Monday, October 20, 2008

Behind the Economic Crisis II

It’s still hitting us hard. Markets are down, foreclosures are up. Shanty towns are springing up in southern California. We’re officially in recession, it appears. And what got us here varies depending on which side of the political argument you listen to. The only problem with that is … it’s a little difficult to get at the real root causes.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, let’s try to understand it a little better in the second in our series of what’s going on Behind the Economic Crisis.

Depending on how long you’ve been listening to Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, you may or may not know that our work here is based on the extraordinary discoveries of Brazilian psychoanalyst and social scientist, Norberto Keppe. In a profound series of books he wrote in the 1980s, he essentially created a new branch of social science called “social pathology.” This was the application of his psychological assessment, analysis and treatment of the human psyche to the greater society in which we live.

Our society, he determined, is a reflection of the unrecognized parts of our individual psychological reality. “The cycle is centuries old,” he wrote. “Man creates an increasingly sick society as he is increasingly sickened by it.” This awareness occurred shortly after he moved to New York at the request of a number of professors and academics to introduce his work there. He went expecting American ingenuity and “can-do” attitude to take his work,and spread it worldwide, as they did with everything else - from Breton Woods economic policies to pop music.

But he encountered a country in trouble. “America has stopped working,” he noted. America was not producing anymore and was instead content to sit back and let the 3rd world do the work while they applied themselves to making money with money; that the U.S. was exploiting the globalization of the desire for a piece of the American Dream they’d so artfully perpetrated, stimulated and fed to chain everyone else to pulling the sled while they rode along behind, sucking up the profits.

Keppe saw psychological Inversion in the creation of an economic system that rewarded a company with increased stock prices for lowering costs by farming out production to Asian sweatshops. He saw a psychological condition in the hunger for power and money and consumer goods that was causing us to destroy the planet in our insatiable desire for more, more, more.

The three books I mentioned earlier were, and continue to be, extraordinarily astute and prophetic - Decay of the American People (and the U.S.), which we discussed in our last episode of Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, Liberation of the People: the Pathology of Power, and Work and Capital. These books discussed, analyzed and clarified the psychopathology of the human being that was manifesting in the social structures we had created. This was something remarkable for the time, and remains so even today. You’ll find those books totally relevant in today’s situation. Like they were written yesterday. Write me for more information:

What Keppe noticed was the break in our social structures had made from our essential nature. From philosophy, Keppe knew that the essence of life was goodness, truth and beauty. At the same time, being successful in society often meant going against those values. We can’t suggest, for example, that the richest and most powerful among us got that way by acting like Mother Theresa or Albert Schweitzer.

And we the people have bought into it all big time. We all want to throw our money into the stock market and see it double or triple or at least bring in 10 or 15% returns. And for doing what, exactly? As Warren Buffett has noted, we’re not a nation of investors anymore, we’re a nation of traders. Which conjurs up images of men and women staring for hours into laptop computer screens to squeeze dollars out of the differenc ein exchange rates between the Yen and the Euro. Surely this is not lost on us. We’ve given up our previous values of what it meant to live in a civilized society. Our leaders lie about whatever they need to to convince us we need a massive, unwillable, horrendously expensive war. They encourage huge speculative financial systems that slosh trillions of dollars around daily like giant cassinos. They throw billions of taxpayer’s dollars into shoring up totally collapsing economic models that they’ve promoted. And then, as it’s crashing down around their ears, they admonish us that “we’re all in this together,” lumping in the vast majority of the world’s population with the small minority who are actually playing the gaem.

It’s time to wake up. As Keppe writes in Liberation of the People, ”Most people believe that the powerful are needed to maintain ‘order’ among the populace and in the markets, rather than that it is precisely these powerful who cause all the social conflict and disturbance with the dishonest laws and systems they create.”

That’s where I’d like to step out from today - that this economic and social crisis has not just happened. It’s come to us as a product of our thinking and philosophy of life, if you will. Gilbert Gambucci, fresh from discussing this at our World Conference of Analytical Trilogy a couple of weeks ago, joins me today.

Click here to listen to this episode.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Behind the Economic Crisis 1

It's not the first time we've seen big money bailouts in our economic history, of course. Financial crises have been with us since the stock market was invented. But let's not forget that everytime the market struggles, there's a ton of money pumped in to shore it up. Public money. But this time, there's a lot of resistance to it. Could it be we're finally waking up?

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, the first in a series of what's going on Behind the Economic Crisis.

