Brandon Smith, Contributing Writer
When I first began the process of launching the Alternative Market Project, the idea and scope were rooted in analytical papers I had written years before on aspects of centralization versus decentralization, and globalization versus localization. Back then, I saw these conflicting economic systems as mutually generative. That is to say, the further we as a society are pushed towards collectivist or feudalist economic structures, the more we naturally or unconsciously gravitate towards independent and open markets. The problem today is that independent markets have been artificially and quite deliberately removed from the public view. As I have said in the past, centralization is a powerful tool for elitists, because it allows them to remove all choice from a system until the only options left to the people are those that the establishment desires. Though we deeply long for free and vibrant trade unhindered by corporate oligarchy, we are told that such a thing does not exist, and that we must make due with the corrupt ramshackle economy we have been given. I say, this is simply not so…
The great lie that drives the fiat global financial locomotive forward is the assumption that there is no other way of doing things. Many in America believe that the U.S. dollar (a paper time-bomb ready to explode) is the only currency we have at our disposal. Many believe that the corporate trickle down dynamic is the only practical method for creating jobs. Numerous others have adopted the notion that global interdependency is a natural extension of “progress”, and that anyone who dares to contradict this fallacy is an “isolationist” or “extremist”. Much of our culture has been conditioned to support and defend centralization as necessary and inevitable primarily because they have never lived under any other system. Globalism has not made the world smaller; it has made our minds smaller.
By limiting choice, we limit ingenuity and imagination. By narrowing focus, we lose sight of the much bigger picture. This is the very purpose of the feudal framework; to erase individual and sovereign strength, stifle all new or honorable philosophies, and ensure the masses remain completely reliant on the establishment for their survival, forever tied to the rotting umbilical cord of a parasitic parent government.
Perhaps the only ray of sunshine to be seen through the storm clouds of the current economic crisis is the exposure of globalism as an inherently flawed methodology. The ongoing implosion in the EU has reached a tipping point, as far as I am concerned, and the parade of absurdity involved in the unionization and “harmonization” of Europe is now center stage; its full frontal economic nudity under the hot white lights of the unforgiving financial microscope.
With the latest S&P downgrade of multiple EU nations, including France, Italy, Austria, and Spain, there can be no doubt that interdependency has led to ruin. Despite French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s insistence that the S&P downgrade “changes nothing”, the fact is, the EU has just been dealt a death blow. Higher borrowing costs tend to spark a violent cycle of credit decay in countries with extreme debt to GDP ratios. Even if France slides through the barrage relatively unscathed, smaller peripheral countries orbiting the EU will not. Greece, for instance, has just announced that talks surrounding the repayment of treasury bonds held by starry eyed investors have fallen apart:
This means that instead of the 50% “haircut” which buyers of Greek debt were already facing, markets may instead be saddled with a full-on 100% default.
Other smaller EU nations that have been propped up by the flow of funds from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) may soon be in for a surprise as well. S&P has also announced a downgrade of the EFSF itself:
Only AAA rated countries have the ability to support the fund and its guarantees. After the downgrades of France and Austria, the number of AAA rated countries in the EU has dwindled to four, led by Germany. To be clear, Germany does not have the capacity to carry the EFSF and the bailouts of multiple nations upon its shoulders, leaving the fund to flounder, and eventually, self destruct.
The EU experiment is over. It may take some time for the world to recognize it, but it has indeed failed.
Across the ocean, the situation has not improved. The news of the European downgrade came right on the heals of an announcement by Barack Obama that the government must raise the U.S. national debt limit yet again, by no less than $1.2 Trillion! Sadly, the negative effects of America’s own recent credit troubles have only been subdued by the more immediate turmoil in Europe. It is simply a matter of time before attentions turn back to the frail American debt issue:
This debt limit increase should be viewed with quite a bit of vitriol by the American public, especially when one understands that a considerable amount of taxpayer dollars (the precise amount is still not fully known) went into bailout funds for the EU which are now in jeopardy of being derailed. If American taxpayers are going to foot the bill for the corruption of banks and governments, then we might as well foot the bill here at home, however, because of the sick rationale of globalism and interdependency, we are instead paying for the corruption of banks and governments across the Atlantic while our traitorous president demands even more money to be swiftly misallocated.
