Category Archives: Prescriptions

What’s coming and how to prepare?

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR TROUBLED TIMES

By Thomas H. Greco. Jr.

For years I’ve been saying that we are being led, actually “driven,” toward a new global paradigm that is at once financial, economic, political and social, and I’ve been urging people to prepare for it. They naturally ask me what sorts of changes to expect and what they ought to do to be prepared. I first compiled a list of my ideas on that way back in the mid-1980s, a list that I’ve revised slightly from time to time and republished in various places. Since then the times have become increasingly “troubled” and I am convinced that the situation is quickly approaching a climax during which we-the-people who are not included in the super-class will be hard pressed to maintain any semblance of normality in our lives. We will be challenged as never before to adapt and to find ways to survive (and thrive) in the face of what I’ve been calling the global “mega-crisis” the dimensions of which include global warming, climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and financial and political malfeasance that are causing inflation, depressions, wars, loss of freedom, and that will ultimately enable the super class to engineer a “great reset” and usher in their New World Order.

Here is my latest revision of my Survival Strategies for Troubled Times.

General Strategies
Do what you can to enhance your own health, resiliency and independence, but don’t try to “go it alone;” our safety, survivability, quality of life, and happiness lie in our relationships and mutual interdependence. It pays to be kind, helpful, and cooperative with those around us and to work together to build a new human-centered convivial civilization.

HEALTH, SAFETY, AND SELF-RELIANCE
Learn healthy living and acquire a diversity of practical skills. Cultivate a low input lifestyle. Secure your own material needs as much as possible, and find a safe place to live.

COOPERATION AND MUTUAL SUPPORT
Build mutually supportive relationships. Nurture the development of networks and self-contained, cooperative communities.

DISENGAGE
Reduce your dependence upon conventional systems and structures, governments and institutions, especially those that are being used to drain away our wealth, like political fiat money. Get out of the debt trap and reduce your financial obligations, Shift yout financial resources from Wall Street investments to investments in Main Street. 

BE ALERT AND BE INVOLVED
Keep attuned to the changing global conditions of humanity and its habitats. Consult a variety of news sources, not just the ones whose views you typically agree with. Participate in local politics. Ask tough questions. Work with others to help solve local, regional, national, and global problems.

SPECIFIC POSSIBILITIES TO CONSIDER:

1. Food. Grow at least some of your own food, store staple food items, save seeds, plant perennial food plants, especially fruit and nut trees. Learn how to forage for wild foods – many “weeds” are edible. Support local (preferably organic) farmers.

Participate in “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as “subscription farming.” This is an arrangement in which a group of consumers contract to support an area farmer who in turn delivers their produce to the contracting group. The farmer is guaranteed a market and the consumers are guaranteed a supply of fresh wholesome food.

2. Collect valued items and useful commodities that are likely to retain their value and can be used as exchange media. Some favor gold and silver coins. In modest amounts, these may be useful in the event of hyper-inflation or collapse of the currency. I prefer to hold things that are more useful, like tools, equipment, materials, and books.

3. Get out of the large cities, if possible. Locate a country place that you can retreat to if and when it becomes necessary. Buy productive land that can support you and your family. Choose land that can provide food, clean water, and fuel. Ideally, locate near small towns where you have access to helpful neighbors and common facilities. If you lack the resources to buy land on your own, consider buying in partnership with others or organizing a Community Land Trust, a legal arrangement in which a trustee organization holds title to land while assuring secure tenure, but limits individual speculative gains.

4. Build community where you are. If you must live in a city, get to know your neighbors and organize neighborhood cooperatives and mutual-support structures. Large cities depend on a complex and well maintained infrastructure, and the importation of tremendous amounts of resources from distant places. In hard times these systems may fail, in whole or in part. Learn about critical systems like water, electricity, gas, sewage disposal, health care, and police protection. With your neighbors, plan back-up strategies and create back-up systems that will assure at least minimal life-support. Get involved in local politics and hold officials accountable.

