30 April, 2014

THERE'S MORE HERE THAN MEETS THE EYE




I had a good chuckle reading the articles on "Heaven is for Real." In case you missed it, this is a movie about a young boy who says he came back from the dead, after going up to heaven and meeting Jesus. Here's an article from The Mirror (UK):

And he told his parents how – while the surgeons were fighting to save him – he visited heaven, sat on Jesus’s lap, patted his rainbow-striped horse and was serenaded by winged angels.

The reactions from Christians doubting his story because it goes against the Christian ideas of the afterlife, and the atheists calling it a pre-schooler's fantasy, are predictable.

Interestingly, scientists have long looked at these stories of people who have had "near death" experiences, in which they experienced something pretty close to what young Colton experienced in his hospital bed. They floated up. They could see their relatives crying. They went off into different transcendental states (depending upon which religion they were raised in.) Then they came back.

Children with past life memories have long been a staple of Indian reality TV. Children have been known to go to states other than the ones in which they were born, pick out homes, and tell stories about their past lives in that household. So Colton's claims of learning about past secrets of this life are rather tame, in comparison. You could say either that Colton is a precocious child who became good at learning about hidden family secrets, or else he did in fact meet his dead sister who returned to tell him about the miscarriage which killed her. 

Either way, none of this contradicts anything the Hindus and Buddhists have long believed—namely, that life is a much longer continuum than this little short snippet we get to witness in our lifetimes. The Hindus believe that life is tied by an universal soul, and we "reincarnate" back into different forms over many lifetimes, while Buddhists believe that people are "re-born", and may be carrying the burden of past karma, or action, which can affect the way circumstances work out in this lifetime, but all difficulties are a special opportunity to practice compassion and patience on the journey towards final liberation. 

The problem with the empirical Abrahamic religions is that they think the Jesus the little boy saw is a "real" Jesus, someone who now has to be "proven" to own a rainbow striped horse. The ponderous burden of existence of the rainbow-striped horse suddenly takes on great weight as acrimonious atheists and realists and Christians of all stripes battle it out, as if Jesus's existence depends upon proving or disproving the rainbow striped horse.

But as all deeply religious people know, the winged angels and rainbow-striped horse, and Jesus's blue eyes, are all "real", and they all "exist". They don't have to stand there in full 4 D for us to appreciate their realness on this material (and transcendental) plane. While you can't put the winged horse into a test tube and check out its DNA, you can be assured that Colton did, in fact, see the horse.

That some of the people will conceptually confuse the heaven of Colton's experience with a "Real Heaven" with shape and form and human-friendly accoutrements (and a winged angel or two) that's up there somewhere, waiting with open doors, is the limitations of human understanding. The experience of "heaven"--or the experience after death--may be different for everyone. Jesus may be black with black eyes and black curly hair to a young child dying in Africa who's' just gotten a glimpse of him. Atheists may experience the moment close to death in very different ways. Buddhists have large volumes of books on what happens to the human being after death. Even if there's no "Real Heaven" with winged angels, that doesn't mean Colton's experience of it wasn't vividly felt and experienced.

Death, or near death experiences lead people to see the many dimensions of knowing that we as human beings are not aware of (or have been trained as rationalists to ignore.) The fact that young Colton knows about his great-grandfather Pops and can pick him out from the photographs doesn't mean his father lied—perhaps one day they were going over the photographs when he was baby and he heard his father say: "look, this is my grandfather," and he remembered that. Or maybe in fact it is a knowledge he's gleaned purely from the other dimension of the Universal Mind in which knowledge is so purely available, and which he somehow had access to. Both of this is plausible, and Hindus and Buddhists wouldn't refute the last option.


28 April, 2014

PROXY WAR, THE ST CIRCUS, AND UKRANIAN BEAUTIES




It’s like one of those Hollywood movie scenes. The protagonist and antagonist, locked in death, falling off a highrise. Neither one will let go, and neither one is going to survive the crash.

I’m talking of the USA and Russia. They both appear to be in free fall, economically. Each time an American publication reports gleefully that Russia’s foreign investors have fled, another sober news item comes out saying that Standard and Poor’s, Dow Jones and Nasdaq are not doing so well either. Tech stocks have crashed. Amazon is down. Visa and Mastercard have lost out once the Russians started to use other methods to transfer money. And so on.

