after Collapse: Political Structures for Creative Response to the Ecological
by John Culp
As society grapples with the reality of
climate change, many believe that technology will somehow save the planet. As
this book argues, that is not enough: larger-scale collaboration, coordination,
and funding is needed. Individuals and groups, even with significant personal
resources, will not be able to reverse the present course of ecological
disaster. What our endangered planet needs is broadly supported community
action, which is what happens when people come together and organize for the
common good. What we need, in short, is political structures and actions. The
essays in this book examine the political structures that have led to our
present crisis and offer concrete lessons from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, and
Greece, that can, if heeded, bring us back from the brink and toward an
This book of essays emerged out of some of the presentations
that were given at a major conference, Seizing
an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization. that was organized by Center
for Process Studies and held at Pomona College (CA) in June 2015 and attended
by more than 1500 people. It includes two of my own essays, Greece and the Global Debt Crisis, and How Private Currencies and Credit Clearing
Exchanges Can Help Save Civilization, as well as essays by John Cobb, Ellen
Brown, Gayle McLaughlin and several others.
The full list of contents and order form can be found here.
The book can also be ordered on Amazon.com
Posted in Developing Alternatives, Economics, Emerging paradigm, Environment, Exchange Design, Geo-politics, Implementation Strategies, Politics
Tagged community building, community currencies, credit clearing, debt crisis, decentralization, local activism, oligarchy
Charles Hugh Smith’s article, Loving Our Debt-Serfdom: Our Neofeudal Status Quo, exposes the stark reality and brilliantly explains our current predicament.
Smith begins by defining the terms, Neoliberal, Neocolonial, and Neofeudal, then goes on to explain how they operate in today’s world. He says,
“Neofeudalism is a subtle control structure that is invisible to those who buy into the Mainstream Media portrayal of our society and economy. This portrayal includes an apparent contradiction: America is a meritocracy–the best and brightest rise to the top, if they have pluck and work hard– and America is all about identity politics: whomever doesn’t make it is a victim of bias.
Both narratives neatly ignore the neofeudal structure which disempowers the workforce in the public sphere and limits the opportunities to build capital outside the control of the state-corporate duopoly.”
He goes on to describe the control mechanisms that characterized historical feudalism and outlines their present neofeudal manifestation, saying, “Our system is Neofeudal because the non-elites have no real voice in the public sphere, and ownership of productive capital is indirectly suppressed by the state-corporate duopoly,” and backs it up with numbers that show the growing income and wealth inequality and crushing debt burden of the lower classes.
Read the complete article here. Highly recommended!
# # #
An academic study from the European School of Management and Technology highlights the utter futility of the bailout programs in pulling Greece out of the quagmire of debt bondage and economic depression.The report concludes:
“This paper provides a descriptive analysis of where the Greek bailout money went since 2010 and finds that, contrary to widely held beliefs, less than €10 billion or a fraction of less than 5% of the overall programme went to the Greek fiscal budget. In contrast, the vast majority of the money went to existing creditors in the form of debt repayments and interest payments. The resulting risk transfer from the private to the public sector and the subsequent risk transfer within the public sector from international organizations such as the ECB and the IMF to European rescue mechanisms such as the ESM still constitute the most important challenge for the goal to achieve a sustainable fiscal situation in Greece.”
See Rocholl *, J., and A. Stahmer(2016). Where did the Greek bailout money go? ESMT White Paper No. WP–16–02. http://static.esmt.org/publications/whitepapers/WP-16-02.pdf
My two month visit to Greece last summer prompted me to develop some proposals that might be applied in Greece and other countries where the government has become insolvent. I’ve written these up in an article that was recently published in the online journal, Common Dreams. You can read it there or here below. It was also republished on Resilience and can be found there.
50 ways to leave the Euro: Greece and the global crisis
By Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
The problem is all inside your head, I told the Greeks
The answer is easy, you need only stop the leaks
The power is yours to claim the freedom that you seek
There must be fifty ways to leave the Euro
(Apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)
Following the resounding “NO” vote by the Greek people on the bailout conditions in the July referendum, the negotiations between the Greek government and “the institutions” resumed with the expectation that a better deal for Greece would ensue. The outcome was quite the contrary. Greek negotiators ended up agreeing to a bailout deal that was far more onerous than the one the voters had rejected. Why?