5. Disengage financially. Begin to disengage from the conventional financial systems as much as possible. Don’t depend too much on banks or other fiduciaries, and avoid, as much as possible, the use of the conventional money system. If banks fail, you may lose your deposits, while finding that your debts remain. Convert most of your financial assets to real (tangible) assets while holding some in liquid form for payment of taxes, utilities, and other necessities that require monetary payment. Support the emerging decentralized economy that promotes humane values, equity, social justice, sustainability, and local self-determination. Help to organize and use properly issued community currencies and credit clearing exchange systems.

6. Become debt-free; kick the credit habit; pay as you go. Don’t get caught in the “usury trap.” Especially, avoid borrowing from predatory lenders and credit card companies. Do not borrow to buy consumer goods; purchase these only when you can pay for them in full. Get out of debt as quickly as you can and stay out of debt. If you must borrow, borrow from people, not banks. In a crunch, it’s better to have your debts in friendly hands, someone who won’t take advantage of your distress or press for foreclosure. If you have a home which is mortgaged or are making payments on a major durable item such as a car or truck, you might consider the following possible options:

a. Accelerate your repayment schedule by making extra principal payments out of current income.

b. Refinance using funds obtained from individuals-relatives, friends or associates to pay off the bank. You might obtain from them non-interest-bearing loans or, better yet, negotiate a contract that will allow for sharing of both the risks and benefits of ownership. You might give the new funds providers a part-ownership in the property. You, the user/occupant, would pay rent on a lease and they would receive a part of the rent in proportion to their investment. You would also buy back their investment over time.

c. In the case of a farm or multi-unit residential property, you might create a “community land trust” or LLC to hold title to the property which you would then lease back on a long term basis. Others would put up enough money to repay the bank mortgage in return for equity in the buildings or a lease hold on the land.

d. Another possibility is to sell the property and buy one you can afford to hold free-and-clear.

e. If you are in extreme debt, filing personal bankruptcy may be an option. Consult a financial advisor or lawyer for advice, which can often be obtained through non-profit organizations like councils on aging or legal aid.

7. Simplify your lifestyle and reduce your needs. Learn how to live better with less. Do it yourself, fix what you have, reuse, make-do, or do without. Share with others. Kick the shopping habit and emphasize non-material satisfactions and gifts.

8. Learn to share and cooperate. Secure your basic necessities like food and shelter by creating community and cooperative arrangements. Possibilities to consider are neighborhood associations, buying clubs, food cooperatives, shared or co-op housing, barter clubs, trade associations or mutual credit clearing exchanges.

9. Finally, engage with others to work out your own ways of securing access to the basic necessities–water, food, shelter, energy, clothing, tools and equipment, transportation, and health care, and through it all keep a positive, hopeful attitude, and make time to play, meditate, and pray.

Follow my websites: BeyondMoney.net and ReinventingMoney.com.
Read my article, Confronting the Power Elite.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

This article has also been published on Expert Click and Medium

A new paper on my Solar Dollar proposal has been published.

On July 12, 2021, I presented my Solar Dollar proposal as part of a two day virtual conference titled Pathways to Resilient Zero Carbon Cities, organized by Zero Carbon Lab, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire (UK). Following that presentation, I was invited to submit a paper describing my proposal for publication in an academic journal. That paper titled, Solar Dollars: A Complementary Currency that Incentivizes Renewable Energy, has now been published and can be read or downloaded at https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.785145.

February 2022 Newsletter: The State of the Economy: What’s going on, what to expect, and how to prepare.

Photo by Daniel Sessler, unsplash

These are the topics covered in this newsletter edition:

  • The State of the Economy
  • What’s going on and how to prepare?
  • Social Collapse Best Practices
  • Prospects and Prescriptions from Ernst Wolff     
  • My Recent presentations and interview
  • The End of Money
  • Personal News

Rather than post the entire contents here, I’ve decided to simply provide the link to it on my MailChimp site:
http://mailchi.mp/acd12f7f51ba/the-state-of-the-economy-whats-going-on-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare   
If you want to be on my list to receive my occasional newsletters directly by email, you can subscribe there.