In an interlinked world, a conflict hurts all parties involves. We saw that in the Nepal civil conflict—everybody was hurt, especially economically. Nobody wins a war in these days, they just “manage” the conflict and get out of it with great bruises that they try to nurse over the next few decades.

As for the Ukraine, it should read up on a little known conflict in the Himalayas, since it reflects on their current situation in rather prescient ways. The Khampas were (and are) a warlike Tibetan people who lived in Mustang, in the Nepalese border between Tibet and Nepal. The CIA started to train them to fight the Chinese. This operation was codenamed “ST Circus”. Then there was an abrupt about face, and the CIA dropped the fighters like hot coals. Here’s the quotes from www.friendsoftibet.org: 


Then, in early 1969, the agency abruptly cut off all support. The CIA explained that one of the main conditions the Chinese had set for establishing diplomatic relations with the US was to stop all connections and all assistance to the Tibetans. Says Roger McCarthy, an ex-CIA man, 'It still smarts that we pulled out in the manner we did.' 

Thinley Paljor, a surviving resistance fighter, was among the thousands shattered by this volte-face. 'We felt deceived, we felt our usefulness to the CIA is finished. They were only thinking short-term for their own personal gain, not for the long-term interests of the Tibetan people.'

The USA has become engaged in a covert proxy war against Russia via the Ukraine, it’s clear. It is also clear it was started by the USA, and natural gas, and the need to control the supply of energy to Europe, appears to be a key reason for starting this war. But as with all its conflicts, it’s clear the USA will be spending enormous amounts of money fighting a war it can’t win. Russia can only delay and obstruct, at this point. And its never going to give up its ground advantage on its home territory.  

The Ukraine, caught in the middle, is going to be hardest hit. The Europeans will make appropriate noises but in the end, it is beneficial to them to remain friends with all sides. They don’t want to lose their cheap gas and they don’t want to destabilize Europe. Which means the Ukraine’s going to end up at some point realizing its economy has been shattered, it’s relationship with its neighbor is destroyed, and its benefactor USA has fled when its time to drop a messy conflict. Possibly that moment will come right around the USA’s next elections.

As for the Ukraine becoming part of Europe, clearly whoever’s making that call is wearing rose-colored glasses. Culturally the Ukraine is part of Russia. All one needs to observe are the beautiful Russian/Ukrainian/Lithuanian beauties, who all look like tall and gorgeous models, desperately in love with short and balding Italian/French lovers who treat them with unstinting suspicions, to realize this is one relationship where never the twain shall meet.

The Ukraine needs to take a deep breath and go back to the negotiating table, keeping open the possibility that the enemy might be a friend, and the friend could turn out to be an enemy. (See, you all knew this was just a disguised Buddhist lecture posturing as a blog post on the Ukraine.)

PS: I do have to add that while I would love to have Russians and Ukrainians read my "Global and Local" blog, they seem to prefer reading my literary works. So here's the link to "The Fiction of Truth, The Truth of Fiction", in case someone wants to read it:
www.sushmasfiction.blogspot.com


26 April, 2014

Life in the Times of Demographic Tyranny: The Prospect Magazine "Great Thinker" results

April 26, 2014

The Results are in! And the demographic majority has won! The Indians and the Chinese top the list. The Pope  is a lone white male survivor of popularity in the tyranny of demographic majority! Sigh. This is even worse than white male domination. This is "We win cause we have a lot of Twitter followers" mode of judging great thinkers. Life in the time of social media. To see the list, click below:

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/world-thinkers-2014-the-results 


25 April, 2014

MODI, MONSANTO AND COMMODITIES




It seems Barclays, one of London’s pre-eminent banks, is winding down its commodities market branch. They say it’s not profitable enough.

And what is the commodities market? (I’m asking because like most people on the planet, I actually don’t know.) It appears to be a stock exchange where people are betting on wheat and gold and oil, and commodities of this nature.

So basically (for people like you and me who have no clue how these things operate), it appears there are some rich people with money, betting that the wheat harvest this year will be better than last year’s, and putting money down in a virtual casino where they win if the wheat does well. Or perhaps they win if there’s a drought and there’s less wheat than predicted, in which case the prices go up and they win. The rest of the world loses, but never mind that. Or perhaps the referent, wheat, doesn’t even have to do well or do badly—at this point, the virtual simulcrum of wheat separates from its referent and floats off into this netherworld of virtual betting.

