Friday, December 26, 2008

When Trust Runs Out

by Gary North

Every society and every institution rests heavily on trust. There is active trust, the result of "trust, but verify." I call this stage one trust. Then there is stage two trust, which I call default trust: "Trust, and assume that someone else has verified." Next, there is stage three trust, which I call blind trust: "Trust, because there is nothing else worth trusting." Then there stage four trust, which I call tooth fairy trust: "Trust, despite all evidence to the contrary." This form of trust is the foundation of all Ponzi schemes.

Bernard Madoff took advantage of this final form of trust. He ran what is said to be a Ponzi scheme of $50 billion. Or was it only $17 billion? The initial reports are sketchy.

The magnitude of these numbers boggles the imagination. How could anyone who is regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission run up bogus numbers of $17 billion, let alone $50 billion?

More to the point, if Madoff could do this, of what value is the Securities & Exchange Commission? The SEC in this case has fostered the second form of trust: "Trust, and assume that someone else has verified." This form of trust is the most insidious, because it creates a widespread mentality of trustworthiness when such trust is not deserved. It reduces the investing public's suspicions.

Whenever widespread regulation by government agencies lulls investors to sleep, investors make investments that they would not otherwise make. Managers of what are called trust funds defer responsibility for doing the necessary due diligence. They can legally hide behind this excuse: "We invested our clients' money only in investments regarded as prudent."

Prudent is as prudent does. From October 2007 until today, prudent investments have taken a financial bath. All the way down, the well-funded investment advisors kept telling their clients, "Now is not the time to panic. Now is not the time to sell stocks. Use this as a buying opportunity. Buy on the dips. Maintain a well-balanced portfolio of stocks and high-grade corporate bonds. Hold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. They are recognized worldwide."

The hypesters on Tout TV screamed: "This market is close to the bottom. Buy now!"

Government officials issued no warnings. They even denied what should have been obvious.

In a long, detailed, and devastating article in the New York Times, the authors savage the Bush Administration for its refusal to do something about Fannie and Freddie as early as February 2003. The article, in typical Times fashion, lays no blame on Congress, especially Barney Frank, who promoted home ownership for low-income constituents who could not possibly have afforded to buy homes under anything like normal, i.e., low-inflationary times.

The article tells the story of Armando Falcon, Jr., who ran the tiny and impotent Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. This was supposed to be an official verifier. Like virtually all government verifiers, it was expected never to call attention to problems with anything remotely connected to the Federal government. These organizations exist to foster stage two trust: "Trust, and assume that someone else has verified." The Times reports: "In February 2003, he was finishing a blockbuster report that warned the pillars could crumble."

Mr. Falcon's report outlined a worst-case situation in which Fannie and Freddie could default on debt, setting off "contagious illiquidity in the market" – in other words, a financial meltdown. He also raised red flags about the companies' soaring use of derivatives, the complex financial instruments that economic experts now blame for spreading the housing collapse.

Today, the White House cites that report – and its subsequent effort to better regulate Fannie and Freddie – as evidence that it foresaw the crisis and tried to avert it. Bush officials recently wrote up a talking points memo headlined "G.S.E.'s – We Told You So."

But the back story is more complicated. To begin with, on the day Mr. Falcon issued his report, the White House tried to fire him.

This was a typical government response. Whistle blowers are regarded as traitors in every organization. The government is no exception. Mr. Falcon was blowing the whistle on a pair of over-leveraged government-related but poorly regulated organizations. Falcon was the head of an organization set up to regulate these two massive swindles, but he was never supposed to blow the whistle. He therefore broke an unofficial rule. He was going to be taught a lesson.

Mr. Falcon survived, but resigned in 2005. He was replaced by James Lockhart, an old high school friend of President Bush. On his watch, Freddie and Fannie purchased $400 billion in sub-prime loans and alternative mortgages, marketing these packages to investors. By mid-March, 2007, both companies faced bankruptcy. But the Treasury Department did nothing. Treasury now ran policy. Its conclusion: no problem.

But Mr. Lockhart continued to offer reassurances. In a July appearance on CNBC, he declared that the companies were well managed and "worsts were not coming to worst." . . . .

Mr. Lockhart defended himself, insisting in an interview that he was aware of the companies' vulnerabilities, but did not want to rattle markets.

"A regulator," he said, "does not air dirty laundry in public."

This is the heart of the matter. It always has been. It always will be. Government regulatory agencies invariably become agents of the organizations that officially are being regulated. This is the heart of stage two trust: "Trust, and assume that someone else has verified." This trust is fostered by the government and by the agencies supposedly being regulated. The regulatory agencies' real economic function is to increase trust, where trust is not appropriate, in order to dupe the public.

At this stage, investors' trust moves to stage three: "Trust, because there is nothing else worth trusting." Investors bid up the assets' price. This is the bubble phase of the market.


Bernard Madoff was able, on paper – paper issued by his company – to generate 15% returns, year after year. It is not yet clear how he was able to fool accountants. That he did fool them points to the nature of the beast. We are living in an economy that is one gigantic Ponzi scheme.

The most famous one is Social Security. It is known to be a Ponzi scheme by anyone who examines its funding. This has been known for a generation. No one cares, least of all government accountants. Medicare is an even larger Ponzi scheme. Yet Warren Buffett assures us that the American economy can grow its way out of the looming unfunded liabilities of these two organizations. All it will take is a little prudence – an asset which retains its low price in Washington only because there is so little demand.

When the best and the brightest insist that there is no major problem with the two largest Ponzi schemes in history, the public has moved to stage four trust: "Trust, despite all evidence to the contrary."

Madoff took advantage of a mindset that is so widespread today that voters, investors, and politicians not only believe in tooth fairy economics, they take active steps to ridicule those who call attention to the evidence to the contrary.

Madoff also understood marketing. The late Mac Ross once told me this secret of marketing.

There are two ways to market something: the community college way and Harvard's way. The community college sells education on the basis of price. "It's the best deal around. Act now!"

Harvard sells a marginally superior form of education by telling people that they just don't qualify. "We aren't going to accept you, but if you really want to waste your time, you can mail in an application."

Madoff adopted the Harvard approach. Alexandra Penney, one of his victims, describes her dealings with his firm. She had become a millionaire author.