Madness? No. This is not madness. This is hardcore fraud, and economic subjugation. This, my friends, is financial warfare, and right now, we are losing…
While some may applaud the fall of the EU as a victory, I would recommend looking a few moves ahead of the game to see where we are really headed. Yes, the EU is a perfect example of the feebleness of centralization, but it is also an expendable piece on the grand globalist chess board, just like the U.S. dollar. Already, IMF mascots like Christine Lagarde and MSM pundits have begun suggesting that the EU is failing not because of centralization, but because the union is not centralized ENOUGH! Only a few months ago, Angela Merkel of Germany obstructed the institution of EU Bonds because the move would collectivize the debts of EU members and remove elements of sovereign control. I guarantee that policies of national sovereignty like those in Germany will soon become the scapegoat for collapse of Europe in the near future.
The purpose behind a European disaster is not to break up the EU, but to consolidate power even further. Indeed, plans have already been suggested by centralists which involve a “reformation” of more powerful European nations into a tighter and more totalitarian framework. The Council On Foreign Relations, a globalist think tank and political puppeteer group, of course agrees with this plan, and has promoted the concept on numerous occasions:
The Financial Times’ Wolfgang Münchau argues that the split of the eurozone from the larger EU was inevitable and essential. The summit demonstrated that a “monetary union cannot coexist with a group of permanent non-members in a unified legal framework,” he writes. For the eurozone to survive, the greater EU must be reconstituted or destroyed, Münchau explains. Indeed, Britain’s decision not to take part in the fiscal union is paving the way for a new Europe unhindered by half-hearted British engagement, says Der Spiegel’s Roland Nelles. He contends that Europe is “on the path towards becoming a federal country.”
As we have discussed many times over the years, the subversive and sometimes subtle debasement of the dollar is in fact a deliberate program designed by international financiers to force the American public to accept loss of sovereignty and centralize economic authority into the hands of an elite few. The situation in Europe is no different in this regard. Both cultures are being strong-armed through the removal of options and funneled into a waiting net like so much oblivious trout. So, the question must be asked; how do we fight back?
Could a political groundswell be used to supplant corrupt leadership and stall the coming avalanche? No. Even with a clean sweep of all branches of government and the election of a presidential candidate with considerable economic insight (like Ron Paul), the damage has already been done. Would a complete shutdown of the Federal Reserve and a repudiation of all debts accrued through its underhanded financial practices make a dent? A good start, but still not enough. What about a complete reversal of current spend and borrow practices by our government and a fast track plan for the reconstruction of America’s industrial base? That would be great, but American industry took decades to dismantle, and it will take decades to rebuild, so again, no dice in the short to medium term.
The fact is, the U.S. is going to see some very hard economic years ahead, regardless of any top down political solution. Those who are waiting and hoping for a knight in shining armor to ride into Washington D.C. and save them are going to be sorely disappointed. Those who shrug off the threat of fiscal breakdown as a “long term” affair will likely find time quickly slipping away while they clamor for bureaucracy to finally work in their favor. As a movement keenly aware of the threat at hand and the culprits behind it, the Liberty Movement should be doing far more than it is now to stem the tide, and that work begins with decentralization.
Decentralization is an activist strategy which does not rely on top down intervention, but instead, focuses on concrete bottom up community building and organization without the hindrances of traditional power structures. In terms of economics, it means a complete break with the corrupt system and the institution of our own free markets. This process is only as difficult as we make it for ourselves.
The essentials of an independent life are food, water, shelter, property, trade, and safety. The means to attain these essentials have been relegated to instruments which central banks and other elitist entities administer and control. However, that control is and always has been an illusion, an illusion we could walk away from anytime we wish. This is done through localizing the production of essentials. Changing the way we look at trade is the key. A few simple rules, if followed in a determined fashion, make this change a reality:
1) Provide Essentials For Yourself Whenever Possible: Some essentials can be covered even when you are alone. If you have access to property, can grow your own food, and have water collection capability, then you are far ahead of the average American in many respects. With modern technology, including space and energy saving methods, self sustainability is possible even in urban surroundings. The goal here is to do for yourself whatever you can, whenever you can, making you less vulnerable to mainstream economic chaos. The more insulated you are, the better equipped you will be to help build or participate in an alternative market.
