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Fiscal crisis stunts progressive movement

by Colin McCoy
The progressive activist has had to cope with, and continually struggles to overcome a wide variety of hurdles in the effort to improve the human condition. In recent history it has become a recognized and acknowledged fact that the best, most comprehensive solutions require that the well-being or health of our natural environment be included in the equation.
The two largest impediments to successful progressive efforts throughout our history have been 1.) Creating the needed funding/resources for a needed effort to have the best chance for success, and 2.) Working against the current levels of awareness within the society in which the progressive change is trying to be made. It is pretty obvious that these two impediments to the progressive effort are also solidly linked.
Some past examples of viewpoints that needed to be overcome: The sun revolves around the earth, the earth is flat, slavery is an acceptable economic pillar of our society, genocidal processes against indigenous people to steal their land is not a crime, carving the faces of four of our presidents into their sacred mountains was not a blatant example of psychological warfare, women should not vote, true americans are like Joseph McCarthy, the wood produced from old growth forests is more important than the environmental quality the old growth forests provide. Human created global weather change is a myth. etc.
Almost always, the successful attainment of a progressive goal has followed a period of time in which the society is made aware of a problem, the educational process takes hold, and the majority opinion shifts forward.
We have arrived at another critical moment of possibility/potential in our history.
It will be how we deal with this moment in history that will be of extreme importance in determining not only the quality of life we experience — in the future, on our planet — but also the degree in which the move into the future is as humanely achieved as is possible.
We have reached a point where the cloud of distortion in how, and why we use, and create money in our society, has now clearly dissipated, so that the truth of the situation, and the potentials this truth represents can be more easily seen than ever before.
We see the reality of the fact that it is not a factor of the finite qualities of the money supply that will dictate what is possible to achieve in our efforts to improve the quality of life and the environment in which we live.
We can see clearly that money creation has existed for decades, independent of any singular or absolute physical control from the free markets or levels of taxation. To the extent that this process/truth has made efforts to remain hidden within the false boundaries of these two economic processes, it is clear to see that this has been an artificially maintained facade, created for purposes that have always been viewed as barbarically criminal and suspect, rather than being maintained due to any real physical need actually present within these processes.
How much damage has been done to our planet, how many lives have been needlessly destroyed/lost, how many poor, spiritually bankrupt decisions have we allowed to be shoved down our collective throats? What have we heard throughout our lives? Sorry can’t happen today, not enough money!!!!!!
What we can now see that when it comes to the money supply allowed for use in our society, it is not just billions of dollars that can be created when needed, or desired, but hundreds of billions, even trillions. We see that really the only limits to this process are dictated by whether or not those governing the process do so in a prudent and sustainable manner. Don’t create economic bubbles through clearly corrupt rationals. These will ultimately fail due to a lack of this self same need for sustainability or integrity of process.
Clearly we can also see that in this situation the only other really relevant issue that must be tracked with utmost responsibility is the sustainability of the needed draw against the existing physical resources being used in this process, be it a natural resource or human resource in nature.

Debilitating debt
From an accounting standpoint there is used this thing called debt.
Debt, as it exists today in our governments operations, is really nothing more than a bottomless pit that you can potentially keep dumping IOU’s into until the end of time, without the need for repayment ever being a needed part of the equation. That is as long as the rules and requirement mentioned above are met, and you have not created a debt obligation that you must pay back that is larger than your ability to pay.
At this time, with the national debt fast approaching $11 trillion, the truth of the matter is that more than half could be just written off, we essentially owe it to ourselves, ie the Federal Reserve. The other half that is owed to foreign interests, private citizens, pension funds etc. No more than $5.5 trillion, give or take, would be easily serviced honorably and timely while we transition to what has been coined “realistic monetarism.”
Simply put, realistic monetarism is an economic system in which the physical realities of modern currency is incorporated into how we do business, with oversight and control of the process held by the citizens.
We could or perhaps should rename this step, the debt creation part of the process, existent under these modern realities. We could easily rename this step of the accounting process the “Null file or point.”
There is one point that needs to be dealt with in order for the true power of these truths to be fully and sustainably implemented. International agreement must be reached on an equitable formula for old debt resolution for all nations. At this time it is not just the United States that is making use of these truths; other nations do so also to various degrees.
The degree to which they are moving in this direction typically is related to the international view toward the nation in question’s stability of process. Right now in the United States, our stability of process and perceived — if not always real — strengths are the only thing that is allowing the current levels of cash to be created and infused into the world economy, without the wheels coming, or being torn off the bus, by our global neighbors.
Let us hope it is global trust and not a current lack of full functional awareness that is enabling the current economic recovery programs to come into being, because if it is the latter, we run the risk of being put into the position of having to see if we can run our cars and heat our homes by burning the stuff, “money.”
If we mismanage this recovery process we could end up in this position or worse anyway. The reason for this would be because a mismanagement would most likely mean one of the rules or requirements mentioned above was violated, leading again to currency and price instability.