I suddenly had a lot of money. I was in my late 40s, and I felt that I was just too old to have it in a plain old bank account. But I was a creative person, not a savvy investor, so I asked around and talked to my smartest friends with Harvard and Wharton MBAs. There appeared to be a secret society of Madoff investors. A friend who was older, wealthier, and more established somehow got me in. I've always had good luck, and I thought it was another stroke of good fortune to be invested with the legendary Bernard Madoff.

Ah, yes: access to the inside track! There is a dream of every wanna-be investor. Find the next Warren Buffett and let him handle your money. Yes, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway can be bought on the New York Stock Exchange. All it takes is about $100,000 a share. But that is not good enough for investors in dreams. She wrote: "There appeared to be a secret society of Madoff investors." Yes, yes, that's it! Get on the inside!

Every month I got detailed statements, and my money looked to be growing around 9 to 11 percent. It didn't seem greedy because I knew other people who were making 15 or 20 percent. I thought, "This is just a very smart investor."

On the contrary, he was just a very smart con man – a con man who plugged into stage four trust. But he did not do this on his own. He got a lot of help from the confidence industry's friends: government agencies that operate their own Ponzi schemes, creating widespread trust in impossible dreams.

The woman who was conned by Madoff thought she was rich. She no longer thinks so. She lived high on the hog. She no longer will. This scares her.

First, she always wanted to be an artist. She used her money to buy a studio in New York City. If she ever made a living with her art, she does not say. It's too late now. The recession has killed the art market.

The art market, as everyone pretty much knows, is dead. If I can't sell my work, I am going to have to find some way to make money.

Indeed, she is. Here is the former editor of Self magazine who is going to have to find herself in a competitive environment. This will not be easy. She must now make adjustments in her lifestyle.

I've lived a great and interesting life. I love beautiful things: high thread count sheets, old china, watches, jewelry, Hermes purses, and Louboutin shoes. I like expensive French milled soap, good wines, and white truffles. I have given extravagant gifts like diamond earrings. I traveled a lot. In this last year, I've been Laos, Cambodia, India, Russia, and Berlin for my first solo art show. Will I ever be able to explore exotic places again?

Frankly, Ms. Penney, the rest of us really don't care. We have problems of our own. She goes on.

Since this happened last Thursday, I have barely left my apartment, I haven't been out for dinner; haven't bought groceries. Can't remember the last time I ate a full meal. Food, which is one of my most favorite things in the world, has become meaningless.

The reality of Ponzi schemes eventually comes to this, whether the victims are rich or poor. Reality intrudes.

The entire Western world is trapped in a Ponzi scheme sold by politicians: free lunches in our golden years of retirement. Social Security will provide this. Socialized medicine will provide this.

I spoke with a health insurance agent last week. He had come at my request to discuss Medicare B. This is the physician-coverage section of Medicare. Medicare A covers hospitalization. This new Plan B will give me free prescriptions, which I don't take. It will give me access to any physician's office at $5 per visit. I will get partial dental care. All I will pay is about $1,000. In my previous location, northern Mississippi, my agent said in 2007 the average payment per enrollee per year was over $6,000. This is a region with a low cost of living.

This is a Ponzi scheme. As the population ages, there will be too many recipients and too few new entrants into the scam. We know what is going to happen. But the best and the brightest say we are wrong, that everything is covered, that experts have verified everything, that we will grow out way out of this.


The stock market in 2008 proved to 401(k) investors what I had told my readers in March 2000: the stock market is not going to provide positive returns any longer. The dreams of millions of investors have not been smashed – not yet. They will be, but not yet. The dreams have been called into question. There is real doubt that the stock market will recover fast enough to give investors their golden retirements.

The 401(k) programs are also Ponzi schemes. They depend, not on economic growth to provide wealth, but rather new investors in the stock market. Earnings are insufficient to provide the income required to provide a comfortable retirement. After deducting fund expenses, until 2008, earnings were zero or close to it. The dream of easy retirement always rested on the sale of shares to newcomers. This is Ponzi scheme financing.

American households are net dis-savers today. They have been for almost a decade. Who is going to buy the shares of retirees? Not the coming generation.

Trust in stocks as a way to wealth is fading. This is a good thing, because the trust was always misplaced.

What will replace this fading trust in stocks? Another problem: When people sell their shares in the final phase of the falling stock market, pushing stocks lower, who will buy them? Who will believe that, after nine years of losses, discounting for price inflation 2000–2009, that stocks will ever recover? In final sell-offs, pessimism is widespread. This pessimism will be justified. Where will the productivity come from in our new age of monetary base inflation, corporate bailouts, and trillion-dollar annual Federal deficits?

Who will buy a Chrysler today? Who will buy General Motors shares? Who will trust the hypesters on Tout TV, when they say to buy shares? Buy with what? Their viewers are down 40% or more, and the decline may not be over.


The American dream, as with any dream, is based on trust. But trust, to be maintained, must eventually be confirmed by reality. The economic reality today is stagnation, rising unemployment, falling home prices, and bankruptcy.

Reality is catching up with stage four trust.

December 24, 2008

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2008

FOFOA: The bold destruction of trust is one small step for man, one giant leap toward FreeGold.


alek_a said...

As always, a nice find FOFOA. I am however a bit sceptic about the notion that the financial world is full of incompetent, complacent people and investors. It is a bit naive. Such should not be concluded from singular examples given, just like the woman from the post. I do think that there are those that do the vicious math of ever-increasing (fictional) returns, invest and know pretty well what they are doing (i.e. that they invest in a Ponzi scheme). And generally they are the ones that come out well at the end or at least get not as bruised. And not to mention (big and central) banks and the echelons of insiders therein, including academia, that know very well how things are kept together (or better to say: patched together). There are interviews with such kind of people where as much is apparent.

The financial systems looks now like a MS Windows PC that has been patched, stiched, has had zillions programs installed and removed, and has generally been abused for so long that it puffs smoke out when you do anything as simple as "Create->New Folder" or even press the right mouse button anywhere on screen. It is in need of a fresh install. Blame Bill Gates. We should have chosen a Mac!

But to get serious again. The moment all the extra created monetary units (in the form of stimuli, bailouts, new tresuries etc.) stop creating GDP growth (instead of inflation), it is going to be difficult to do anything in any direction. Depression or hyper-inflation does not matter at that point as the fractional reserve banking system will be broken. It can not provide the services necessary for the economy to experience real growth anymore. Down then go once-polished investors, bankers etc. used to perversly abuse the fractional reserve and create humongous profits.

