Friday, January 28, 2011

Are We Gods Yet?

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say,‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  -  Genesis 3:2-5

Whether you believe in the story of Adam and Eve or not, we must recognize that people behave as if it were true. There's nothing more tempting than 'forbidden fruit', and the surest way to get someone to do something is to tell them they can't do it. Also, we humans tend to be gullible, and often take promises at face value. When we're ashamed we usually try to cover it up with a fig leaf, rather than be honest about it. And like Adam, who blamed Eve for their failure, we look for scapegoats.

Knowledge is always a two-edged sword, and produces unintended consequences. Knowledge that gives us joy one day can bring misery the next.

As mankind gained power over life and nature with technology, the temptation to imitate and challenge God became irresistible. This isn't altogether bad. If you were a farmer and every year a creek flooded your fields and threatened your crops you'd certainly say,"It's not right that I should have to accept flooding as my fate. I can dam the creek and create a little lake, too."

But some people aren't content with small scale interventions. King Nimrod of Babylon brazenly challenged God by building a huge tower and shooting his arrows at the heavens. It didn't end well for him. The ancient Greeks were highly sensitive to the perils of hubris - narcissistic self-absorption - and believed it was the root of almost all evil in the world. They studied it, debated it, and still fell prey to it.

When I was a child, the first science fiction magazine I ever saw had an illustration on the cover of a huge reflective screen, designed to orbit the earth and illuminate the night. Scientists thought that was a great idea, and said it would "increase crop yields" and have a lot of other benefits. No consideration was given to those who might prefer to have darkness and an unsullied moon to look at. Just this morning the scientific news reports that a similar screen has been placed in orbit, as a test:

A lot of wonderful ideas produce negative results. Sometimes they're catastrophic. We must always be aware - and willing to learn from - the consequences of what we do. Even if our motives are pure as the driven snow. The 20th Century saw more horrors resulting from Utopian schemes-gone-bad than any other time in human history. We often hear religion defamed for being a cause of war, but more deaths - military and civilian - were caused by the atheist wars and twisted 'progressive'/crypto-Marxist social plans of the last 100 years than in all other human conflicts combined. The playwright George Bernard Shaw - a hero of the Left - is seen in this film praising mass murder:

We live in an age of incomparable technological power, and our interventions and manipulations are having enormous and fatally catastrophic effects. And I'm not talking about the bogus chimera of man-made global warming. We have bigger fish to fry, believe it or not.

The worldwide economic meltdown of September '08 came about from just such a well-intentioned scheme. Ten years ago, two government entities known fondly by Wall Street and the investment community as 'Fannie Mae' and 'Freddie Mac' - with instructions from Congress to "make home ownership available to all" - began making real estate loans at artificially low interest rates and with almost no money down. By 2007, more than a third of all home loans issued in America were given to buyers who put up three-percent of the purchase price of their house. This is a powerful incentive to walk away from a property if the price drops, and that's exactly what happened. The really terrible thing is that investors worldwide poured a great deal of money into those bad loans. They were told that the loans were safe, and always had been in the past. The loans were even insured. But that perfect track-record turned out to be worthless as an indicator for the future. The loan insurers went bankrupt when the catastrophe grew to unimaginable proportions..

The collapse of these low quality loans sparked a worldwide recession that plagues us today. Many experts say we haven't seen the worst of it yet, and they're right. There's a level of manipulation and intervention now in all world markets that almost nobody predicted. And it's getting worse every day.

The most recent intervention by the Federal Reserve is called Quantitative Easing by Ben Bernanke, head of the Fed. What a perfectly innocuous name for a plan that defies the laws of God and Nature. It means that we taxpayers are handing out money at extremely low interest rates to major multinational casino players like Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, or just about anyone with 'connections' in order to "guarantee liquidity". The goal is to make sure that the American - and world - economy doesn't contract. They've been signing blank checks all over the place, which guarantees hyperinflation down the road. They don't believe in nature's self-regulating power, which is - and always has been - the virtue of free markets. These people believe they have godlike power with their computers and PhD. analysts. 

Adam Smith and every great economist in the world until recent times recognized that economies and markets must mimic nature; and they will, if allowed to. This means that after long seasons of exuberant growth, overbuilding and overproduction will create surpluses that drive prices down to ruinous levels. A fall and winter must come to kill off the inefficient over-producers and bring supply and demand back into balance. Some people and businesses will fail, but the dead wood has to be cleared out. There will be suffering and panic for a while, as people fear that prosperity is gone forever.

Forest management has been distorted in the same way. Putting out all forest fires causes dense undergrowth to pile up, so when lightning strikes or a campfire sets the forest ablaze, the extreme heat of the undergrowth guarantees a far worse conflagration. How did Nature produce vast forests before man came along? It evolved a plan. Mankind is messing it up. 

Time once was that private banking concerns like J.P. Morgan and the Rothschild family stepped in to provide cash to Wall Street, thus preventing deep panics. When a major panic happened in 1908, the 'progressives' in America said, "That's it! We can't allow our nation to be at the mercy of private individuals! We need an independent entity that has the public good at heart".  Not a bad idea, as far as it goes. But the Wilson administration created the Federal Reserve, and they have produced asset bubbles with regularity, like the 1920's stock market boom and Great Crash, the inflation and stagnation of the late '60's and '70's... right up to now.

The market manipulators have such power they become drunk with it. They allow too much easy credit, and when inflation inevitably takes off, they have to tighten too much and for too long, creating depressions.

The alternative is to allow Nature to take its course. If the dollar were allowed to freely float, finding its value according to natural forces, the internet bubble of 2000 and the housing bubble of recent memory never could have happened. Interest rates would have been much higher. Three-percent down payment loans would never have been  allowed. But markets like this are highly inconvenient for politicians who want to get elected, so they appoint Fed chairmen who open up the money taps when asked.

This is economic crime on a massive scale, and was prophesied long ago. Still, prosecution is necessary to maintain confidence in our system.  But these people are smart and they know how to cover their tracks, so it's impossible to find out with certainty who is who, and exactly what's going on. The charts don't lie, however, and they show that undue influence is overriding natural fluctuations. Stock charts are like hospital monitors, and you can know if a patient has just received an injection if the bouncing lines suddenly smooth out, like the Dow Jones and the Standard & Poors indexes have for the last four months. Massive infusions of money have been preventing any kind selloff. But the instability in Egypt, Tunisia, and the rest of the Middle East is blowing a hole in the manipulators' plans, and now the downturn will be worse than ever.