No going back
There are some who believe we can go back to a gold standard base for our currency. This is not only physically impossible, (there’s not enough gold for global implementation, not even for the United States), but would be an evolutionary step backward. For the progressive, such an effort would leave us trapped in a world that operates with the same people calling the shots and setting the priorities as today. Needed efforts would have no better chance of being created or implemented in better timeframes than those allowed today. Does anybody want to really live in the world that will exist in 50 years if the efforts of the progressive continues to be resisted at the same level that has been seen throughout history? We have a real opportunity to end existing failed rules of engagement, very damaging rules of engagement that with our efforts today could end — and end very deservably so.
However, if we can work though this period successfully, if the international debt issues can be resolved fairly, the human race would find itself in an unprecedented position of strength from which to move forward and address the needs of our planet and people.
The progressive activist might have to spend some time getting over their shock, finding that depending on the priority of need for the at-risk group of people, or ecosystem, if the resources, human and natural were available, their project/effort could move forward.
“Prior” to the current economic crisis, a quick look at the situation indicated that an economy roughly the size of the United States could absorb at least $300 billion worth of activity/spending annually in the areas of resource procurement, and human resource wages above and beyond that generated through our traditional “free market” and funding through taxation, and more traditional-sized, $50 billion to $200 billion per year, deficit spending processes. This figure is what appears to be well within the safety zones required to ensure economic stability, but also of a size that would not step upon the sustainability of the resource needs required by our neighbors in the global community as they also implement their similar programs.
This would allow the vast majority of the wishlists of various progessive efforts to be addressed with a timeliness and intensity never before seen in the history of the human race.
The only real factor in determining what could or could not be done would be the sustainability factor of the draw against the resources being used.
We could emerge from this process, a process in which we have not only upgraded the economic structure of our society — an economic structure we have then used in dealing with the serious issues of today — the issues of today having been successfully addressed, we might have a chance to enjoy, what for the human race would be as close to a golden age as is physically possible for us to create.
For the progressive thinker or activist the current economic crisis also represents not only a tremendous opportunity for a much needed evolutionary leap forward in how we interact economically, but very serious risks as well.
If we fail to make the transition, from where we are, to where it is possible for us to be, successfully, we could very easily experience a downward evolutionary social slide. The needs and dreams of the progressive thinker would become lost in what could become a brutal battle for day to day survival, which would leave very little room or time for reflective philosophical discourse or action.
Nonprogressive social environments and thought processes will be forced upon us as the fight for food, space, and natural resources begins in earnest.
Forced upon us by a majority, that simply will no longer have the time or luxury to listen to anything different.
The economic crisis in which we are mired has also created an issue of timeliness. If the amount of foreign owned debt can be driven up high enough, it could make the transition more complicated than it needs to be.
There is an issue of timeliness involved, if the amount of foreign-owned debt is allowed to grow significantly, it could complicate the transition process.
The other danger to the progressives, and to us all, is reflected in the following quote from Alexander Fraser Tytler: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.”
The time in which we live has presented us with a test — a test that may very well determine the future of the human race on this planet. Can we be responsible, can we resist the urge to try and use the power we could hold to enrich ourselves in an unearned fashion? This last issue may be the biggest threat to the progressive movement being able to harness the power available to us all.
It is also possible, under negative aspects of this scenario, for progressive thinkers to emerge from the rubble with a renewed chance to build a better world. Sure ... it’s possible ... but what progressive thinker would wish for humanity to have to go through this negative scenario if our efforts today could allow it to be avoided.
There is a new game in town; how and who determines its use will be decided by the action or inaction of the people.
Perhaps, as in a past historical moment, someone should enquire: who should be the last to die or suffer needlessly under the failed rules of operation of our current global economic system?

Colin Stuart McCoy runs The Sunrise Foundation, a Portland-based progressive organization with the goal of raising awareness about the physical realities of our national and international currencies.



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Last Updated: May 22, 2009