Zeitgeist, except a couple

Here’s an e-mail exchange with my brother.

Robert Reynolds wrote:
Have you ever seen this movie? http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

This guy does an EXCELLENT job of collecting information to illustrate what a lot of us already know. Definitely worth seeing. Don’t hesitate to skip forward to 9:00, though, because nothing really happens before then.

Joy wrote:
I think I’ve seen the 9/11 part before (it sure looks familiar), but the other parts were new to me. I really enjoyed the first part about the religions.
Steve was telling me about zeitgeist several years ago, but I don’t recall what specifically he said about it.

Robert Reynolds wrote:
My favorite part is the George Carlin quote. After you see the whole Religion section, then skip back to George and it makes it even more funny…. or disgusting, or something.

Joy wrote:
I watched the Addendum movie too. It was okay, but I think those Project Venus people haven’t thought things through…like what about all of us that don’t want to live in a very technological society and how do you jump from the current model to their model?
But it did have a couple of action items you can do at the end (mostly boycotting).

Robert Reynolds wrote:
I just finished watching the Addendum. The guy makes a lot of sense, but there are a couple of assumptions that I disagree with. First is the assumption that the current system is on track for collapse. That doesn’t make sense because money is a scalable system. They’ve already inflated the supply by a factor of 20, so why can’t they inflate it 20 or a thousand times again? You just count in higher numbers and it keeps going the way it always has. The only reason why things collapse is because they lend a lot of money then cut it back, just to make people go out of business. The Venus Project’s idea about a non-monetary society sounds pretty good, but just switching to honest money would be a great improvement.
The other thing I don’t necessarily agree with is the assertion that there is no such thing as human nature. Maybe there is and maybe there isn’t. Do you think people would willingly live in a system where there was no ownership? Is it natural to claim something for yourself? You see that behavior throughout the animal kingdom. Maybe you could engineer a system to override that instinct, but I’m not so sure it would really work. How do you decide where somebody’s home is? Does somebody else have the right to challenge the decision and claim the home, or insist that they share it part-time?

  • Robert Reynolds wrote:
    Oh yeah, I forgot to answer your question. If they want to build their high tech society and don’t want to tax you and me for it, I won’t complain. Maybe part of their grand design is to allow some people to escape from high-tech lifestyles if they want to. Regarding their idea for boycotts, do you think that could bring down the system? I don’t. I’m already doing it, and it hasn’t worked yet. I just don’t know how you can get the elitists to relinquish their control peacefully. You’d probably have to kill all of them to get anywhere, and that doesn’t really fit with the peaceful model they are trying to establish. That goes back to human nature again. It seems like no matter what location or period of history you look at, some guy always comes along to enslave everybody else, and the average people always let him. How do you get away from that reality?

    Joy wrote:
    There wouldn’t be a tax — no money. But they could say they want X amount of your time and effort to get it going. That’s where I think it won’t work. The getting-going stage requires massive redirection of resources and effort to set it all up.
    I don’t think boycotts work. The guys in charge just start another company with another name and do business through that instead.
    Is it human nature to be either Service To Self or Service To Others? One enslaves and the other lets him.

    Robert Reynolds wrote:
    That’s an interesting thought. Currently everybody is forced to contribute through taxes, or through getting a job to earn fake money. But if you announce that everybody has complete freedom and equal ownership, how do you decide what to do with the resources? Does everybody vote? If you want a new gadget, do you just write your name on the list? If there’s a disagreement, do you submit your case to an arbitration board, and does the arbitrator become the new tyrant?

    Joy wrote:
    Yeah, they didn’t mention anything about government or a co-op or anything.

Joy wrote:
As for collapse being inevitable, I doubt it. But the way that the money comes into existence and there isn’t any extra to pay the interest, it seems like it has to collapse eventually. Honest money would help a lot.
I don’t know about human nature. I think we all have it, but it varies a lot. You’re right about ownership, though. If people are given things, they feel entitled and don’t value the things. And I’ve wondered the same thing about a communist society. Can’t you live anywhere you want?

Robert Reynolds wrote:
If the economy had to collapse eventually, it would have collapsed immediately. Instead, you just keep multiplying by 1.09, if that’s what the interest rate is. (or whatever factor you want to make up to represent the expansion of the money supply) It doesn’t have to collapse because you just keep doing the same thing over and over, with a bigger and bigger measuring stick to count the money.
It’s like a parabolic curve on a graph. It never reaches the axis, but it keeps getting closer and closer. Everybody thinks it must eventually reach the line, but it never does.

Joy wrote:
It’s not just the money supply that is multiplying. It’s the amount that is owed, that is money that does not exist. You have more and more interest to pay and the interest is outside of the money supply.

Robert Reynolds wrote:
That still doesn’t mean that a crash is inevitable. It just means that the increase in money supply has to be exponential, rather than just a simple multiplication, to provide enough to keep things running. The economy can continue as it is with more and more zeros on the end of all the numbers.

Joy wrote:
Seems like it to me.
US Debt Clock

Robert Reynolds wrote:
That’s neat, spending about $100,000 per second…

When you say “seems like it to me”, do you mean it seems like it has to fall apart eventually, or were you agreeing with my point of view?

I’ll tell you why I don’t think it has to crash. In the classic ponzi scheme you find three chumps to be on the level below you, then you write everybody’s names on a paper, then you tell them each to recruit three more chumps. Then you have 9 people on the third level, each of whom gives you ten dollars so you make $90. Then you rewrite the sheet as 3 sheets, you drop off and your 3 recruits are at the top, and their recruits are now looking for 27 chumps.

There was a ponzi scheme going around at Texas Tech when I was there, believe it or not. Then the organizers got busted. Anyway, the problem with this particular game is that the university (or other investment pool) is a finite size, and people have a finite amount of money. Even if people get their $80 profit and eagerly get on the bottom of another list to run through again, eventually you would end up with a bunch of pyramids with every willing investor on the bottom row and nobody left to recruit. Then the last group of investors loses their money and gets no return. The same thing happens with multilevel marketing companies. Only a specific number of people would be willing to get involved, so whoever gets in last is a big loser.

The Federal Reserve system really doesn’t work that way because you don’t run out of money. If you have a finite amount of money in circulation, the next wave of purchases and investments will infuse a new batch of money into the system, which is used to pay back the old loans. Because of inflation, the next batch of loans will be made at a higher dollar amount, and then part of that money in circulation is used to pay back the old loans. Because you have to compensate for interest as well as principal, the new loans have to increase at an increasing rate. They also hold a lot of the inflation in check by canceling a certain amount of debt as well as removing money via taxes. If they didn’t allow bankruptcy filings, the escalation would be a lot faster I think. But it’s different from the inevitable crash of the ponzi scheme because you don’t run out of money, they just keep making more. Who would have thought that we could conduct business with a dollar that’s worth 4 cents in 1913 money? But that’s what we’re doing. Why couldn’t it just keep inflating?

Joy says:
I meant it seems like it has to fall apart.
You say “because of inflation, the next batch of loans will be made at a higher dollar amount”, but it is because there is interest on any money created that there is inflation at all. Because they create more money out of thin air, and then charge interest on it, there will never be enough money to pay it back. When do they ever cancel any debt? The Fed is buying it’s own product, to keep the Treasury going. What falls apart is the government because it is so far in debt that no one will loan it money and taxes don’t cover it.