Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Inconveniant Delusion

I apologize to my readers for asking them to sit through this garbage video, and I shall attempt to summarize it to spare you the irritation, but the seriousness with which people approach this movie is appalling, and the message it is delivering is juvenile.

In the beginning it points out that only 5% of the money in Canada is "made" by the government, and the other 95% is made by banks. "Holy smokes!" they imagine we cry, "Why do banks have this power?!"
The truth is that they do not. The video relies on the vague notion of "money" to obfuscate the real meaning. The Bank of Canada is responsible for all  physical currency that is flying around, but without the concept of "money" as it relates to loans and such things, our economy would not grow. It is the lending of money that stimulates the economy, encouraging growth. This lending of money is either done through private lending or through financial institutes like banks. Banks do not create physical currency, but they do not need to. I have not been paid in any form of cash since I ran that lemonade stand (so last year). Please keep this dynamic in mind since it undermines the entire video's argument.

The video deliberately implies that banks can just write big honking cheques for however much they would like, with no regard to the economy's well-being. They point out that banks in the past were required to hold an amount of money in their vaults that equaled the amount of amount that people had deposited, and so were "owed". The reason we rid ourselves of reserves is not only to mitigate the loss of money due to various robberies etc, but also because the amount that is loaned out is directly correlated to the growth in the economy. They made a damn equation about it, for crying out loud, and as everyone knows, equations = truth. (Drawing angry eyes on bank logos to show how they are evil, however, = 5th grade education)

Getting into its stride now, the video asks what would happen if all Canadians suddenly demanded their money back, and implies that it would cause a massive crash of the economy, since obviously the banks do not have the money to supply to everyone. Ignoring how far fetched the notion is that everyone would demand their money back (True it happened in the Great Depression but that was due to a myriad of reasons that are eliminated today by the fact that deposits up to $100,000 are covered by the CDIC) the video failed to be aware of the presence of the BANK OF EFFING CANADA that is here to molly-coddle and otherwise babysit all the major banks in case of catastrophe. Gee, it is almost like the government has whole teams of academic economists that are much smarter than the average film-making schlemiel that checks, double-checks, and re-double-checks this kind of fatalist crap.

"How can you charge interest on nothing?" The movie asks with the kind of wide-eyed bullshit-eating grin that children use when they think they are being more clever than mom and dad. Easy, you charge interest on the risk that the bank assumes, since if you default on your payment, the bank takes a loss.
When they lose their minds over compound interest, I do wish more people would understand the severity of this phenomenon, so I can not help but agree with them a little. Owing money on credit cards is pretty horrible and it is in the best interest of most people to reduce the amortization time on their mortgage, since paying it off sooner means less wasted money, but that is a choice everyone has to make for themselves. Do you want to feel good now, or later?  Compound interest is functionally the cost of paying less today, the price of having more money to spend now.

Hang on a second, the video just implied that anyone who questions the banking system could end up being crucified like Jesus. This might be the first movie on the "Pun'd it Mandatory View list".

The narrator, who I am beginning to hate more and more, tells us that the lack of reserve limits is allowing the banks to break the law and bankrupt Canadians. Last time I checked, it was the irresponsible credit card culture that was bankrupting Canadians. Let me put this to you, the banks do not force people to borrow money. If one does not want to pay interest, do not borrow money. The notion that we need to spend thousands on vehicles or houses etc is the real problem. Now, I will admit if we all waited until such time as we possessed enough money to buy a house with cash, very few people would actually own houses, but with some intelligent budgeting and careful planning, not only should a mortgage be the only debt one ever accrues, but it should not be a horrific burden.

Also, although I will shamefacedly admit I am not sure to whom we owe money, I am pretty damn sure we do not owe it to private banks (A quick Google reveals approximately 12% is owed to Canadian chartered banks). So despite the carefully created graphic of money being sucked out of schools and hospitals to drop into the yawning mouth of a private bank logo, I think this image may be inaccurate.

Why, despite the fact that their debt is many times larger than ours, do Americans not pay it off as fervently as Canadians do? Because the American debt is to other countries and they realize that just so long as their dollar grows faster than their debt grows, the debt is technically shrinking, and so it is not a concern. Canadian debt is to Canadians, however, so as long as our economy is growing faster than the debt is growing, holding the debt is worth it. (Whether this is the case or not is in debate, however) This is why we "keep digging to get ourselves out of a hole" as the movie suggests.

The video shows that in 1998 our national debt was $840 billion and we paid off $750 billion to leave $800 billion, but it is true that the interest has been increasing and we continued borrowing elsewhere, so it is not a surprise that we can not just "lump sum" pay off the debt. It is also pertinent to note that they do not account for the inflation of the dollar value, thus the relative value of the debt is lower than projected.

They totally just implied that the entire world is $52 trillion in debt to Canada's banks. Wow. The director (I assume) then comes on screen to point out that the money system totally does not benefit Canadians (Totally.) so why has no one told us about this? You see, my friend, they were hiding this information in textbooks. When he invokes Lincoln and Mackenzie to uphold his ridiculous conclusion that we no longer control Canadian money, I want to slap him so desperately that my fingers are itching. He parrots them saying they did not support banks, and calls it "ironic" and "disgraceful" that they are now on the money that banks own, (For the last time; Banks do not create money) topping the whole thing off with the suggestion that their anti-bank views got them assassinated. Worse, he mocks our Queen (Lord help me, I love her) by posting a quote about her breakfast preferences. Sir, leave the nonsensical jokes to the professionals.