This process would have happened much sooner were it not for oil's appearance, together with the revolution in manufacturing and technology, as the "wealth creator". Everything we use today has been manufactured, or indeed functions, thanks to a virtually unlimited supply of cheap energy. We barely figure in the cost of energy in running our households and such calculations are non-existent when we do everyday tasks like driving to the mall or indeed typing this message. This is evident from the gas spending pattern in the past period when oil prices were at a record: demand has not slowed, it even increased. This is not a natural situation for our grandfathers. As long as oil is available in fiat units, growth as expressed in those units is unlimited or at least is limited by our creativity to make good use of it.

Here I want to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with fiat units or fractional reserve banking in combination with cheap energy as long as it does not decay in perversity and decadence as withnessed by New York's elite in the article above. Any system, including the dear old gold standard, can morph into a mantise, eating its kin after germination. Vigilance is the problem. The average citizen's lack thereof actually.

Erosion of civil rights, dumbing-down of the populace, perfection of the means to force conformity with the current socio-politic frame (as per Foucault), state ideological marketing (Faux news), availability of media for mass-(dis)information (yes, even this blog or wikipedia lower the standards of professional information specialists) - they are all the negative side effects of the exponential economic and technological growth of the last 40 years. Nobody considers that growth has negative side effects. Growth is not "growing up" and becoming wiser, it is just an increase in the availability of items and services. It has side-effects. The least of which are environmental - which we are overly focussed on lately but are just the tip of the iceberg.

I am not in support of a gold standard. It cannot provide for growth at the scale we are witnessing (or have witnessed?!), it is monetarily not elastic enough for that. It cannot serve as a medium for exchange in a "cyber" economy, it promotes hoarding (over-saving) and puts average people with a lack of starting capital at a great dissadvantage.

It is however necessary to have an overall check and balance system in place for global governments and monetary authorities (lets face it - we will get that like it or not), since the course of events in the last 40 years or so proved democracy is not The Sentinel humanity wished it was. The factors that I listed above and indeed your article about trust give an easy hint that democracy can be subverted in our new society to serve the interests of the few instead of the many. It is not the 18th century anymore, and although I personally embrace the principles of USA's libertarian founding fathers (I am not living there), they are to be understood in new light today.

We need the Freegold principle to be applied in a way that will guarantee the perpetual growth of our society and still be servient to our need for a functioning checks-and-balances system. Democracy provided only fake ones. I propose two currencies in parallel. For every item that is sold, there will be two prices: gold and fiat. You will need to pay both. Some items, usually consumables, perishables etc. will cost 0 gold and N fiats. Others, like real estate, resources, production machines, long-term service contracts, education, intellectual property etc. will have a high gold price and a low fiat price.

Everyone will get paid in both currencies, indeed a much larger proportion in fiat. Where you work, what you do, how well you negotiated with your employer etc. will determine what your proportion fiat/gold will be. You will save up for your pension with gold, will buy a house and durable household items with your gold, but will pay for food, electronics etc. with your fiat. There will be no interest paid on the gold currency. Oil will be paid in fiat but a [i]guarantee[/i] for a long-term delivery contract of oil will be paid in gold. A company will buy PCs in fiat but will pay for the service contracts (including hardware updates) partly in gold. A farmer will sell food in fiat but will be additionally paid in gold for a long-term contract of supplying that food. The longer the contract, the more gold will he receive. Gold units will not be exchangable for fiats under any circumstances. They will be backed by physical gold and silver. Ultimately, there will be no need for a backing as long as the "trust" is hardcoded in the morality of this system.

In this way we circumvent the inelasticity of the gold standard where gold is de facto a medium for exchange of goods and replace gold as a medium for setting the price of [i]guarantees[/i] for growth. And we still have the wealth-preservation effect as there will be no interest rates on gold (it will be zero), no fractional banking and no speculation (all necessary for growth, even the perverted form of them). Those will be possible only in the realm of the fiat since the two will not be exchangeable. A derivative or any other form of structured bet on gold will actually have to be issued in ... yes indeed, only gold as one cant set the price of gold in fiats (and other way around). There will be no such thing as a POG. It cant rise or fall because it has nothing to rise or fall to! Any form of exchange of fiat with gold must then be understood as the highest form of crime. It must become taboo, like canibalism. It will be literally the pillar of society. This will be the difficult part - installing the new mindset.

The idea is to basically improve the way we think such that longer-term thinking will have a reward. You will be paid (in gold!) if you are longer-term oriented, generally try to improve things and actally [i]think[/i] ahead. It will level the playing field vs. the short-term speculators, grabbers and Madoffs. What a perfect natural irony - that name. Such things make men religious zealots.

FOFOA said...


Excellent thoughts. I have had similar ones myself.

By the way, on my desk sit a Mac and a PC. You do speak the truth with regard to these things.

Your post gives me some food for thought. My initial reaction is that whatever system rises from the ruins must rise from the bottom up, not from the top down. A government ordered fiat can only work if the majority accepts and uses it. It can only have value through this use. And so will we blindly accept a new edict from our masters when their old (forced) system fails? I think we will soon find that even the average man-on-the-street is a goldbug at heart.

I also think that Freegold is the natural beginning of this "bottom up" rise of a new system. And perhaps with some guidance, it can evolve into a two tiered system. Take an employment contract. If your trade is more valuable to the community than your daily living needs, then you might want a greater portion paid in gold, and only enough for your spending needs paid in fiat.

But I still think gold must be convertible to fiat. In this way it keeps the printers of the fiat in check. It becomes a barometer of sorts. If they get out of line, then true value will spend less time in fiat and more time in hard money. And value is as value does. But I promise I will give your post some more thought on this.

If gold is convertible, then it's value must not be subject to manipulation. This comes from the centralization that has evolved. I believe that in the future everything will be much more localized, including price discovery. And any price imbalances that occur will be corrected through arbitrage by those who make trade with far away lands. But it won't be centrally traded or controlled. I think we have all lost faith in that process.

I do agree that many of Madoff's investors probably knew it was too good to be real. For this reason, I find myself extremely short on sympathy. It is interesting, this talk that those Madoff investors who withdrew funds within the last 6 years may have to give it back. I'm sure this is causing some sleepless nights.

