Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Alternative to Socialism

We need some perspective.

Fossil fuel use is about 150 years old and automotive use about 100 years old. Look how absurdly, the personal automobile dominates our life and is destroying any hope for a future.

We need to deal with more than incremental adjustments from the modern automotive age. If we want to continue the many benefits of precious fossil fuels, the many opportunity costs of those fuels, to personal automobile usage, then we need to set as a goal (here in the USA) and realize it, to reduce the use of the personal automobile by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years.

It is not encouraging, because Obama explicitly stated the other day that the automobile is such an important part of American history and culture and needs to remain so. This is a statement of a myopic politician beholden to special interests.

If you've never lived in the Northeast (USA)where much of the city, town, and village centers were built before the automobile, it may be hard to imagine a future with the greatly reduced automobile use, but it is very possible and absolutely desirable.

The key is the walkable neighborhood. That is, neighborhoods for everybuddy where everyone can get what they need within walking distance of their residence. This will take a major shift in the way that resources are allocated and products distributed to communities. The major over-supply side mall outlets (for those products and services that have utility) could become regional warehouses and older town and village centers, where they exist could be explicitly brought back as outlets for these products. Where the town and village centers do not exist, such as here out West (I'm in Eugene, Oregon), where the mindless assumption of the automobile has led to the mindless, endless residential districts with their equally alienating and squandering (strip) malls, communities could be rebuilt (think of all the jobs) to provide community centers and outlets.

Of course, this will not happen in the absence of a complete commitment to neighborhood/inter-community/inter-regional/worldwide ecological economic resource planning and allocation and redevelopment.

This Plan is too bold for American Politicians. This Plan is Socialism. With advances in communications technology, much progress, in the development of community centers, could help greatly increase the amount of tele-commuting that could help people work from and/or near their homes.

The resource allocation issue could be handled with a reformed economic system, an equity union, with a "plan and implement" modus operandi for economic operations. Reforming the financial system to take the fundamentally inflationary Capitalist aspect of "discounting the future" (i.e. assuming that money in the future will be worth less)could lead to a system of ecological economical redevelopment where only true growth in wealth would occur and be shared and could occur under the aegis of a mission emphasizing peace, equity, humanity, quality of life, and sustainability.

Removing the gluttonous oil resource use by the USA and Capitalist automotive oriented allies would slowly rescind the need for the hegemonic occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a world acting in concert would stand much better prospects for peace.

I'm a Work kin for peace and cooperation.

With much love and care,

Mike Morin

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Someone please define "free market".

I was taught in Economics that at best, the "market" was an abstraction. The supply and demand mythology of Classical and Neo-Classical Economics are such a gross misrepresentation of reality that they can only be viewed as marginally helpful abstractions.

There is no such thing as a "free-market economy".

"Command and control" is an incendiary propaganda term for Communist economies. When a Capitalist Fascist is considered "a strong leader", a Communist, who is good at getting people to work together, "rules with an iron-fist".

The trouble, with what you have read about other systems, Dan, is that you have been reading Capitalist propaganda. Had, a fair and balanced viewpoint been presented then the propaganda term, "command and control" would have been replaced by what it really was, is, and really could be in the absence of Capitalist imperialist militaristic hegemony and propaganda, "plan and implement".

Now, I know that many, if not most, people on this Community Development Banking list are well intentioned and motivated to do good. Others are Capitalist opportunists. Some may actually believe the brainwashing that they got from second rate Economists, Economics teachers, and Economics texts prepping the good lemmings for Business School. Have any of you ever read texts on Comparative Economic Systems written before what you so presumptively thought was the extinction of cooperative communitarianism, socialism, communism?

We are in the belly of a monster, Capitalism. That is my point. More troublesome, perhaps, is that monster is in your bellies and your brains.

To put this all in perspective, the following letter written to a well intentioned soul who wanted to start a "Bank for the Common Good" should clarify the point(s) that I am trying to make:

Response to Bank of Common Good

Hi William,

Thanks for the note.

I have been aware of your project for many months, now.

The Common Good Banks and the Peoples' Equity Union, with neighborhood "branches", regional planning boards, and a worldwide policy committee, have a very similar mission and goals. We both seem to want an economic democracy that deals directly with social and environmental injustices.

First of all, let me point out, that a "Bank" by definition, is owned by investors who expect a profit and make decisions based on that expectation. If the financial institution were owned by depositors, and democratically controlled (at least in theory) then it would be a credit union. We already have plenty of those (I belong to one), but they are irrelevant with respect to issues like equity, sustainability, lack of humanity, lack of social justice, pollution, health care, education, communications, etc.