Comments are welcome and can be left here.

My latest interview on It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown

I was the featured guest on Ellen Brown’s podcast of December 30, 2021. I consider this to be one of my best interviews in which I covered a wide range of the most important questions related to rebuilding our system of money and finance. My interview is comprised of the first 38 minutes of the program.

This audio together with a transcript can also be found here.

Transcending the present political money system–the urgent need and the way to do it.

In case you missed my webinar and would like to see the presentation, here is the recording that was made. The first part is a specially prepared slide show presentation titled, A World Without Money, Interest, and Debt: A Pathway Toward Economic Equity, Social Justice, Freedom, and Peace. The webinar concludes with a short video titled, VITA: A worldwide web of exchange, Locally controlled but globally useful, in which I describe my vision of a new decentralized, peer-to-peer, system of exchange.
The question and answer portion is not include.

Updates:
A PDF file of the slide show plus some added pertinent slides can be viewed here.
I’ve recently added an edited recording of the discussion that followed my presentation. You can view it at Q&A Discussion.

The Worldwide Walkout, Wednesday, November 3

Over the period from July to October 2020 I wrote and published three articles in my “Walking Away series. My aim was to show readers a more complete picture of our predicament, to present some largely overlooked facts, and to alert readers to the dangers of following the course that political leaders across the globe had set for us.  
 
In part one, as in my previous writings, I pointed out that we are presently confronted with a global multi-dimensional mega-crisis which global leaders propose to address with various techno-fixes that will do little to solve our problems but will further reduce individual freedom, free enterprise, and community control, and ratchet up the power and wealth of an elite “super class” that are determined to impose a “new world order” of mass surveillance, regimentation, and domination.
 
Now, more than a year later, it has become patently clear to anyone who cares to open their eyes that this is precisely where we are about to arrive. While we were assured that mask mandates were just a temporary precaution to slow the spread and “flatten the curve,” they have been continued by various governmental entities, medical facilities, and private businesses in many places including my home city and county where one must mask up to enter public buildings, even the public libraries. We were also assured that there was no need for vaccine mandates, and that medical passports would not be imposed, but now they are well on the way to becoming universal. If you think it will end with that, think again. Power and wealth have been so thoroughly concentrated in the hands of that “super class” who own and control the systems and institutions on which we all depend, that they are able to completely dominate the rest of us. Every new technology provides them with better tools to more effectively shape your perceptions, to monitor your every move; to control where you go, what you do, with whom you do it, and your access to everything you need. Everyone who is not a member of that relatively small class will be living in an open air prison.
 
Canada in the coming weeks is launching a standardized proof of vaccination credential for both domestic and international travel that will be required of everyone. Airline pilots in the US have been resisting similar moves by the US government and airline companies, but their attempts to block the mandates through the courts have so far been rebuffed.
 
Even more extreme demands are being made upon citizens in other places, like India. Just the first 5 minutes of this Jimmy Dore report is enough to show you the picture of what is being implemented there and is already programmed to be deployed worldwide. A social credit system similar to what has been operating for some time in China will be rolled out everywhere. As the old vaudevillians and early TV performers used to say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
 
Primary features of the New World Order are “transhumanism” and the “the Internet of Things” (IoT) in which everything is wirelessly connected to the internet, including machinery, robots, livestock, pets, household appliances, and YOU. But as Microsoft describes it, “The Internet of Things isn’t just about connected devices—it’s about the information those devices collect and the powerful, immediate insights that can be garnered from that information.”  From a purely physical/material perspective, there may be some advantages to that, but who will have access to all that information, and how will it be used? Can they be trusted to use it to our benefit? It’s obvious where this is heading: Today the medical passport, tomorrow the implanted chip that you will need to gain access to everything.  Like the cattle in this video, you will be “managed” by your masters. Are you willing to surrender your life to a centralized “Big Brother” authority? Where will you draw the line? Do you want to be a “thing” in this “brave new world?”
 