This “wheat” is not the actual grain that you and I eat in the form of bread. It is something that becomes detached from its original point, and has floated off in computers in the form of numbers and profits that find their way into the bank accounts of a handful of rich people attached to stock exchanges. I imagine this wheat is grown by giant companies and not individual farmers. It gets listed in the stock exchange, and stocks and shares gamblers put in options and derivatives on it. Somewhere in the middle, bankers make insane profits off this wheat.

 No wonder Monsanto has become a billion dollar company—the stock exchange ensures that creepy politicians who have put in their bets on this company continue to uphold the interests of companies of this nature, trying to squeeze out the farmers owning the one hectare plots of land, until all land, seed, crop and water (and media, check out the links at the bottom, they feature the “rational” voice of the Economist AND the BBC trying to prove that there never was a spate of suicide amongst farmers in India) is in the hands of one or two of these giant companies. I’m talking about India, where apparently the ban on GM testing has been lifted by one politician.

And I’m talking about one scientific study done by an university of London that’s getting a lot of press-apparently these good folks have finally figured out the cause of the farmer suicides in India. They say--hold your breath-- that the actual cause of the suicides is—poverty! Poverty. Did you hear that? In case you missed that, I’ll repeat it: poverty. Now isn’t that marvelous? What a marvelous study this must have been, done no doubt over months with many graduate students, and funded by bagfuls of heavy GBPs that comes out of the London Stock Exchange. No, they do not refer to P. Sainath or his work for the past decades, or to Vandana Shiva. No mention of Monsanto. They say, strictly and impartially, that the suicides were caused by poverty, and nothing else.

Now let me say I have great respect for scientific studies. Except when it turns out to be a crock of shit like this one. I mean, seriously. It’s like some university that goes off and studies global warming and comes back and says definitively that it’s the sun that’s warming the earth. They are positive. Not the automobile industry, not the humans’ usage of gas, not petrol, not our insane destruction of forests. No, no, no. It’s the sun, stupid.

Well, to be fair, these folks do say that the government should help the poor farmers who own less than one hectare of land. The “less than one hectare”, in the minds of these excellent scientists, is obviously the main culprit, causing the poverty. That’s nice these good folks advocate for policy change and help from the government for poor farmers. But that’s not the only issue here. Hundreds of thousands of farmers did not commit suicide prior to Monsanto’s entry into their world-they still only had one hectare, but they managed to grow food and feed their families. So its not the “less than one hectare, small farmer” status that is killing them. It is something else.

There’s something wrong when the basic unit of life—food—became a chip to gamble on the stock market. And everyone from corrupt politicians to feeble academic institutions in need of funding become vulnerable to bribery and corruption as they move to support these profitable companies. There’s a “natural” logic to the thought that small-holding farmers should eventually be “phased out”. This is the “natural” form of development, or so the World Bank would have you believe. Eventually, say the policymakers, all these smallholders will move to the city to become chowkidars and nannies while Monsanto provides them with their daily rations.

But is that how the world will, or should, proceed? Small farmers make up a significant bulk of the world’s population. They have, in many ways, managed to sustain themselves through their farming and their ownership of land, no matter how small. The Indian government creating a policy to support small farmers so they can continue to grow BT cotton, as advocated by the British academics, is wrong, in all senses of the term. The Indian government should compensate its small farmers, but not so they can continue a farming practice that has caused them so much harm. The government should be compensating them for the tremendous loss it has caused them—via life and lost income—by allowing a company that is lethal, and which has wiped out their livelihoods and way of life, into their lands.

Of course, I doubt this will happen anytime soon, not with Narendra Modi in the running. Mr. Modi clearly favors the big companies over the little people. That little ad with him using his hands to say: “Let me be the country’s sevak” gave me a little involuntary shiver. Who knew the word “sevak,” or “social service worker/server,” which has such humble and loving origins, would suddenly take on these sinister connotations?

It also occurred to me that the Gujarat massacre, with men with computer printouts and cellphones driving around in jeeps to set fire to Muslim businesses, may have a large economic motive. When I was in Gagangunj (a small neighbourhood of Nepalgunj) about fifteen years ago, the Badi women told us that a campaign to get rid of them from their town was in progress. The new people came in and claimed to be waging a morality campaign, protesting the Badi women were prostitutes and had to leave the neighbourhood. But in fact, the women told us, it was a clever campaign to take over the land. Most Badi women, surprisingly, own their own land—surprising in a land where less than 4% of women have land ownership. When groups of men stormed in and started to throw TVs and people out of the windows, the women left to escape the danger, leaving the land to be seized. In much the same way, the campaign to drive out the squatters in Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum, clearly had an economic motive—rich people wanted the land that the poor people had been living on for generations. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that much of the destruction of Gurujati Muslim businesses may have benefited the people who took over the abandoned shops, who may have been the very people who took part in the riots. In any crime, follow the money, as Hercule Poirot said (or maybe it was Miss Marple).