Please read my essay, "Reforming Financial Systems" (on this blog), about the problems associated with the use of credit, and with the Capitalist Financial system as a whole. Then read other related essays, "A Double Payer System...", and "Transitioning to an Equity Union". I am absolutely convinced that a Socialist Financial system (exactly what the Peoples' Equity Union would be) coupled with an Ecological Economic Planning function cannot co-exist with the current Capitalist system of Finance. We must transition, we must all cooperate during the transition, not compete. Here's why:

In Capitalist competition models, we have what Economists call "externalities". Externalities are social and environmental costs that the Capitalists ignore. If they are dealt with at all, they are usually left for Governments to attend to, to clean up, to pay for. Or, they are subject to expensive and usually ineffective regulation policies, programs, and processes.

Because Capitalist Financial and Business organizations eschew externalities, a Bank for the Common Good, so-called Responsible Investing Firms, and the like would be at a huge disadvantage, because they absorb (pay for) the costs associated with omitting and/or relieving social and environmental costs. Therefore, although these ideas are great with respect to their intentions, they will be sure to fail.

The only solution, I see, is a socialist evolution. That is what I am proposing with the Peoples' Equity Union. Please read more (on the blog - the entire blog is relevant) and let me know if you feel comfortable spreading the word. It's is still too early to form a Board of Directors, but I welcome you, your inner circle, and any and all that you have interested in your project, to take a very close look at mine.

Thanks for writing, and feel free to give me a call at (541) 343-3808, if you care to discuss.

With much love and care,

Mike Morin

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The State of the Indonesian "Union" is Better

I don't dispute that credit unions are the superior form of "thrift" institution. I have my money in a credit union.

My exception is with the Capitalist system which assumes that money will be worth less (eventually, and getting closer all the time, worthless).

If such a Moslem law were passed worldwide, the banning of all loan interest as usury, there would be no need for unions to pay out "dividends" and charge "interest", that is only slightly less usurious and inflationary than Bank loans. The lender, the saver, is the winner, and the borrower the loser in such transactions. But does the dividend really cover the inflationary spiral of the dysfunctional Capitalist system?

I like the Moslem model where an equity union (my term) contracts with a community entity to share profits. Another way to look at it, is no interest loans with fee for services, but the latter assumes that there is no competition for funds, and the former would be more effective if whatever competition for funding that occurred were based on the equity union's ability to "invest" in successful endeavors, and not on an expected return on equity that was inflated by the assumption that money will be worth less in the future.

Besides, where will our credit unions be as it is realized that the automobile industry and home "ownership" are dead, and that in reality, almost all small businesses can't compete with Corporate Conglomerates and Capitalists who just move their money when they see that a business entity is dying or dead?

Mike Morin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creating Wealth

WT wrote:

>Money can't be created simply by printing it.

My response (to this and other points he made in his letter):

Of course it can, and is... Are you of the propagandized ilk that believes that issuance of credit creates money? That is not creation, that is usury, that is robbery, that is expropriation of wealth from workers.

Equity = Assets - Liabilities. You may be right, because of the historical and particularly recent abuses of Banks, Investment Banks, Equity Traders, Corporations, and Insurance Firms, collective liabilities most likely exceed the value of assets, particularly since the lack of effective demand for the low quality and of questionable utility assets that have flooded the market in the era of supply-side economics have reduced the value of those assets to salvage value at best.

Families, individuals, cooperatives, etc. would have direct access, with no usury, to financial capital. There would exist a profit-sharing arrangement between the Equity Union and the client. All wealth is derived from natural assets, including labor. The profit-sharing arrangement between an equity union and a client would make the assumption that the equity invested and shared was the product of previous natural assets.

Mortgage lenders are not doing borrowers any favors. Not by a long shot. They are no better than landlords. The following is the way that housing needs to be handled:

Housing and Property Ownership

Concurrent with financial systems reform, discussed in a previous essay where equity sharing and not-for-profit equity investing would replace the current financial paradigm of for-profit equity investing and usurious credit arrangements, we need to evolve to a different system with respect to residential and other real property occupation arrangements.In lieu of rent or leases, people should be allowed to acquire equity in their abodes and business properties. For example, in the case of an apartment, if one paid $500 per month to a property management firm, let's say $50 per month would go to property maintenance, and another $40 to administration fees, insurance, etc. This would leave the resident with $410 of accumulated equity added to their account each month. If we had a large cooperative housing organization (preferably world-wide, and preferably the only form of property ownership) then when someone had to move or wanted to move, they could take their equity with them to the new property.