We humans are more than physical bodies; there is a spiritual dimension to our existence, a force that gives us life, consciousness, intellect, emotions, creativity, and free will. Another civilization is possible and it has been in the process of emerging for a very long time. It is a civilization that is being built upon better sentiments and values than fear, hatred, and limitless greed. It is a civilization in which the spiritual aspects of being are valued above the material.
 
The Worldwide Walkout
Now is the time to stand up and refuse to submit to the New World Order, the Great Reset, and the Brave New World that the oligarchs want to impose on us. Our rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of worship, freedom to refuse medical treatments, and all of the other hard won freedoms that have been the object of centuries of struggle are rapidly being stolen from us. We the people need to strongly express our refusal to submit. A Worldwide Walkout is happening this Wednesday, November 3.  In this one minute video, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is urging everyone to get out onto the streets on Wednesday to make our resistance visible. I am suggesting that we need to go even further. While our actions must remain non-violent, our massive demonstrations need to be accompanied by non-participation in the “system” that has become totally corrupted. Let’s make November 3 the day on which we begin to seriously withdraw from the old corrupt civilization by refusing, as much as we are able, to buy anything (and if you must buy something, pay for it using cash to preserve some shreds of financial privacy); let’s refuse to go to work except only for critical jobs (in health care and other front line occupations); let’s get creative and share other ideas for non-participation, and let’s make this a recurring event that builds with each iteration. 
 
Many workers, especially in the airline industry have been asserting their power by not showing up for work, resulting in thousands of flight cancellations and delays. On the heels of the massive disruptions to Southwest Airlines operations a few weekends ago during which thousands of flights were cancelled and many more delayed, similar disruptions have occurred to American Airlines just this past weekend. Most mainstream media blamed them on the weather but that is patently false. This local Dallas TV report at least was halfway honest in reporting: American Airlines Cancels 1000+ Flights Sunday Due to Weather, Staffing Shortages. Cancelled AA flights over the weekend reportedly numbered more than 2000 and the disruptions have continued into the workweek with an additional 400 flights cancelled as of early Monday morning. Staffing shortages in many other businesses and industries are further evidence that growing numbers of people are refusing to accept the increasingly onerous terms and conditions of employment and are just choosing to “walk away.”

We the people have the power. The system cannot stand without our consent and participation.  Submission is our downfall. We must rise up and take action, not only for ourselves but also for our fellows who remain blind to the corrupting forces that have them still in thrall, and especially for our posterity, the Earth and the entire web of life. We are not alone, more people are waking up, and with courage, faith and compassion we can overcome the forces of tyranny and avert our descent into the totalitarian nightmare.

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E. C. Riegel and Private Enterprise Money

Announcing,  The Monetary Wisdom of E. C. Riegel: An annotated précis of Private Enterprise Money, with commentary compiled by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

I have long credited E. C. Riegel as the foremost authority in shaping my understanding of money and the process of reciprocal PEMexchange. His penetrating insights and proposals for a new independent system for the exchange of value have provided a solid foundation for my own work of developing improved exchange mechanisms that I consider to be crucial to the future of civilization.

Riegel’s book, Private Enterprise Money, published in 1944, is perhaps the most complete and concise statement of his insights and proposals. For that reason I have undertaken the task to extract what I consider to be Riegel’s most important insights, interpret for the contemporary reader the passages that seem difficult to understand, and articulate the few points on which I disagree with Riegel. With that said, I urge every serious student of money and exchange to read Riegel’s book, Private Enterprise Money, in its entirety, as well as Riegel’s other works which are available to be freely downloaded from my website, BeyondMoney.net.  

