single sentence:
Keynesian policy holds that expansionary monetary and fiscal policy can be substituted for structural social, political and economic reforms, enabling the status quo to retain its power and privileges without disruption.
In effect, Japan has pursued a vast monetization campaign for 26 years. The Bank of Japan creates money out of thin air and uses the free money to buy government bonds, funding the state's enormous fiscal deficits (also known as monetizing government debt). The BoJ has extended this monetization to corporate bonds and the stock market-- effectively propping up government debt, corporate debt and the stock market with newly created money.
That these were once private-sector markets has been set aside, as the only thing that matters now is keeping them propped up, regardless of the cost. As I note in my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, when emergency measures become permanent policies, you know the status quo is on life support.
Longtime readers know I have a long history of studying Japan, starting with language and cultural studies in university (mid 1970s) and continuing into the 2000s with economic, financial and social analyses. We have many friends in Japan (representing all age groups), and maintain an on-the-ground situational awareness of cultural/social trends.
If you seek a data-based grasp of Japan's fiscal and financial decay, I recommend the following documents: the first is an easy-to-digest series of slides from an OECD study, the next two are detailed official Ministry of Finance reports in English, and the fourth one is an article describing the political resistance of the status quo in Japan to any real, systemic reform:
The key takeaway here is that decay can last for decades, enabling the status quo of the state and media to maintain the illusion that superficially all is well. As visitors and paid pundits never tire of exclaiming, Japan remains a wealthy nation where everything works wonderfully well--public transport, etc.--and the average lifestyle is enviable: long lives, good health, an abundance of consumer goodies, etc.
But this well-being has been maintained at a high cost. Social cohesion is fraying (beneath the surface, of course), birthrates continue to decline (and what does that say about a culture, that young women no longer want children?) and the signs of economic stagnation are visible to anyone who peeks beneath the hood.
The Keynesian fantasy that Japan has embraced holds that every problem can be solved by printing more money. The Keynesian faithful (a.k.a. the Keynesian Cargo Cult of Paul Krugman et al.) hold that there is no problem that can't be solved by printing more money and issuing more credit.
Not only are some problems immune to printing/borrowing more money, the reliance on printing/borrowing vast sums of money year after year creates a new set of intractable problems. Just to give one example of many: over 80% of Japan's farmers are over 60 years of age and are poised to retire in the next decade. Printing money hasn't printed new young eager farmers, nor has it changed the perverse incentives and political imbalances that are exacerbating the problem.
Decades of borrowing money in a futile attempt to avoid structural reforms has crippled Japan's fiscal future. Even at effectively zero rates of bond yields, Japan now spends roughly a quarter of its government budget on debt service--and servicing of existing debt now consumes 41% of all tax revenues.
Tax revenues only cover 64% of spending; 35.6% of the government's spending is borrowed.
These are staggeringly unsustainable policies, yet the status quo's refusal to accept fundamental structural changes dooms Japan to the TINA Trap: there is no alternative to endless monetary expansion and central-planning control of markets.
Meanwhile, the fiscal realities become more unsustainable every year. While tax revenues increased 14.7% from 51 trillion yen (TY) at the peak of the property and stock bubble in 1989 to 57.6 TY today, social security spending has tripled from 10 TY to 32 TY.
While tax revenues rose a modest 15% in 26 years, total government spending soared from 60 TY to 96.7 TY--an enormous 60% gain.
Even as the BoJ repressed interest rates paid on government bonds to near-zero, national debt service more than doubled, from 11.6 TY to 23.6 TY.
Cutting income taxes--another Keynesian staple--failed to accomplish anything but further weaken the fiscal outlook. The percentage of personal income taxes as a share of all tax revenue has plummeted, to no avail: all the conventional measures of economic vitality have continued their downward trend.
Every status quo and every nation has pursued the same fantasy: that playing monetary games such as quantitative easing and buying stocks and bonds to prop up over-valued markets can be substituted for painful structural reforms in the core fiscal, social and financial sectors.
Japan has proven that decay can be stretched into decades, but it has yet to prove that gravity can be revoked by central bank monetary games.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, a 20% discount thru May 1, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book's website.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Status Quo Has Failed and Is Beyond Reform