With regards to mortgages, they are horribly usurious and should be banned. The scenario related above would also replace the current system of financing "home ownership loans". A huge problem that we are facing now is the terrible inflation in the market values of real property (and capital assets, for that matter). If we pooled our equity, pooled our assets, and collectively wrote off our liabilities, then we could significantly write down the market values of real and capital assets.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Regarding Nationalization of Banks

If by nationalizing the banks, we meant transferring all the existing equity into an account for the people and establishing an equity union then I would be for such a proposal, except remember that the equity in the Banks and the Corporate Capitalist Conglomerates are held internationally.

So it is really the "inter-nationalization" of the Banks AND the corporations that is in order. That is, the inter-national transfer of all equity to an equity pool to be held in trust for the people of the world, whose reallocation of assets would be administered by an Inter-national (I prefer worldround) Organization of Community Development EQUITY unions, whose mission would include peace, equity, humanity, quality of life, and sustainability, and whose strategy would be to implement a neighborhood/inter-community/inter-regional/ worldwide program of ecological economic planning and redevelopment.

All equity trading and credit could be outlawed. In other words, the whole planet would adopt Moslem law with respect to the concept of loan free finance.

See for an explanation of "riba"-free microfinance.

Mike Morin

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Units of Trust


The "units of trust" scenario thatyou are describing sounds like a community/worker hybrid cooperative, where the community members and the workers of local distribution and production units own EQUITY shares in the various units.

The Mondragon system in the Basque Region of Spain started out similar to such a model and there is a cooperative food store, somewhere in North Carolina, that is set up as a community/worker cooperative.

Let's take a cooperative food store as an example. The difficult part of such an arrangement would be to balance the interests of the community with the interests of the workers. If it was a wealthy community then members might want to donate a premium for each purchase to increase the wealth of the workers. If the workers were wealthy (quite unlikely all up and down the distribution and production channels of food and associated necessities) then a patronage refund and/or dividend would be distributed to the community owners.

No need for banks, but equity unions could be helpful.

For example, in todays' post-supply-side economy, there is a tremendous over-abundance of assets, although many would be of questionable quality and/or utility. In the formula of Equity = Assets - Liabilities, it is very hard to determine where these Corporate Conglomerate Capitalists stand as the Capitalists have the very unethical practice of moving their money as suits their own personal interests and not those of the workers or any aspect of the environment.

To the holders of the over-supply, the lack of effective demand for that over-supply is a liability to the owners of those assets. But what is the equity position of those owners? Only holding Capitalists accountable for the asset over-supply situation that they created will help to transition to a rational distribution of goods.

Only an international equity union can manage such a transition.

In other words, take the money and run must not be allowed!!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

“Private” vs. “Public” Work(s)

“Private” vs. “Public” Work(s)

For many years, we have been talking and writing about this line of demarcation between private and public. After all, don't we all have private and public aspects to our character? Is it really, any of your concern how many men that I've slept with? Remember, the question was not whether or not I had sex? Just to make the record perfectly clear, the answer is nun...

Why do they call it history, it's her story, as well (more at water than oil?)... It should be called ourstory.

But all Carless Joe Kin, aside, "private" financing of "public" works becomes a racket when:

1.) The bond issuers/dealers and investors make a profit off property tax payers (which includes renters)
2.) The so-called "public works" projects are not optimal (i.e. do not maximize the "utils" ;-)) of the most public of our people, (that is the most needy) and do not optimize the utility for the greatest amount of people.
3.) When private interests feed at the trough of ill-conceived pork barrel projects that do not maximize/optimize the benefits to the people and our environment(s), and maximize the profits of a relative few (i.e. architects, real estate dealers, lawyers, large contractors, construction supply firms, etc.).

It has become public knowledge among far too few, I guess, but public subsidy to private interest has been the rule not the exception, especially since the days of Reagan. You may want to read Harrison and Bluestone's book (I forget the title) or Robert Goodman's second book, if you are not already initiated and sufficiently outraged at the concept and the history.

It was bad enough that the supply-siders were chanting "governments hands off" while they were raping our mother earth and our honest brothers harder than anybuddy has ever been raped before, but at the same time they were taking government hand outs. Also, you may or may not be aware they were increasing government payments to the military industrial complex, allowing very sick little American boys and girls? to develop and produce drones and other very twisted real robotic genocidal equipment, based on their practice at the video screen.

Just a SMALL case of AGGRAVATED RAPE AND MURDER, and the United States of America is about as guilty as they could get!!!


Mike Morin