The move to get rid of smallholding farmers so that giant companies can take over the cleared land has much the same connotation as the Gujurat massacre where small Muslim businesspeople were displaced, so that other people could take over their shops and livelihoods. And this may be the biggest challenge of this century—having the courage to dismantle the apparatus of finance and politics that makes these “stock exchanges” possible.

WHAT THE MEDIA HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS
That venerable publication of great repute, the Economist, says there is no unusual suicides amongst farmers in India. We the skeptics wonder how much the Economist and its management team received from Monsanto et al to write this piece:

The even more venerable voice of the greatest wool gathering--I mean, statistics gathering--I mean, news gathering--operation in the world, the BBC:
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21077458

The even more venerable Guardian implies Indian activists are lying:

Oddly, it seems only the Daily Mail of the UK has reported on this the old fashioned way-not by crunching numbers and statistics, but through hard reporting. They actually sent a reporter down to see what was going on. And guess what, people were dying after drinking pesticide, and yes, they had been planting GM crops. Urm… I don’t know a lot about British politics, but isn’t the Daily Mail reviled by the so-called Left?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082559/The-GM-genocide-Thousands-Indian-farmers-committing-suicide-using-genetically-modified-crops.html

22 April, 2014

GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS CAUSE, NOT CURE, WORLD HUNGER




France’s lower house of Parliament banned GM corn in a sweeping fashion, Reuters reported. Now, no variety of GM corn can be cultivated because of its toxic threats to the soil, insects and human health.

The senate has to approve the ban. If it rejects it, the  National Assembly still makes the final decision. Europe is going to be the test case in GM seed planting. 

 It occurred to me all this talk about how GM is urgently needed to solve world hunger is hogwash. First of all, nobody has actually done a study to find out how much of GM food is dumped each day by people because its inedible. GM may be selling like crazy--to unsuspecting Third World customers who spend their hard earned money buying these grains and vegetables that are not edible, and end up in the compost pile. I will post a photograph of a uncookable corn that I bought at the market—the corn was so tough it couldn’t be eaten roasted, boiled or fried. It just wouldn’t cook! Clearly it was an excellent GM product—it was so pest resistent it had resisted the greatest pests of all, namely, human beings. 

Secondly, nobody’s looking at whether people want to eat this stuff. I’m talking about taste, folks. Food does have to be tasty, you know. Even poor people won’t eat things that don’t taste good. I bought some aubergine at the market. It was still fresh, though slightly wrinkled, after three weeks. Normally they rot after 3 days. I imagine if they don't break down in the kitchen, then they don't break down in the gut as well. After which I became alarmed at these vampire vegetables and threw them out. Clearly GM is out and about, stalking the land. And people are resisting it in whatever way they can—including changing their food consumption patterns. Read my previous blog post in which I write about how people in Nepal have stopped eating maize, although it was a significant part of their diet in the past, because the new hybrid/GM corn is so inedible they’d rather eat something else.  

They do feed these seeds to the chicken though. Apparently the chicken have no way to complain that it's inedible.

Has Mr Gates’ much vaunted Foundation done a study of how much malnutrition people now face in Third World countries because these two factors—inedible food products, and waste, threaten their fragile food budgets? And how wiping out corn from the diet significantly causes malnutrition in those communities where this was the primary grain? I bet they haven’t  done that. They are too busy engineering seeds that can “cure” hunger in Africa.

Then there’s the pesticide issue. Giant residues of creepy pesticides are in the food, making people ill. Which makes for an excellent upswing in the pharmaceutical and medical market, but if things weren’t so twisted people who produce food should’t actually be making people sick. They should be creating healthful products that keep people away from illness. Of course try telling that to DuPont and all these other companies that simultaneously shove pesticides and medications into people’s mouths.      