And on the subject of economic growth, I have to disagree with you that gold could not suffice. I'm am certainly not arguing for a gold standard. But you have to understand that in a pure goldmoney world, economic growth would be known by the reduced cost of goods. Deflation="economic growth" in this world! No interest would ever need to be paid or demanded on loans. To hold money (gold) during times of economic growth is to gain. It is only when we introduce the proxy of paper that we must consider (usury) interest. And in times of great economic growth, your gold money would grow in great value. But that value would be measured in the things it would buy, since there would be no paper money to measure it by.

Again, thanks for the great comments. And lastly, on blogs you use html coding (< > instead of [ ] which is BB code used on forums).


Ender said...

Hi alek_a,

It is an interesting stand that you take. You say: “I propose two currencies in parallel.” Which, at the heart of it is a grand, yet fuzzy idea. Reading between the lines, it would appear to be a dollar centric statement for many other places in the world already deal with multiple currencies. But, of course, it’s clear that you’re talking about gold as the second currency.

I’m not sure if it was your intent to make the reader (me) chuckle with this statement, but it worked: “Any form of exchange of fiat with gold must then be understood as the highest form of crime. It must become taboo, like canibalism. It will be literally the pillar of society. This will be the difficult part - installing the new mindset.” Yes, I too would see that as a ‘difficult part.’ The old staying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink comes to mind. I completely agree that what’s coming will take a different mindset, and, at the same time, see what’s coming will produce a new (and different) mindset. It’s a chicken and egg situation.

I do want to acknowledge the concept you’ve purposed. It could work. I look forward to hearing (or learning) more of your thoughts.

I am curious why it would be taboo to exchange currency for gold? Seems a little odd for you can exchange currency or gold for just about anything today.

I do particularly like this statement: “It is however necessary to have an overall check and balance system in place for global governments and monetary authorities…” Gold has always played this ‘checks and balances’ role. It seems, in today’s environment, that gold has been tamed and thrown out of the equation. Yet, in the background, gold is on the path of regaining it’s place on the balance. That is where the Freegold Concept comes into play on a global scale.

Even though you mention that the fractional reserve banking system will be broken, as it has in many different countries all around the world, there is a high probability that it will be reinstated at some point. There is something undeniably powerful regarding fiat currency that will always tempt ‘man’ to sell his future for payment today. Likewise, when a government enacts a banking system as a tool for governance you will not find gold as the currency.

Probability would have it that as we move forward the world will need to have a form of payment that represents payment in full or there will eventually be war. War will be built upon broken promises. Debt default is a broken promise. Payment in full is delivering something tangible. Gold is something tangible just like cars, toys and Macs.

Ultimately, gold can play the role of settlement in economies of all scales. But, to do this, each economy will need to allow the price of gold in that currency to find it’s natural equilibrium. That is, the government must allow it to trade openly and commit to allowing it to coexist peacefully with the economic currency. Likewise, they must allow anyone and everyone to be able to go to market and settle the debt (get paid in full) at any time.

With such a market for gold, one could get paid in local currency and exchange what they would like into gold at any point. No need for complicated contracts, just a commitment to private property laws by all involved.

As an added benefit, gold would once again provide the counter balance for economic mismanagement. In an economy that manages it’s currency poorly, you may see radical swings in the price of gold in that currency. With regards to the import export balance of trade, a deficit situation would most likely lead to a higher gold price whereas a surplus situation would lead to a lower gold price. This simply functionality would free economies of the world from the current process of having to intentionally devalue their currencies to stay competitive. The idea here is that the functioning of the economy would help determine the value of the currency rather then the currency determining the functioning of the economy.

I have my hopes up that in this next year we will see more people come to the understanding that gold presents payment in full. As people come to understand this, gold will enter individual lives and hold a place of significance. Debt, which represents the obligation to pay, will become ever more clear as a measurement of human labor and (debt) will be seen as the lifeblood of the banker. Thus gold means freedom and debt means enslavement.

Bring on the New Year! Gold is what the bankers fear!

Anonymous said...

Hi Fofoa,

I was agreed with you about reforming the currency system until I found a much better solution last night. The actual problem with our world right now is the monetary system itself. If we still use monetary system, in whatever form - either dollar or gold, there is still a gap between the rich and the poor.

The answer is in youtube with keyword: zeitgeist addendum. These people have the solution to our corrupt world and they try to prove that our current technology actually can support this new system.

Hope we can have better world...

Love and peace,

alek_a said...

Thanks anony, taking the red pill ocassionally helps one stay focused on the issue. I saw the original Zeitgeist some time ago and simply forgot (read:got back to beeing conditioned) how powerfull it is. The addendum is on the level and exceeds. It is important for everyone to see those documentaries at least once and draw their own conclusions (not get blindly influenced by it as that will negate its own message, yes?).

I acknowledge the principles and spirit of Zeitgeist. It is indeed how it should be. I would give up my system of double value for The Venus project ideas.

However, one must be of a certain intellectual level and posses the critical apparatus necessary to challenge the ideas of the two documentaries in order to fully understand how correct they are. This is however also the problem. You simply need to have read much and understood a lot in order to be able to accept the messages of the documentary in a high enough region of your critical mind.

The Zeitgeist is so powerfull emotionally, as conveyed by its marvelous documentary quality, that it also attracts the wrong kind of people. The ones that have no capacity to understand that the Zeitgeist, indeed the best of all, is also a religion, a cult. And, as any religion, it chains men. There will be fanatical Zeitgeit-ists.

For instance, it defeats its own purpose of "waking up" the majority of internet-active persons when the persons attracted to The Zeitgeist are also attracted to ridiculous conspiracy theories thus rendering association with "them" socially unacceptable at best. This is, ironically, also the message of the film, where the social frames (monetary chains) upon which our lives are built must be dissasembled in order to reach the "one-ness". How then do the authors of the documentary want to break those barriers? By making an internet forum for crackpots and advertising on the internet?

Zeitgeist is a great intellectual achievement, but I am afraid the movement is not going in the right direction. This needs to be seen by all people on the earth simultaneously, as in hack the transmitters of all major countries for two hours to interrupt programming with The Zeitgeist. Only then will the documentary work its magic.

They need to get it on TV, at least here in The Netherlands or Belgium, we have independent TV stations (on cable) that not always air establishment messages.

The Zeitgeist is wrong in a small number of things, the most important of which is their praise for the internet. I do not think that the medium is well suited for mass campaings for the better good. Finding this blog for instance and the ability to exchange ideas with the author on a level that is intelectually satisfying to me is a luxury on the net, it is the exception and not the rule. The internet may be your friend but you need to work hard for it.

alek_a said...