Solar Dollars — a community currency based on real value

In August of 2016, I posted a white paper that described in some detail how a private or community currency ought to be issued on the basis of real value, which in this case is the electric energy from renewable sources that a utility company provides to its customers. My fundamental objectives in implementing such a program are:
(1) To incentivize a more rapid shift from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable sources,
(2) To help communities to become more resilient and self-determined, and
(3) To enable the decentralization of economic and political power.

The immediate benefits of this plan are:

  1. It provides the issuing company with an interest-free source of short-term credit,
  2. It provides the community with a sound and reliable supplemental means of payment that can:
    • Augment the supply of debased and often unavailable official money,
    • Circulate throughout the local community connecting the unused capacity of local businesses with the unmet needs of people in the community,
    • Remain within the local economy to encourage local spending and local economic development.

Once this basic concept of “monetizing” the value of real goods and services is understood, it can be applied to any goods or services that are in steady demand and are readily available for sale by a trusted issuer(s).

In July of 2021, I was invited to give a presentation on the Solar Dollar currency at a virtual conference that was sponsored by the Zero Carbon Lab at the University of Hertfordshire (UK). That presentation was recorded and can now be viewed on the Zero Carbon Lab website at http://zerocarbonlab.com/rzcc-2021/videos/ThomasGreco.html or here.

The white paper, Solar Dollars-a private currency with multiple benefits, is still available. You are welcome to quote it with proper attribution, or download and distribute it provided it remains unchanged.

Special Note:
This same basic currency model can be used not only to promote the shift to renewable energy but also to promote other desirable economic shifts. The fact is that the value of any product or service that is in everyday demand can be monetized in the form of a private currency. Providers of organically produced food, for example, could issue Organic Dollars or Bio Dollars by using them to pay their contractors, suppliers, and employees, in just the same way as we described for the issuance of Solar Dollars.

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How to Fix Money, Banking, and the Economy, and Usher in a New Convivial Civilization

The jungle reclaims its own

It is clear that governments and banking corporations have long colluded in creating the present system of money, banking and finance that dominates economies around the world, and that they have no interest in making the kinds of changes that would reduce their power or share the wealth more fairly. As I have described it before, the banking cartel has been given the privilege of creating money out of thin air as debt and charging interest for its use, while the central governments get to spend as much as they want for whatever they want without regard to their limited tax revenues or the popular will.

In a recent interview, Prof. Richard Werner confirmed that fact and also explained that banks have been buying the wrong kinds of assets with the money they create, and that is why programs of “quantitative easing” (QE) have failed to achieve the outcomes he intended when he proposed them.

He argues, as I have, that we need more small banks that direct their money creation power toward small enterprises that will use the funds for productive purposes and strengthen their local economies. But the long term trend has been in the opposite direction, toward fewer and bigger banks that direct funds toward big corporations and capital funds that use the money for asset purchases, and toward central governments that use the money to acquire massive amounts of weaponry and conduct military adventures and destructive wars around the world.

But our most pressing need is to eliminate the growth imperative that arises from banks creating and lending money at compound interest. Since interest on money created as debt accrues with the passage of time and causes the debt to grow, the money supply is never sufficient for all loans to be repaid, so additional loans must be made in order to keep the money supply from shrinking and causing recessions or depressions. Since the money supply always lags behind the total amount owed, the economy is stimulated toward artificial and wasteful expansion of economic output. Not all increases in GDP are beneficial, and some are downright destructive. The production and use of weapons of war, for example, add to GDP but provide nothing to satisfy basic human needs or desires, and actually result in the destruction of existing infrastructure and death and misery for the people who happen to be on the receiving end.

If the necessary changes cannot be expected to come from the top of the economic and political pyramid, then they must emerge from the grassroots. Achievement of a steady state, equitable, peaceful and environmentally friendly economy requires deep restructuring of our systems of exchange and finance, and a shift away from debt finance and the increasing size and power of corporations and national governments.