Genetically modified seeds have so far resisted scrutiny-we take it for granted, without any scientific study, that they are good to solve world hunger. These seeds have a halo around them that the so-called scientific community has allowed for too long to last. Namely, the mythology that somehow they are “needed” to cure world hunger. Nobody’s actually looked at how they may be precipitating the hunger crisis, first by providing inedible, “human resistant” food, and second by adding to the burden of fragile food budgets by adding, each day and each week, an item that is trashed into the compost pile. I think some prestigious university needs to look into this issue, because something tells me the statistics are going to shock the world with how different reality is from perception.

19 April, 2014

APPLE, PINCHED SHOES AND ASPHALT: THE ONE LITTLE DESIGN FLAW THAT COULD DESTROY THE WORLD:



I thought I’d try  my hand at writing a Malcolm Gladwell column. Just because he’s getting a lot of shit from people. And I rather liked his “Outliers” book.

Here we go:

Apple did some great design work, but there’s one thing that really bugs me about my Mac. Mainly, the USB slot that goes into the left, instead of the right, of the computer. Now I am right-handed, so I use the mouse from the right. At first, there’s no need for the mouse because there’s a trackpad and a mouse built into the center of the MacBook Pro. But unfortunately these things have a way of breaking down, after which you need to attach an external mouse. Which, of course, goes to the right side. But there is no USB port on the right side. Which means you have this long snaking cord attached to a clunky USB port, going from the left to the right. 

Just a minor detail, you may say. But these things matter. Panasonic lost me after it sold me a camera with 20 cords and a DVD burner that needed a PC. Its not like the camera didn't work. It did. But those 20 unused cords (with all sorts of different plugs) and the unused DVD burner bugged me. it’s the sense of loss from unused potential. Enough to make me think: next time I’ll buy something else.

Its like the woman’s shoe design. Whoever thought up the “pinched at the front” woman’s shoe deserves to be shot. Seriously. “Pinched at the front” shoes have tortured generations of women. I’m surprised the ever vocal feminist movement of America hasn’t taken this up. Seriously, people, wake up. It’s the 21 century and women walk and spend their entire working day standing in their shoes. “Pinched at the top” may have worked for 19th century China but it sure doesn't work today. If you LOOK at the feet, you will see that the natural shape of the feet tapers at the back, towards the ankle—not where there are five toes played out and begging for space. But almost all women’s shoes are designed the wrong way around—they are tapered at the front and wide in the back. Now when children put on shoes the other way around, we laugh. But when shoe designers do the same, we give them the greatest of respect. Now why is that?  Perhaps because feminine beauty and delicacy became defined at some long forgotten past in mincing steps and lack of mobility. And the shoe designers of today, of course, have kept that tradition of feminine restriction alive and well by glamorizing even more impossibly torturous shoes. The prime culprit is probably Jimmy Choos.

In much the same way as the “pinched shoe” continues unconsciously as the default shoe for women, asphalt continues to be the default material to lay down on ever increasing tracks of roads all over the world. Asphalt, if you think about it, is the worst material to cover miles and miles of verdant green land. As soon as a road is tarred, the temperature of that neighborhood goes up a few degrees in centigrade. Do that to the entire city and you have a very hot city. Not to mention that most trees that lived by the side of the roads are carelessly cut down to lay down this monster material on the ground. But do we have an alternative? Not really. The discourse of development is like the discourse of beauty that promotes the pinched shoe—there’s no other way to think about asphalt but as the absolutely necessary accouterments in a developed country’s march to progress. And so we keep getting loans from the World Bank to lay even more ever increasing lengths of roads with black tar.

Black tar absorbs heat like there’s no tomorrow. So the new design, when it arrives, has to include another color. White will not work because it reflects light and could disorient drivers. A white plastic highway would obviously be something the Chinese could lay down in about a nanosecond, but probably its something to be thought about with greater thought. I vote for brick-it’s a known material, people have used and loved it for centuries, and when I walk on the brick-tiled lanes of Kathmandu (almost extinct by now, but one or two still remain) I can feel the temperature plummeting down to human levels. Frogs and crickets may even survive in these brick lanes. Brick highways, with bricks made out of solar heaters? Why not? Alternately, perhaps some of the hot shot Asian designers could design a highway out of bamboo. Bamboo’s very versatile, it doesn't absorb much heat, it grows fast and covers huge areas each year, and it is possible to prepare it in a way that doesn't make cars slip and slide. I think that would be entirely cool, in all senses of the term.

Let me know when the Mac team shifts one USB port from left to right. I think that’s essential to the survival of Mac. The man who makes the first sexy woman’s shoe that’s wide at the front and tapered at the bottom is going to be a trillionaire. And the person who designs the first bamboo highway will save the world.