After we are assaulted with a poor quality hard-rock song, he presents the fact that it costs four cents to make a penny, which is a bit ridiculous, or it would be if a penny disintegrated after first use, but the velocity of money (how many times money is used a year) is around 7 times, so a penny would cover its costs in the first year. Even so, considering this imbalance, there has been talk lately, of abolishing the penny, as is done in many southern countries. As someone who has to carry around those heavy boxes of coin, I am in favor.

He takes a second from leading us by the nose to lampoon Jim Flaherty, the conservative finance minister, who insists that the Canadian mint prints paper money, when it is in fact the Bank of Canada. Cheap  laughs aside though, is it really that important? Not as important as the fact that the company that prints our bank notes was responsible for printing the notes of two countries that had gone through hyperinflation, which is important in the same way that we cannot allow a printing press that prints bad news to print good news because the karmic imprint in the metal will spoil our economy. The impression that he leaves is the idea that the people printing our bank notes will just drown us in currency, spiraling us towards chaos in the form of million dollar loaves of bread, as opposed to the true picture, which is that money is just paper, and we order it when we need it. The company that prints it is about as integral to our economy as the car company that made the vehicle I had a baby in. But this is irrelevant to the movie; what is important is that private banks could  "water down" our money at "the flick of a switch" despite the fact that private banks can no more print money than I can.

More rock music. I can honestly not believe I am sitting through this thing. Do you see what I do for you, Dear Reader?

Apparently because we have debt we should be ashamed of our economy, despite the fact that we have weathered the global economic slowdown arguably better than almost all other countries, suffering the least amount of recession. But if we focused on that, we might feel happy. We need to focus on the fact that EVERYONE is in debt, and Marcus Aurelius once said "Poverty is the mother of crime". However, the only poverty the majority of us will experience is relative poverty (Canada is much too socialist to allow much absolute poverty) and if everyone is in debt, well, we are all doing okay. Prices are set by demand, and if no one can pay a certain price, that price drops. Again, they hide this information inside schools.

Furthermore, the narrator claims the bank of Canada has a "conflict of interest" because its charter says that  it must control currency and credit to promote the best interests of Canadians, but he thinks that it is not. I am debating writing him a letter with the definition of "conflict of interest" because it has obviously escaped his notice.

The final delightful cherry on this sundae of ridiculousness is that he plays on the fears of parents, saying that if we really loved our children, we would save them from a lifetime of debt slavery. Pardon me if I do not panic and rush on out with a picket sign boycotting banks, but it is likely that by the time my children are grown, the economy is going to keep puttering on the way it always has.

(The next half an hour is occupied with showing that powerful people tend to have powerful friends and are usually connected. Wow. Also, someone should explain to the leader of the Green party that sometimes people keep things secret because other businesses will steal secrets for their own gain; talk to any entrepreneur about business discretion. )

The movie eventually begins to smack of someone bitter that they received no press the last time he harassed Paul Martin with dumb questions about how Rockefeller wants to take over the world. When even the local student newspaper says you are crazy, you might need to tone it down a bit (He says the fact that they called him a student despite the fact that he is not a student (Surprised? But he does belong to a student group) is "poor journalism"). I will give him one point, though, the Media is pretty corrupt. If he is looking to Reader's Digest for facts, however, he might have a bigger problem than untrustworthy media. I think a clue to that problem might be hidden in the fact that he felt the need to videotape himself puking. I did not need to see that.

The Hitler point (Point at which someone needlessly mentions Hitler): One hour, twenty seven minutes. There are nine minutes left but I am not sure I have the strength to continue.

To sum up? (Tl:dr in other words) This twit with a camera believes the world is doomed because the banks will milk us to death in pursuit of the New World Order. Despite his recommendations I will not be passing this on to other people and what I will, in fact, be "getting up and doing" is turning this crap off.

(One final, childish kick. You can tell when he is singing his remixed sardonic version of "Oh, Canada" that he has to stay quiet, likely because he'll annoy his mother, whom he has to still live with. Oh, Snap!)

1 comment:

Michael said...

Favorite Hilter moment:
"Compassion? You know who else had 'compassion'? The Nazis. Hitler and his Nazis!" - Glenn Beck

See anything is bad when you put in Hitler!

Mint's don't print money, they Mint coinage. Our coins do in fact come from the Royal Canadian Mint, and are marked accordingly (and they said coin collecting was a stupid hobby!). It is possible the Bank of Canada controls/owns the mint, I am not certain and am too lazy to google it.

3) (Economic Theory Ahoy!)
Money is entirely a shared fiction. It has no intrinsic value (although various metals that make up coinage are of non-ornamental value) and as such is used as a standardized intermediary in barter. You are still trading labor for cheese, cows for grain and such, there is simply another layer of abstraction.

Removal of reserves and untying currency from a non-monetary equivalent (see The American Gold Standard) creates a certain lubricity and allows considerable movement in total perceived or equivalent value of the abstraction. It also removes the danger of the value of the currency growing beyond the cost of producing the commodity to which it is tied (again, the American Gold Standard is a key example).