Thanks for the comments. I am happy to engage in this discussion with you as it claryfies my ideas as well.

I approach the issue from two sides. One is purely technical and the other has a social dimension. Lets start with the latter one.

It is necessary to understand that what I propose cant be placed in today's context of values as it will generate objections arising from accepted behaviour that is the norm today and which my system actually proposes to eradicate, or at least blunt, with the new mindset (as what, I will shameleslly claim, in The Zeitgeist is necessary). I ackowledge the "chicken and egg" problem you mentioned and that is why I say that "installing the new mindset" is the most difficult part of it all. It may even seem impossible.

If however you also acknowledge the wealth of methods and general state of knowledge in social engineering and advanced tools that are available for the ruling elite, you may glimpse that humanity can be engineered or "guided" in the correct direction. This knowledge is not on the common university curriculum as a structured science but is available to the selected few in such a form. You just need to read the manuals of the military top for PR purposes and you will know what I mean. Or just google "Obama hypnotic methods" and take the time to read the document (with horrible typeset editing) and convince yourself. You will understand or critically comment on my thoughts. Indeed, any manager or editor of a news medium at a high enough level knows how information management and targeting of the population groups works within his organisation. The knowledge necessary to install a new mindset, over time, is available freely out there but not in a form of a concise book named "Methods and tools for the control of populations" but is scattered in many writings. One needs to study it and find the "applied" part of the social engineering science in today's world in order to extract the practical tools that indeed work well. Modern marketing/advertising is an example.

Here you may comment that I have no faith in humanity and its ability to transform itself and get free from the shackels, be it religion in the dark ages of monetary-ism (a new term from The Zeitgeist) today. There is not one example where this has worked in the past, maybe with the exception of the American revolution. We need a paradigm shift, and I am pessimistic about the abilities of the ordinary Joe to understand the gravity of the things we discus here.

Having said that I will return to the technical part of the issue. Why would one currency not be exchangable with the other? It is the pinnacle of the system. Because it is simply a fact that the most leveraged market dictates the price of the item (as per Sinclair). If we allow for a fractional reserve banking system with fiat currency to facilitate the growth component of our society through the wide availability of credit for projects, while also letting it trade for the second, "wealth or "security" component of the monetary system, we also guarantee that the second currency will be enchained by the first one and will serve the interests of "quick profit, right here and right now" that appeals to the hearth and minds of the majority of the people today. It is simply the availability of credit for all purposes that is the problem of the fractional recerve banking system and it will spillover to gold given enough time. It is in the nature of the beast.

In other words, as long as there is a paper market for gold, in this or another form (after they break the COMEX), there will be no Freegold. And removing that avenue of manipulation is to fully forbid the exchange mechanism. We do not have the technology to forbid that so, as The Zeitgeist interview says, we need to make a law from it.

Technically, the inspiration or the general idea of the double valuation system lies in the assumption that quick profit and long-term sustainability are on the opposite sides of the social weighing mechanism. I try to attach a concrete meaning to both, effectively multiplying them with appropriate weights, and let the population be aware of it. Long-term items, services and projects that promote true wealth and genuinely increase the standard of living (including the well-being of the Earth as well) will be expensive in gold terms. This will also apply on a personal level (ex. a house will cost a lot of gold). The purpose is to equate the physical essence of gold - its longevity and incorruptability - to the social equivalent of it. A computer will cost a lot of (easily available) fiat but a contract to keep it up to date with software and hardware will cost a lot of gold as it will render the item long-lived and useful to you for a protracted period of time.

It is simply the valuation of things is changed in this new system. We attach the correct value, not only in the quantitative dimnension but also qualitatively, to the item or service and do now allow the bleed-over of the two that will pervert and corrupt the system. It is simply going away from a one-dimensional system to a two-dimensional system.

Looking forward to you comments,


FOFOA said...


Your thoughts and words are refreshingly clear. And your ideas are intriguingly complex.

You have credited some of Ender's comments to me. I will take that as a compliment. But for the record, as was previously asked, Ender and I are not the same person.

First of all, I think you and I can dispose of the social engineering question. I will stipulate to your statements that social engineering is possible. Having made my living in advertising for many years, I have seen this first hand. But I would ask, if the people's thoughts are to be engineered, who should we trust to be the engineer?

It is true that the average Joe will have trouble understanding the changes that are coming. But perhaps some things will happen that will make the truth clear, even to the thickest among us.

On the technical side, I must view your system in contrast to the system I see coming by mere default. From the bottom up, so to speak.

You say, "[Non-convertibility] is the pinnacle of the system. Because it is simply a fact that the most leveraged market dictates the price of the item (as per Sinclair)." I realize that your system is more complex than just this statement, but to keep it simple, it seems that you want to "outlaw" convertibility between currency and gold to avoid manipulation in the "price" of gold. Or even simpler, to avoid giving leveraged (borrowed) positions undue influence on the market.

Lets imagine a market much like our current one, but without leverage. If I have 5,000 Tonnes of physical gold and I want to take the "price" of gold down, should I have the right to do that? I say yes I do. As long as I am willing to part with my real wealth for a fleeting result (ie. give up my gold to see a temporary drop in the price of gold), then I absolutely have that right. It will be financial suicide to me in the long run, but nature gives us the right to commit suicide, even when the law forbids it. Likewise, I believe a government holding gold has the right to take down the "price" of gold AS LONG AS THEY PAY THE PRICE.

What we have right now is a system where they can get this same result without paying the price. And the root of that system is the LENDING OF GOLD. This goes against the nature of gold. If gold could not be lent, then "the most leveraged market" would never dictate the "price" of gold. The very nature of gold abhors the fractional reserve system, where additional value (leverage) is created from lending and re-lending the same original units of value. In the case of gold, that value is concrete. It can only be in one place at one time. Therefore, if you use it in a leverage scheme, you cannot use it as legal tender to settle debts.

In a way we already have this system. You can loan me $100,000 worth of gold. But when you demand my payment back to you, the court will only uphold my payment in dollars. It will not force me to return physical gold to you. So then why would you lend me the gold?

FOA, speaking of Freegold, said, "you cannot take something real and lend it over and over, as banks do when lending fiat, and still demand that the law recognize said contract moneys as hard legal tender.

