January 24, 2010
The Currency of Social JusticeBy Andie Brownlow
What happens if the dollar becomes worthless? People on the left have given serious thought to a replacement for money itself.
Many Americans believe that the Cloward-Piven strategy is not only what purposefully bankrupted New York, but also what the Obama administration is employing to erode capitalism in America. So what economic system is being erected in its place? Using Gesell and Keynesian monetary theories, as well as precedents by the Obama administration and Congress, we can see "social justice" transforming America through "green jobs" and our currency crisis.
The government is contriving a green jobs boom. Last year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated over $500 million for entry-level and advanced training for jobs in the clean energy and health care industries. Job growth would be nice if it were controlled by the private sector, but government employment and regulation will dominate a "green energy" industry since the free market has not yet seen fit to produce this boom on its own.
The resulting expense from this artificial boom will be increased taxes to support green subsidies. In addition, the current fuel industry will be decimated by cap-and-trade legislation designed to skyrocket the cost of traditional energy methods. Our economy is not undergoing a recovery; it's undergoing restructuring to remove the element of free-market capitalism.
As government jobs have now surpassed goods-producing jobs, the new "green economy" jobs will start to absorb most of the rising U.S. unemployment. Government-subsidized green jobs will be centered on alternative energy production and retrofitting homes and businesses for energy efficiency.
As Van Jones articulates, "You cannot beat global warming unless you green the cities, you cannot green the cities unless you green the ghetto and you cannot green the ghetto in 2009 without giving Pookie a job." Common sense says that "Pookie" can't be saved by a green job if "Pookie" isn't inclined to working in general. But let's humor the thought anyway. Van Jones also says that in a green economy, there will be "no more throw-away people." That phrase is also the title of a book written by a pioneer in the social justice movement, Edgar Cahn.
Mr. Cahn is the founder of an organization called TimeBanks USA. TimeBanks are used as private entities who work with government agencies, such as Social Services, to inject the concept of Co-production into communities. The goal of Cahn's version of Co-production is to "redefine work" through "social justice" and the "core economy." It's also a way through philanthropy and government funding to intermingle our monetary economy with the low-valued skills of the "core economy" in order to have an equalizing effect on wages. Their system is based on a mutual credit, non-negotiable and non-interest bearing form of currency called "Time Dollars."
So what does all of this mean for a fundamental transformation of America? In the coming months, we'll have the largest government employment sector in American history and a labor market ominously beholden to the government for its survival. Common sense says that if the government's income relies on taxes from the private sector, then when those jobs are gone, so is the government's revenue to pay off its massive debts. This concept is now tritely referred to as "unsustainable."
For those on whom the consequences of "unsustainable" aren't lost, it most likely means the collapse of our currency. As California proved last year, the government is not above IOUs. But what about a full-on economic collapse of our currency, where IOUs are no longer worth the paper they're written on?
When the government is bankrupt and on the hook for the majority of U.S. employment, it can't just neglect government salaries for citizens. In a panic situation, otherwise considered ideal conditions by the Obama administration, there would need to be an economic system in place not based on our devalued currency.
For the restructuring of our economy to bring about social justice and economic equality, a non-negotiable currency unhindered by zero-bound interest rates must be put in place. Here's one scenario in which an alternative currency could be introduced into our economy: Let's use government-sanctioned Time Dollars as an outline for what a new domestic currency might look like, given the goals of the political left. I'll call this fictitious currency "Credits."
Fiat-backed IOUs would be replaced by time-backed salary Credits. If you worked forty hours this week at a government job, you get forty Credits. Those in the private sector who are given government subsidies or resell subsidized products would most likely be required by law to accept Credits as legal tender. The rest of the private sector, fearing loss of market share and further devaluation of the dollar, would also begin accepting and using Credits. (Initially, Credits would probably be considered "negotiable" as they'd be used in exchange for goods offered by the competitive free market. Later, government rations and price controls would rectify this "problem.")
Credits would be advocated to the public as inflation-resistance because they would be based on an electronic credit/debit system and considered always in "sufficient" supply. It would also be non-interest-bearing, meaning the currency carries no investment potential. This discourages hoarding and makes savings accounts obsolete because there is no possibility for interest accrual.
To support existing entitlements such as welfare, disability, and retirement, there is a potential for negative interest on Credits. It would serve as an equivalent of "stamp scrip" from the 1930s to keep the currency valid. This would also discourage hoarding and provide government revenue for further redistribution of wealth.
An example of negative interest: The government applies a monthly 1% "tax/stamp scrip" on the balance of your Credit account. That tax would go to support federal entitlement programs and eventually eat away at your "savings" unless you spend them. It also prevents you from saving for your own retirement, and creates perpetual dependency on the federal government.
The key to achieving social justice is the non-negotiable aspect of Credits; an hour of work is valued the same no matter the job, not just the person. The slogan that holds down minorities and kills ambition, "equal work for equal pay," is easily achieved by Uncle Sam becoming America's employer. We're well on our way.
Whatever is left of the private sector could be taxed for "windfall profits" above whatever the government deems equivalent to full-time government employment. This wouldn't be much different from FDR's proposed 100% tax rate on the wealthy during WWII. This will successfully push out the private sector by taking away the ability to earn more than the maximum income allowance for all citizens. From there your imagination can take over, but there it is: social justice.
All of this sounds wildly conspiratorial until you notice each point is not without precedent. Not all complementary currencies are this severe in restraints, but I wanted to highlight how some of the Marxist goals prevalent in the Obama administration could be achieved through a currency change.
I recommend reading about complementary currency systems such as WIR, Time Dollars, and Ithaca Hours, as well as radicalized political economics, Co-production and TimeBanks.
Andie Brownlow blogs at AndieBrownlow.com.