Did you like my Malcolm Gladwell column? Please send all comments to sansarmagazine@gmail.com











18 April, 2014

MONEY GETS MORE MYSTERIOUS





Seems like almost every country in the world is now selling its debt (or is it buying debt? What's the "euro-debt markets", anyways?.) Apparently Turkey just raised 1 billion this way.

Why can’t countries in Africa, which supply all the metal that make up today’s Apple computers, or places like Nepal, which supplies the world with semi-precious jewels and pashmina scarves, do the same, and print a few billion dollars a year for free?  

According to this article, there’s someone out there saying: you guys can issue debt and we’ll buy it. You guys can’t.

According to the same article quoted above: The euro debt market is so far open only to investment grade-rated, frequent issuers, says SocGen's Cherpion. Lowly rated or debut issuers, from Africa for instance, are unlikely to find takers.

Seems like these higher authorities, arrayed like a pantheon of Roman gods, doling out the cash are:
JPMorgan's EMBI Global or CEMBI
And SocGen’s Cherpion

Now who are these folks?

Cherpion, who sounds like a Harry Potter character (yes, that bearded guy in the underground who guards the gold and hands it out to his favorites) is “Managing Director, head of global bond syndicate at Societe Generale.”

Notice the word “syndicate”—usually found in association with “Criminal syndicates” and the like.

Now what are these bonds, anyways? Apparently its these papers that countries issue and from which money magically springs forth. That is reserved only for white people, because the rest of the world doesn’t get Cherpion’s approval to issue it. In countries like Nepal, people are forced to work as bonded laborers in the Gulf or Malaysia for 1/100th of the salary because they don’t have these elaborate methods of generating free cash for their government and people.

Now lets go on to JPMorgan’s EMBI Global or CEMBI.  According to Rimes.com:
J.P. Morgan’s Corporate Emerging Markets Bond Index (CEMBI) is a global, liquid corporate emerging markets benchmark that tracks U.S.-denominated corporate bonds issued by emerging markets entities. The corporate CEMBI is a liquid basket of emerging markets corporate issues with strict liquidity criteria for inclusion in order to provide replicability, tradability, robust pricing and data integrity.
  • CEMBI countries include: Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan), Europe (Kazakstan, Russia, Ukraine), Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru), Middle East (Israel) and Africa (Egypt)
  • CEMBI sectors include: Banks, Industrials, Oil, Retail, Telecom, Utilities, and Metals
Basically, JPMorgan CEMBI is another syndicate that is set up to decide which economic and business ally gets some of the 10 billion free dollar notes the USA prints every month. Note the inclusion of Israel and Egypt, but I don’t see any other Middle Eastern country. Note China and Malaysia—important as allies and business partners which continue to suck up the resources and exploit labor of neighbouring countries and which spit out everything from metal to wood in processed form that the USA then “buys” at super cheap rates. With its billion dollar notes, of course.

The world is clearly more unequal due to the existence of these syndicates and economic entities that continue to suck up vast amount of the world’s resources through opaque means and incentives for the benefit of the few. Capital by itself has become suspect—clearly the rich countries are just churning out this stuff (whether dollar or euro) with abandon, and the unsuspecting Third World continues to handover their coffee, sugar, chocolate, timber, precious metals, oil, and gems everything else in between for those pieces of paper. Remember the exchange that occurred between the Europeans and the Native Americans—tobacco and useless beads for an entire continent. Nothing much has changed, in many ways.

There has to be a  conscious rebalancing of global trade and labor relations in this century, that much is clear. What form that will take may herald the end of the most exploitative of economies, mainly that of Europe and America, for more balanced trade relations towards Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin and South America. It is clear some of it is already happening automatically—a country like the USA cannot keep printing trillions of dollars each year and not expecting that to have an inflationary impact on its economy. 

The American attempts to destabilize Ukraine may have the opposite consequences that they intended-suddenly the BRICS have become aware that the dollar may no longer be necessary as an intermediary currency. America may have been a “Safe Haven” in the 1940s—it may even be a safe haven as long as its opaque financial wizardry continue, but ultimately there’s going to be an accounting of its actual assets and liabilities. Psych-ops has worked for the past century in keeping the currency liquid. But what now? The rebalancing of the world’s economic inequalities may, ironically, have begun from a miscalculated attempts to beat down the Russians, by  the very economy that kept the economic status quo firmly in place for the last century.