I would state that no form of lent gold be recognizable or enforceable in the court of law as a legal tender contract. One may borrow gold, relend it, or even borrow against it, but that gold would not be valid in the payment of all debts both public or private. It could not, by law be legal tender. This is not to say the trading of gold would not somewhat supplant currency in function. It could and most likely would to a degree, but it would no longer carry a credit quality that fiat would in the form of a time function. Indeed, in our modern economic structure, a credit time function is very valuable and gives digital contract currencies their demand.

To deal in the future,,,,, to borrow,,,,, to capitalize would require the use of a fiat function. Gold could / would be a final trade; I'll give you ten cars (or gold) for your house,,, deal done. If I want more time to pay, I and we must engage a fiat loan.

You [Econoclast] write:

-------weaving OUR gold supply, literally, into gold dollars--------Contracts could be denominated in gold dollars, however these "gold notes" are strictly non-transferable. If someone wants to sell their gold note, they can't. It is only enforceable between the parties that entered into it originally. All forms of paper gold are illegal-fraudulent. Any debt larger than the legal tender law amount has to be denominated in fiat, smaller can be negotiated.------------

[FOA:] Well sir,
Once again, it looks good at first but later evolves. By mingling your gold currency into the contract / credit realm, it once again creates gold loans that are at odds with human nature. Yes, the gold notes may not be transferable, but the lent gold currency is. It is at once someone's asset while also another's liability. The gold currency in circulation expands thru the nature of loans. When these loans fail on a national scale (major downturn) the legal tender laws defining our new gold currency will be changed. We thin our gold again in an ages old cycle aimed at covering debts that are the common citizen's savings.

Still, we are not far from the position you see. We must remember that neither currencies or gold define society's economy. Business can function using fiat alone. We have been doing just that for a number of decades. Installing a trading medium outside lawful money that acts as a wealth savings and a final trade will not destroy the bankers, governments or paper credit inflation. But, it will allow society a way to judge political efficiency. A nation's productivity will then have two scales to measure with, one it must live with (final payment) and another it cannot live without (future payment)."

Then later...

Indeed, a currency without a country! In order to implement such a currency, gold would require laws that would keep it within it's wealth concept. Gold in possession would be wealth in possession as long as governments could not use it as credit money. In my discussion with Econoclast, I took his legal meanings and applied them to this "wealth without a country" position.

Keeping gold out of the fiat arena would be more simple than many hard school advocates envision. The key to that is found in the implementation of international law. The leading economic countries (EuroZone in the future) would have but to establish a protocol that forbid the enforcement of collateral attachment anytime physical gold is traded, lent or involved in a trade. In this context, no banker would lend you gold to buy a house if, in a default, he could not claim your house in a court of law. Even private parties would never lend gold if the asset behind the loan could not be claimed for nonpayment. It's that simple. With a stroke of written law, the trading of gold as wealth would become a final payment with no possible credit implications. Our official fiats and wealth without a country would never again function as one."

Alek, is this similar to what you propose? In a way this is a natural two tier system, but still with convertibility.

Another change I see coming which will eliminate the gold manipulation is that the gold market, if there is still a central price-discovery market, will be brought from the future back into the present. In other words, all gold trades will be cash trades. Cash for real gold, but on a large scale. I think that with the coming collapse, we will see that the current system of trading paper futures of non-existent gold (and this system applies to more than just gold, it applies to ALL commodities) will lose the confidence of the public which is required for it to function. In order for a central system to regain the public's confidence, leverage will not be allowed. And gold will not be lent for fear that it will not be returned. So large sellers must a.) have real gold, and b.) be prepared to part with it.

You say, "Technically, the inspiration or the general idea of the double valuation system lies in the assumption that quick profit and long-term sustainability are on the opposite sides of the social weighing mechanism. I try to attach a concrete meaning to both, effectively multiplying them with appropriate weights, and let the population be aware of it..."

What troubles me is that this is a top-down approach to something similar to "Freegold". Being that, it is complex and must be administered by edict. Whereas the Freegold that I imagine is so simple, so elegant, that it will flow naturally from the people at the bottom.

I think that the quick profit vs. long-term sustainability problem is modern, and in fact, fairly recent. For one thing, the quick profits are now gone. Oh, how most of the quick-profiteers will soon long for the sustained wealth preservation of gold. I think it will be a sight to behold.

In my opinion, if you want to be practical and pragmatic, you cannot rely on a utopian fantasy like the Venus project as your guide.

Alek, I really don't think our two visions of the future are very different from each other. But I like one that flows from nature itself, rather than requiring much, if anything, from the government. To take it a step further and plan some "social engineering" to steer it in a better direction is fine. But I would not put that responsibility on the government. I would want to see it flow from the ground up.

I think we will see something like your two-dimensional system. And I think it is healthy to have these discussions. Someone's got to do it. And like you said, it's over the head of the average Joe to think this far out of the box.


alek_a said...


Indeed there is something in the words of FOA that resembles what I conjured. My problem is that it is a bit convoluted for me, probably because I am an engineer and I dont fully understand the economic terminology. But from what I could fathom, the discussion you posted went into some depth about decoupling the two currencies and giving them a separate realm to thrive in.

It feels satisfying when you find out that someone that commands certain respect discusses and puts forward ideas in a way that resemble your own ones. It probably has to do with the feeling of belonging to a group. Must be carefull not to make a religion out of it!

Maybe all that needs to be done are really only small corrections in the international law as per FOA.

It matters not really how we implement the technical side of the system as long as we reckognize that a counter-weight is necessary to rein in rampant abuse and perversion of the monetary system. I will be fully satisfied if the system is more natural at the end and manages to be effective in battling corruption.

I also have some reservations about the Venus project but I still find myself ideologically attracted to the main ideas, although not fully.

The first problem is that I have no way of veryfing the main premisse of the project: we are born as tabula rasa i.e. that the nurture determines ones behaviour and not (or far less) nature. I need to get a degree in phychology to be able to judge the truthfulness of it! Or at least read much relevant literarure in that discipline. Better to leave it to the experts.

My second problem is the degree of technology required to achieve the cybernatization of decision making that will be effective as compared to human leadership.

And the last problem is the "how". How do we get the necessary shift in conciousness or simply enlightning to make the Venus society functional? What about the transition period?

Too many questions. It indeed resembles a utopia, albeit a plausible one in my view.

FOFOA said...


If you would like to read the rest of that discussion by FOA for context, it is on this page beginning about a quarter of the way down. The first post I quoted from is called "A Tree in the Making #03".


Anonymous said...