As I’ve argued before in my articles and books, banks are supposed to perform two essential functions, the exchange function and the finance function. In the exchange function they should provide flexible short-term interest-free lines of credit to active buyers and sellers that are ready, willing, and able to provide goods and services to the market immediately or in the near term. This, in effect, monetizes the value of each business’s goods inventories or their capacity to provide valued services in the short run. As an adjunct to providing them with short-term exchange credit, banks should also provide them with credit clearing services in which their purchases are offset by their sales. This is precisely the sort of service that has been provided since 1934 by the Swiss WIR Bank (founded originally as the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative), and by the scores of commercial trade (or “barter”) exchanges that have been operating around the world.

In contrast to the exchange function, the finance function requires long-term credit instead of short-term credit. In performing the finance function banks should not create new money but should reallocate the temporary surplus funds of savers to entrepreneurs who will use it for productive purposes like capital improvements that increase their capacity to produce and distribute needed goods and services, and not for speculative and non-productive asset purchases. Further, they should provide these funds, not as interest-bearing loans, but as temporary equity that, unlike debt, causes the providers of funds to share both the risks as well as the rewards of business enterprise, and does not cause the growth imperative. If the equity stake of the bank is temporary instead of permanent, that will prevent the endless accumulation of vast pools of capital and will make capital a servant to productive enterprise rather than its master. Such equity shares that banks would administer on behalf of their depositors (savers) should expire after the original funds have been repaid to the savers along with a reasonable share of the profits that have been earned during the period of the agreement.  

By making these simple changes in the kinds of banks we have, and way money and banks work, we can eliminate the endless expansion of debt, the inequitable distribution of power and wealth, the erosion of democratic government and the despoliation of the environment, and usher in a new more peaceful civilization.

If existing banks are unwilling to make these changes, or if existing banking regulations do not permit them, they can be implemented by other organizations that are entirely outside the banking system. The commercial trade exchanges mentioned earlier have, for more than 40 years, been facilitating the exchange function by providing credit clearing services to small and medium sized businesses, and are classified by the US government as “third party record keepers” that are not subject to banking regulations. By making some minor improvements in their operations and by networking them together, trade exchanges can evolve the exchange function in ways that can provide a worldwide web of exchange in which interest-free credit is locally controlled but globally useful.

Likewise, the finance function can be, and is, increasingly provided by small investors directly to entrepreneurs without involving banks by using innovative mechanisms like crowdfunding, community investment funds, and direct public offerings. By providing investment funds to SMEs and cooperatives in the form of equity shares, interest-free loans, or revenue shares, they can help rebuild local economies in ways that make communities more resilient and self-reliant, and most of this can be achieved by private enterprise without the need to enact any new laws or regulations.

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The Relentless Rise of Corporate Power

big-umbrella

Did you know that after winning independence from the British Empire “…our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. 

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused)…

  • Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
  • Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
  • Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
  • Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

Read the whole story, Our Hidden History of Corporations in the U.S.

You might also wish to consult David Korten’s excellent book, When Corporations Rule the World, and Thom Hartmann’s Unequal Protection: The rise of corporate dominance and theft of human rights.

To be entertained while being informed and inspired watch the movie, They Live.
TheyLive1
Obey, Consume, Stay asleep, Watch TV, Submit, Conform

There is a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to put an end to corporate personhood and re-impose reasonable limits on corporate powers.
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.”    — Move to Amend

I consider huge transnational corporations to be the malevolent aliens among us. The small elite class of humans who control them are using these corporations to shape a global neo-feudal dystopia in which they will be absolute masters over the rest of humanity, the Earth, and all of its resources. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people remain complacent and blind to this reality, but it cannot exist without our complicity. You don’t need special glasses to see the truth, just open your eyes, don’t be afraid to inquire, trust your own senses, and think for yourself. The way toward a better future for ourselves, our children, and our posterity lies in reducing our dependence upon all of the social, economic, political and subsidiary systems and structures that have been utterly corrupted, and working together to empower ourselves and our communities to be more self-reliant and masters of our own destiny.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
            — William Ernest Henley.