First of all, apologies for not posting here for awhile. I was very busy preparing for our 1st World Conference of Analytical Trilogy, which wrapped up last weekend in San Diego. It was a great event actually, that a number of loyal Thinking with Somebody Else's Head listeners attended - and I was very gratified to see that. Mike McVay joined us from Houston, Mark Carlson and Jane Reading were in from Sedona, Rozann Wellman and her mother flew in from Utah. And my fellow Canadians were there in some force, including Dennis Hilton from Vancouver, Will LaJeunesse and his father from Edmonton, and Jason Coombs, late of Windsor but now living and working with us in São Paulo.

We had 3 1/2 days of very fascinating lectures and workshops that really highlighted the expansiveness and depth of Norberto Keppe's comprehensive science of Analytical Trilogy. We also had a chance to feature the revolutionary Keppe Motor at the event, and at a couple of press conferences in L.A. and San Diego. And now, awareness of this revolutionary technological achievement has spread significatnly all over the world. Our Keppe Motor site provides more information for you, and so does our blog. If you're really interested, set your Google Alerts to Keppe Motor and Analytical Trilogy to stay up to speed.

We were, of course, in the U.S. during the historic Senate and Congressional discussions of the $700B bailout package proposed by Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson. That was wild stuff to watch. Coincidentally, perhaps, we were leaving the U.S. during the dramatic no vote to the package last Monday.

This was not the first time Keppe's work had been introduced to the country. Keppe and Claudia Pacheco were invited there personally back in the early '80s to spread their innovative and solutions-based work there. After years of admiring the American society, Keppe was shocked at the decay he discovered in America. He wrote a series of books aimed at conscientizing Americans of the wrong path they were heading down with the poorly conceived Reaganomic policies of the time. Liberation of the People, The Decay of the American People (and the U.S.), and Work and Capital laid it all out clearly - the decay, the pathology of power, the inversion of placing capital above work, the destruction of the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, the solutions Keppe's work proposed.

Although the American people loved his work (and still do), the power structures didn't, and it all culminated in Keppe and Pacheco fleeing the persecution in 1988. They lost everything, but re-established in Europe and finally found it safe enough to head back to Brazil. Their work flourishes here today, and our World Conference was another attempt to have Keppe's work sprout in the country that is so lost and so in need of real solutions.

We're going to explore the problems behind this current crisis in the next few podcasts. First thing to say is that this is not a new crisis at all. As Keppe noted in the '80s, the economic orientation towards speculation was creating a disastrous situation in the country. Money policy should be linked to production, to work - not to encouraging us to make money with money, as Reaganomics was doing. All the production of virtually everything has been moved offshore - to China and Mexico and India and Taiwan - and this is a disaster for the U.S. If there's no production anymore, what generates the cash? Speculation. Complex and abstract investment instruments called derivatives and hedge funds that generate huge profits - or losses - based on small movements in the prices of commodities or assets. Nothing tangible provided, just numbers in a computer somewhere.

So the crisis today is the result of decades of problems that were never addressed - a decay in all areas of American society, in ethics, and manufacturing and education and farming. And this is what is imploding now.

Keppe tried to alert the U.S. society about this, but it fell ultimately on deaf ears. Now, we're trying again.

I just want to say a little more because it's important to see that th eeconomy has been in trouble for awhile now. It's been made to appear that it's an unprecedented thing, but the signs have been around for a long time. Just a recent analysis of the situation reveals that huge amounts of dough have been poured into shoring up jittery markets.

In the International Herald Tribune of August 2007, they reported that the Fed pumped in $43B to maintain interest rates. At the same time, the other 2 parts of the Trilateral Commission, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan were also injecting billions. 250B pounds were injected by the Bank of England and the European Central bank as well.

And then, there our current scenario - $70B to protect Lehman Brothers, $85B for AIG, $180B on Sept. 18 by the U.S. Fed along with the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank to shore up the financial system.

Now, $700B. And I'm just scratching the surface. Where's all this money gone?

Combine that with former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld's admission back in 2001 that they couldn't account for $2.3T in transactions they'd made. "We've got no idea," he said.

Something's fishy, don't you think?

Something's also wrong when a homeowner can't pay his mortgage and gets thrown out on the street while the banking system that's overextended in mortgages gets bailed out with billions.

Le'ts start the process of analyzing this disaster and proposing solutions. Dr. Claudia Pacheco, vice-president of Keppe's International Society of Analytical Trilogy joins me today to do just that.

Click here to listen to this episode.

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