Thanks for commenting on my post. I totally agree with you that Venus project is not perfect. I also personally doesn't agree with some aspects of it but I try to see the bigger picture of their idea. I amazed when they pull out the main problem with our corrupt world: monetary system. Since they already spot on the core issue, we now can focus on finding the solution. Altough their solution is not perfect, it is feasible. All we need to do is to find a way perfecting the solution. That's why I want to bring up these topic on this forum. I must admit that I may be too naive as young person which is same as you, work as engineer, which doesn't understand deeply about economics but I'm trying to catch up with Randy and Fofoa as I reckon they are experts in this area. :)

I respect Fofoa's view that Venus project might be an utopia. I can see the reasons behind this argument and perhaps in the end I may have to admit that this idea is too good to be true. However, there is nothing wrong to do brainstorming since we are trying to find a solution for this chaotic world.

Regarding the idea of freegold, I agree with Fofoa about building a bottom-up system is more feasible compared to top-down. I can see it working and, as a matter of fact, these kind of blog has persuaded me to be a goldbug as well. However, I still see freegold as a temporary solution as it doesn't really cure the main issue. Basic nature of human, greed, will always find a way to manipulate the "monetary" system.


FOFOA said...


The difference as I see it is that FreeGold is an emergent system, not an engineered system. In fact, it represents the disintegration of all engineered systems. It is what civilization will naturally fall back on when man's folly has failed.

FreeGold is to be recognized, not created. When all paper value burns, there will be a transfer of wealth from holders of paper promises to those who hold real things, like gold. To recognize and understand FreeGold in advance, and to act upon that understanding, is to put yourself on the receiving end of that transfer of wealth.

As Peter Schiff says, after the collapse there will need to be some good people who haven't been totally wiped out to rebuild America [now it looks like the world... Peter's thesis that the world would not go down with the sinking ship appears to be wrong so far].

I think it is healthy to consider that rebuilding process. It is even fun to think about what could be done better given a clean slate. But historically, utopian ideas have turned out to be quite dangerous. I watched the entire movie. I think the first half about the monetary system was quite good. But considering the second half brings up so many problems in my mind that I don't even know where to start. I'm not even sure I agree with the basic premise.

Here is just one small contradiction I can see from your comments and Alek's. You say, "Basic nature of human, greed...". And Alek said, "...the main premise of the project: we are born as tabula rasa i.e. that the nurture determines ones behaviour and not (or far less) nature."

So which is it that makes us greedy or bad? Nature or nurture? Does civilization civilize us, or corrupt us?

"Religious fervor" often accompanies utopian ideas. And the corrupting influence of power infects even those that intend to do away with corruption.

This is why I favor a bottom up, natural system. If a utopia like Venus could grow from the bottom up, that would be great. So think about it from that angle. It would have to be made out of man's free will, not through the control of people for me to embrace such a vision.


Ender said...

Hi Aleksandar, (and FOFOA)

* I acknowledge that there is a technique for social engineering on a mass scale and that it is being applied today. I would also suggest that any new engineering, in another direction, would be more of the same.

* Sorry to see that you have lost faith in humanity. Hopefully, you not lost faith in yourself.

* “…as long as there is a paper market for gold, in this or another form …, there will be no Freegold.” Well said, yet, I would contend that as long as people value the derivative of something over the real thing, we will have our paper markets, thus Freegold will remain just over the horizon.

* “It is simply the valuation of things is changed in this new system.” Here, I would state it slightly differently, it is the perception of what is valuable that will change the system.

One of the things that I find interesting in your postings is that you talk about a change in ‘mindset.’ The concept of Freegold is not something that stands simply on technical merit alone. Rather, it requires that man value gold as wealth rather gold being a means to more currency. As it turns out, this change is perception is not as easy as simply telling someone what has value. They have to learn it for themselves.

Will they?

If not, we will not have a Freegold system. If so, the value that man applies to gold will once again make it the foundation of the financial system for the goal will not be how much currency are you worth, but rather how much gold.

Currency systems are built upon the emotions of man. Whether those emotions are engineered, or they simply transpire, history shows that they exist and function. Logic would have it that if confidence is lost in a currency, something else will (spontaneously) take its place – it is what man desires.

FOFOA, “It is true that the average Joe will have trouble understanding the changes that are coming.” IMHO, the average Joe will have problems dealing with the corruption that will be exposed. The average Joe knows the difference between right and wrong and will act out against the injustice. At the same time, Freegold rests firmly in the hands of the average Joes of the world. The more average Joes that come to understand the deception cast upon them via the currency system, the more average Joe will be motivated to leave the system. That action will change the average Joe’s perception of gold. And, as the average Joes of the world exit the system, it will become even more unstable accelerating the change in perception regarding the current currency system. Thus, I agree, the system will change from the bottom up.

At the root of the change of perception will be that average Joe will come to understand the difference between holding something that represents payment in full verses holding the obligation to pay. As the ability to pay breaks down, so will trust in the current system.

“the Venus project” – Googled that. Ha. Change and understanding comes from within.

(while typing this it appears that a couple posts have been added.) “So which is it that makes us greedy or bad?” Good and bad are relative terms who’s values change over time. It is the choices that a person makes that defines their character. You choose your words. You choose whether to create or destroy. You choose to nurture or deprive. You choose to cooperate or appose. Choosing is the act of living.

Ender said...

Guess. Welcome. “However, I still see freegold as a temporary solution as it doesn't really cure the main issue. Basic nature of human, greed, will always find a way to manipulate the "monetary" system.” One of the most interesting attributes of the Freegold concept is that it doesn’t attempt to cure human nature, but works in conjunction with it. The Freegold concept gains strength from the fact that greed always grows out of designed monetary systems.

In the coming days, as people loose confidence in currencies, any currency that can honestly coexist with gold will be seen to be usable. Any currency that can be exchanged for gold (payment in full) will function. All others will be shunned.

Anonymous said...


We actually have one good example of "abundant resource" concept in the current world. It is open source (linux) concept. Think about it. In my opinion, they are quite successful of converting people from using windows to Linux. I believe they one day - if not already - will dominate the market. Eventually they will overthrown windows.

While typing this message, I was thinking about Venus project on facing 3 human desires: wealth, power, and popularity. Initially I was not so sure that Venus project can overcome that problems. However, I think I was wrong. On the open source world, they have overcome power and popularity issue. Power distributed evenly to all developers and popularity is not an issue as the smarter people will help the less-smart people on builing the programs as they are not competing each other for wealth because they already wipe out the wealth issue on the first place. Same thing should happen on Venus project (well, I hope).