The truth is the usual menu of reforms can’t stop this failure, so we have to prepare ourselves for the radical transformations ahead.
That the status quo--the current pyramid of wealth and power dominated by the few at the top--has failed is self-evident, but we can't bear to talk about it.This is not just the result of a corporate media that serves up a steady spew of pro-status quo propaganda--it is also the result of self-censorship and denial.
Why do we avoid talking about the failure of the status quo? We know it is beyond reform, and we're afraid: afraid that the promises of financial security cannot be kept, afraid of our own precariousness and fragility, and afraid of what will replace the status quo, for we all know Nature abhors a vacuum, and when the status quo crumbles, something else will take its place.
We all prefer the comforting promises of vast central states. No wonder so many Russians pine for the glory days of the Soviet Union, warts and all.
But the central bank/state model has failed, and history can't be reversed. The failure is not rooted in superficial issues such as which political party is in power, or which regulations are enforced; the failure is structural. The very foundation of the status quo has rotted away, and brushing on another coat of reformist paint will not save our societal house from collapse.
Yet those who benefit from our status quo (or hope to benefit from it upon retirement) naturally deny it has failed, for the reason that it has yet to fail them personally.
So we pretend to not understand that all unsustainable systems eventually collapse, and hope that the next central bank policy--negative interest rates, or bank bail-ins or helicopter money--will postpone it.
But the writing is already on the wall for us to read: these are the tell-tale signs of systemic failure leading to systemic collapse:

  • We keep doing more of what has failed spectacularly.
  • What began as emergency measures are now permanent policies.
  • The returns on status quo solutions are diminishing to less than zero.
  • Social mobility has eroded.
  • We have lost social cohesion and shared purpose.

  • But the failure runs even deeper: Our status quo is not only failing to solve humanity’s six core problems-- it has become the problem.
    To explain why this is so, I wrote Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, a new book that's focused (90 pages) and affordable, i.e. the cost of a latte ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition).
    Why can’t our status quo be reformed? There are two primary reasons:
    1) Those benefiting from the current arrangement will resist any reforms that threaten their share of the pie--and meaningful reforms will necessarily threaten everyone’s slice of the pie.
    2) Reforms that actually address the structural flaws will bring the system down, as the status quo can only continue if its engine (permanent expansion of debt and consumption) is running at full speed. Once the engine stalls or even slows, the system collapses.
    This is unwelcome news not just to privileged insiders--and the harsh reality is that our status quo exists to protect the privileges of the few at the expense of the many--but to everyone who hopes to benefit in some way from our status quo's cornucopia of promises.
    So we cling to the dangerous hope that all the promises can be met by some future magic, and cocoon ourselves in an equally dangerous denial that collapse is inevitable. We don't just want to avoid the decay and collapse of all the happy promises--we want to avoid the responsibility of taking part in shaping the replacement system.
    We all want to wallow in the false security of one form of the old Soviet Union or another. Call it Japan, or the Eurozone, or the U.S.A., or Russia, or the People's Republic of China--they're all versions of the doomed Soviet model of central planning, propaganda and supression of anything that isn't supportive of the status quo, i.e. dissent.
    The truth is the usual menu of reforms can’t stop this failure, so we have to prepare ourselves for the radical transformations ahead. The decay and collapse of our status quo is not the disaster we assume; rather, it is good news for the planet and everyone who isn't in the privileged elites, as the collapse will clear the way for a much more sustainable decentralized system that is already visible to those who know where to look (crypto-currencies, local community economies, etc.).
    The decay phase of the status quo (i.e. the present) offers us a magnificent opportunity to fashion alternative systems that operate in the shadow of the status quo, making use of technologies such as the Internet. Alternative systems can arise without challenging the status quo; indeed, sustainable, decentralized systems offer open-minded elements of the status quo new models and new partners.
    My own proposal for a replacement system is called CLIME--the Community Labor Integrated Money System. Whether you agree with my proposal or not, the point is that we have to wake up from our propaganda-induced slumber and take responsibility for being part of the solution rather than passively clinging to the problem, i.e. our status quo.
    My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, a 20% discount thru May 1, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book's website.

    Reader Richard Rodgers alerted me to indentation errors in the text, which I have corrected. Thank you, Richard, for the heads-up. I apologize to everyone for the errors and for any delay you may experience in receiving your ebook, as the Kindle system may take a few hours to review the modified text.

    NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
    Thank you, Michael Z. ($200), for your beyond-outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.
    Thank you, G. Wayne A. ($20), for your superlatively generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

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