The harsh reality is that the Greek government is insolvent. Having been lured into the debt-trap and the shared euro currency by western oligarchs using a combination of measures, including outright fraud, Greece was forced to accept the onerous conditions attached to the first two bailouts. Now it has been bludgeoned into accepting a third. The weapon of choice is the euro currency itself which is being wielded by the European Central Bank (ECB). By throttling the flow of euro currency into the country, the ECB last summer created near chaos in the Greek economy. This, and the threat of even more severe punishment in the future, was enough to bring the Greek government to heel.
With sovereign debt up around 180% of GDP, there is no way that the Greek government will ever be able to grow its way out of the current mess. The draconian measures demanded by the creditor institutions will just make it worse. Even the IMF has acknowledged (with apparent reluctance) that some debt relief is necessary for the Greek economy to recover. The new agreement forces the Greek government to yield even more sovereignty and to open its economy and its people more fully to exploitation by corporate interests and transnational banking institutions. Read the entire article…
After almost six months of “negotiations,” the Greek government has surrendered to the demands of the powers-that-be. In an interview that was conducted shortly after his resignation but prior to the deal just concluded between the Greek government and the European “institutions,” former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, indicated that the outcome was determined from the very beginning. Pointing to a “complete lack of any democratic scruples, on behalf of the supposed defenders of Europe’s democracy,” he said, “At some point it was put to me very unequivocally: ‘This is a horse and either you get on it or it is dead.’”
Regarding contingency plans, Varoufakis commented that “if they dared shut our banks down,” strong action would need to be taken “..but without crossing the point of no return.” He said, “We should issue our own IOUs, or even at least announce that we’re going to issue our own euro-denominated liquidity; we should haircut the Greek 2012 bonds that the ECB held, or announce we were going to do it; and we should take control of the Bank of Greece. This was the triptych, the three things, which I thought we should respond with if the ECB shut down our banks.” But his recommendations were voted down by his colleagues.
Some further excerpts:
“Nothing shocks me these days – our Eurozone is a very inhospitable place for decent people. It wouldn’t shock me either [for Prime Minister Tsipras] to stay on and accept a very bad deal. Because I can understand he feels he has an obligation to the people that support him, support us, not to let this country become a failed state.
But I’m not going to betray my own view, that I honed back in 2010, that this country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we’ve solved the problem, when we haven’t; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have-nots, creating a humanitarian crisis. It’s something I’m not going to accept. I’m not going to be party to.”
You can read the full interview here.
Sunday, July 05, 2015. Somewhere in Greece.
As we await the outcome of the referendum vote, the atmosphere here is one of calm expectancy. In my view, the Greek crisis is shaping up to be a major battle with the forces of banking and corporate power that are intent on imposing a neo-feudal New World Order, arrayed against those who are hoping to preserve some hope of social justice, economic equity, self-determination, and democratic government. It is a Goliath vs. David situation.
With mostly propaganda coming from the mainstream media, people’s beliefs are shaped to conform to the picture that serves the Goliath agenda. Be not deceived. This article referred to below is very important and offers a deeper insight into the Greek situation.-t.h.g.
Behind the Greek Crisis
July 2, 2015
Exclusive: The usual narrative of the Greek economic tragedy is that the country is paying for its past profligacy, but there is deeper back story of political repression fueled by major powers intervening in Greece and contributing to a dysfunctional political system, recalls ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.
By William R. Polk
Read it here: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/02/behind-the-greek-crisis/
And, here is another pertinent article, this enough to make one cry: How Europe Played Greece: “We would rather Deal with Corrupt but Obedient Leaders, than Honest ones with Ideas of Sovereignty” By Alex Andreou, Global Research, July 04, 2015
In this three-minute interview, Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimson explains that their recovery from the economic crisis was based on actions that went against the orthodox prescriptions–Let the banks fail, introduce currency controls, provide support for the poor, don’t push austerity measures. Why are banks the “holy churches of the economy?”
The Greek economy has been crippled by the austerity demanded by international financial institutions. This Wall Street Journal video report shows how some Greeks are coping by going back to the land.
Every country is caught in the usury trap that is inherent in the global debt-money system, and all will follow the same course in turn. Those who happen to have land to go back to are the lucky ones.–t.h.g.