Interestingly, when I enter "the venus project" on google, I find someone that write a blog about Venus project as hoax. His argument is quite interesting to me but I think I can put it this way:
1. Venus project can provide what human NEEDs. As a matter of fact, God has given enough resources for us
2. However, Venus project can NOT provide what human WANTs. Human demand is limitless but I hope by the new technologies developed from the project, it can be satisfied one by one

Here is the blog:
I can't believe the number of responses that he got :)


FOFOA said...


You raise a couple of interesting points. First, I absolutely believe we have abundant resources. And in time, I believe we will efficiently tap many of the sources of energy listed in the movie and the world will be a better place because of it.

Second, on the issue of Linux, wealth and popularity, I see a similarity to the US dollar.

In the olden days, you could be a wealthy man by owning a hardware store in your home town. You would provide a needed service to maybe 10,000 people. In those times, if you were really enterprising, you might own a railroad, or a steel factory. Then you would be fabulously wealthy as you were providing a service that benefited 100,000 people, or perhaps a million or ten million.

Today it is possible to become a multi-billionaire like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, or to earn $100 million by playing sports or singing songs. The reason for this is centralization and globalization. You can now do something that will be traded on the world stage, with a customer base of billions. This is made possible in part by television and by computers. But in order to make that kind of money your product must be rare. You must either be the best, or the only one. If it is talent that you have, it must exceed what the average Joe can do. And if it is a product you put out, it must be so unique that it cannot be duplicated.

The problem with corruption is that people cheat. Microsoft should be either the best, or the only one. But it is neither. So it cheated. But as you say, Linux is gaining ground.

In the same way, gold is gaining ground on the US dollar. Gold is like Linux, it is the money of the people. The US dollar is like Windows, it is neither the best, nor the only one, it cheats, and frankly, it sucks.

But an overreaching plan like the Venus project, which aims to "wipe out wealth", will simply be dead on arrival. To "wipe out wealth" means to make all resources, including all land, community property. And there are only two ways to do that. One is through a totalitarian government edict (through force), and the other is to get people to willfully give up all that they have for the good of the community... by their own free will.

Those people that have lots of "stuff" don't have to worry about the necessities of life. In fact, they have extra "stuff" to the degree that they spend more time thinking about the "wants" of life.

So you would have to get them to give up those wants, completely, to take care of the needs of everyone else. It will never happen. Not even with 200 years of social engineering and brainwashing.

That only leaves a totalitarian government edict. And that is the scary part about heading down this path.

Communism had similar goals, and a nasty, deadly outcome.


alek_a said...

Busy little goldbugs today huh? I just want to note that FOFOA may have an incorrect reading on the main premise on The Venus project (we dont need a monetary system since we do not need to compete for services/products any longer), but that particular discussion will take us way to long. I actually typed a largish post and then lost it (forgot to copy it before posting)... My bad.

It is academic anyway as I believe that we cant agree due to ideological differences. And we know that those, just as religion, are best left alone...

Also, I have reservations about the project from some of their other proposals. Such as the immense task of decision making that they propose to be done by machines. This is the ultimate technocracy. We dont have nearly as intelligent AI's as we would need to have them replace the free market (price discovery, healthy competition of ideas etc.) and democratic mechanisms. The former, when ideally uncorrupted, seem emergent themselves.

Not to mention the problem of installing such a system. Cant see a way that it can happen without force as well.

Ender thanks for the comments. I may indeed have carriered too deeply in the monetary issue and, as I already commented to FOA's words, fixing the issue may be as simple as updating a few international laws regarding legal tender. Or the average Joe losing confidence in the currency and switching to the "real stuff". From then we see what emergence brings us. The bottom-up scenario if you will.

It is only that I am slightly reluctant to discard most of modern (Keynesian) economics. Probably because I am not trained professionally in it so I cant critique it authoritatively.

Guess had a good example in the open-source movement. However, it is not fair to compare that to the Venusian resource-based economy (where eveything is available for free) since the open-source programmers have day jobs as well. Open-source software is generally buggy and less functional that commercial. Running Linux on my work PC, I know I had to tinker and hack my way trough with many programs. But, as I say, programmers have day-jobs and therefore must also enjoy some leisure-time.

By the way, the correct link for info on The Venus project is this, connected to the Zeitgeist movies. You will see a FAQ with answers from the founder on the questions how does it compare to communism, why it is not utopia etc. Some of the answers are sketchy but it gives an intelligent summary of what they want. Look also at the "Understandings" part on the website. It is good food for thought.

SatyaPranava said...

well..i'm just making it into the new year, and am deeply sorry I missed this post. FOFOA, you and I are in almost COMPLETE agreeement on the venus project and zeitgeist addendum.

From a philosophical perspective, I see Zeitgeist (inclusive of addendum) attempting two goals: description and prescription. Their charm comes from a brilliant documentary movie which does the former so brilliantly that it's viral.

But, the prescription, which appeals in some ideological sense, slams into the iceberg which I'm not sure even breaks the surface waters.

Like you, I believe that freedom lies in DECENTRALIZATION, and in grassroots. I also greatly believe that the overwhelming majority of history and even that which most would attribute to bottom-up, grassroots, has actually been top-down, "astroturf" as the anthropologists like to call it.

Technocracy, esp. as that which is espoused in Zeitgeist and the Venus Project, is destined to fail insofar as it is centralized. Technologies will always be abused by those who want more of an edge/power on those who do not. Thus, inequities will always exist. So even if the Venus project folks wanted to begin with a centralized and benign dictatorship of sentient technocracy, that massively centralized tool would eventually be co-opted by more nefarious interests and that tool would be wielded over the people. This is why it's said that Da Vinci refused to build his prototypes of the tank, helicopter, and submarine some 500 years ago: he knew is would be used to enslave the power-non-seeking masses.

anyway, great read overall. one of my favorites so far!

SatyaPranava said...

bumping to ensure replies...please ignore.

SatyaPranava said...

sorry..ensure email RECEIPT of replies. i'm not that shameless :)

FOFOA said...

Description and then prescription, or solid history woven into shaky prognostication. These are common sales techniques. Seamlessly blending innocent description into pernicious prescription. The tactic of cult leaders. Jim Jones, etc... I have no time nor patience for the Venus project.

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