2) Network Or Die: Some essentials cannot be provided by one’s self. Organization and networking in order to construct mutually beneficial trade groups is not only necessary, but inevitable in the face of economic collapse. One way or another, every American who wishes to survive will one day have to get up off their couches, leave their houses, and begin working with other people. Either they will see the wisdom in preempting collapse and start networking now, or, they will start networking after collapse out of desperation. Better to start now, and save ourselves the heartache…
3) Trade Skills, Not Dollars: Use paper currency while it still has some value, but simultaneously, wean yourself off of it through barter of goods and services. See how many essentials you can fully provide without the use of dollars and without purchases through corporate chains. Think of this as going financially “off-grid”. What systems do you depend on that ultimately harm you? How many of those systems can you decouple from now? Private trade makes independent living attainable by localizing your means of procurement to your own two hands, instead of to a paycheck doled out by a corporation.
4) Use Commodities, Dump Dollars: Precious metals are the only practical currency exchange available for broad use in a decentralized market. Fiat coupons, digital currencies, sticks and shells, etc., will not work. The inherent rarity of PM’s, combined with their tangibility, and inability to be artificially reproduced, makes them the ideal currency alternative to fiat. Digital currencies, reliant on an internet which may not exist in the manner we know it today, are a tremendous waste of time. Any trade dependent on a system outside of local control is not free trade. Metals place true free trade, at a local level, within reach. Even in a highly developed barter market, currency will play an important role, and PM’s should not be discounted.
5) Become Your Own Industry: As decentralization takes root in a local economy, the need for jobs and for goods will not disappear. In fact, it will become a priority. Entrepreneurship will be the engine that drives any legitimate resurgence of the U.S. economy, but this business mindset will have to take on a localized focus. I have heard it argued that America will never be able to rebuild if trade and industry are reduced to local efforts. On the contrary, thousands of cities and counties acting at a local level to reintroduce micro-industrial economies would far surpass the limited and centralized bumblings of the corporate industrial framework. The more insulated and self contained each community becomes, the stronger the whole of the country will be in the long term. The next industrial revolution, if there ever is another, will come about through city, county, and state centric industries designed to feed the prosperity of the residents within those communities, instead of siphoning away wealth and diminishing available essentials as the modern corporate system is engineered to do.
6) Internalize State Commerce: When enough citizens within each state finally wake up to the dangers of municipal default, federal encroachment on state lands and resources, and the weakness of interdependency on federal subsidies, they will begin to look for ways to plug the fiscal leaks they have ignored for so long. Decentralization truly finds its home within the structure of the states, and the powers afforded them through the 10th Amendment. At bottom, states have the ability legally as well as economically to become the ultimate decentralized systems, being that they are Constitutionally mandated to take such measures anyway. Resource rich states will likely be the first to undertake decentralization in the midst of economic collapse. Oil, minerals, farm capacity, timber, coal, etc, should be the solid ground upon which states and their citizens set foundation, and states should utilize these resources with the intent to enrich their citizens FIRST, through increased employment and local independent business incentives. This would be a far cry from the corporate pirate ship plundering that goes on in states today, and far more financially sound.
While there are numerous concerns and great tribulations to be confronted and solved in our age of bedlam, from the rise of police states, to political treason, to expanding wars abroad, first and foremost, we must surmount the problem of economic collapse, or all else will be lost. Economic collapse is the trigger by which all other tyranny is made viable. It is the rationalization that will be used to convince the public that the loss of freedom is a “crucial tradeoff” for increased safety. The more centralized we as a nation become, the more centralized the world becomes, the less likely we will be to weather the tidal wave of collapse. The more decentralized we become, the more localized and independent our communities, the less we will be affected by destabilization, the more successful we will be as a people, the less rationalization the government will have to diminish our freedoms, and the greater leverage we will have if they try to diminish them anyway.
The path is clear; we decentralize, we localize, and we do it now, or, we lose our country, our cultural identity, and our legacy. If all other options have been stolen away from us, then we must have the courage to create our own…
Brandon Smith is the founder of Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better or contribute to their Safe Haven Project. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected]