If you don’t understand geometric or exponential growth then you don’t understand anything about the magnitude of the predicament that humanity now faces or the fundamental changes that are about to occur, one way or another.
I’ve never seen the facts of exponential growth so clearly and elegantly presented as in this video lecture by the late Professor Albert Bartlett. In Arithmetic, Population and Energy, Professor Bartlett shows that even seemingly small rates of growth must ultimately result in a situation that cannot be sustained. He relates the simple arithmetic of exponential growth specifically to human population, peak energy, and resource depletion and blows away the foolish arguments of politicians and pundits who argue that growth can continue as it has in the past.
Bartlett does not mention debt growth, but I must add that it is an even more immanent problem and the most acute symptom of the “disease” that has infected civilization, that is the global interest-based debt-money system. I urge everyone to view Prof. Bartlett’s presentation, then, if you haven’t already, read my recent article, Money, debt and the end of the growth imperative.
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Stephan Tual, CCO of Ethereum project, penned this helpful article outlining some of the possibilities of the new technology. I recommend you read it.
For those that don't know, Max Kaiser is an independent broadcaster with a thrice weekly program on Russia Today, and he appears occasionally on the BBC and elsewhere. He amplifies all the reporting on financial fraud and rages and sneers at the financial terrorists, attempting to educate us about how things really work. His partiality, colourful metaphors, and defamatory outbursts make him not a very good journalist, but a master propagandist in a temporary alliance with the Kremlin.
Shortly before midnight on March 6 I departed Kuala Lumpur on board a Boeing 777 bound for Tucson, via Tokyo and Los Angeles. That was just 26 hours ahead of the mysterious flight MH370 which departed from the same airport just after midnight on March 8 and has become the object of a massive search and equally massive speculation. I get an uneasy feeling when I consider how close I came in time and circumstance to being on that plane. Now, more than a month later, the mystery of the flight’s disappearance seems no closer to being solved.Given the changing and contradictory news that has been provided by Malaysian authorities and others involved in the search, I can’t help but wonder if the news is being manipulated and crucial information is being withheld from the public. Why haven’t we heard more about the passengers? Who they are and what might they have been involved in? One tantalizing fact that is no longer mentioned is that 20 of the passengers were employees of Freescale Semiconductor, which according to the Express (UK) “makes powerful microchips for industries including defence.” The Express article, Malaysian plane: 20 passengers worked for ELECTRONIC WARFARE and MILITARY RADAR firm, reveals some facts about the company’s ownership that raise suspicions and ought to be fully investigated. A casual search of the internet will bring up plenty of other possible scenarios and explanations of what might have happened to flight MH370.
Russia, Ukraine, and the New world Order
While still in Malaysia I picked up a copy of The Star (March 4 edition), one of Malaysia’s leading daily newspapers. One of the main articles had to do with the crisis in the Ukraine. The headline read: Ousting democratically-elected leaders, with the sub-head, The ousters of democratically-elected leaders have often been carried out directly or indirectly by champions of democracy themselves, thus suggesting how hypocritical and disingenuous western politicians have been in any number of cases where regime change has been the intended result. The article was written by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, who is President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). You can read it here.As western leaders vilify the Russian leadership and the media beat the drums for “sanctions,” it is important to keep in mind that the Ukrainian government of PresidentViktorYanukovich was democratically elected in 2010, and he was forcibly removed by a coalition that includes neo-Nazis and fascists, backed by western countries intent on bringing Ukraine into the EU orbit and NATO.If the United States and EU are really interested in a negotiated settlement, they will need to seriously consider the Russian point of view and address the legitimate concerns of the Russian government. Floyd Rudmin’s recent article in Counterpunch, Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective, provides some fundamental background facts that provide a more complete picture.
It’s Time to Put Money Out of its Misery
Last month I wrote an article for publication in Transformation as part of their 9 article series on money. Now, editor, Michael Edwards has provided a wrap-up piece, It’s time to put money out of its misery. Read it here.
Traveling with Children
One curious thing I noted during my recent visits in Southeast Asia is the number of young adults that I saw traveling with small children. In one instance I happened to be on a motor coach going from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. Among the passengers were two Scandinavian couples in the company of two infants and one toddler. This experience put me in mind of a very acute observation made by some long forgotten sage (it might have been Ogden Nash, but I can’t swear to it): The definition of a baby–“An alimentary canal with a loud noise at one end and a foul odor at the other.”
Actually, I think it’s wonderful that so many young people are willing and able to balance child rearing with their search for adventure, but it’s too bad the children will have little of it to recall.
Sharing the Commons
One thing that seems certain to me is that the new paradigm society will come about through radical sharing and a major shift of our collective energies toward projects that promote the common good. On the Commons has just announced the offer of their new e-book Sharing Revolution: The essential economics of the commons by Jessica Conrad. You can download the free e-book here. I’ve not yet read it, but I’m confident that it will prove to be a major resource in “helping people connect and collaborate to advance the common good and develop greater economic autonomy.”
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I have often pointed out, but almost no economist is willing to admit, that central governments play an essential role as “borrowers of last resort” to keep a flawed system of money and banking from collapsing. In their collusive arrangement with the banking elite, government’s debts will be monetized through the actions of their respective central banks. This is the process of currency inflation, which is now euphemistically called “quantitative easing.”
The empirical data makes this plain to anyone who cares to look at it and put two and two together. The Bank for International Settlements has just reported that global debt has increased more than 40 percent in just the past six years. You can find more details about that in this recent Bloomberg article: Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge, BIS Says.
When debt growth, fueled by compound interest, hits the wall of physical reality, something’s got to give.
On my way back to the U.S. from Kuala Lumpur, I picked up a copy of the Financial Times (March 7 edition) in Tokyo while waiting for my connecting flight. As expected, I found numerous articles relating to the Ukraine situation, but one stood out amongst the rest. It was titled “Putin loyalist points finger at ‘global financial oligarchy.’”
I was surprised but also pleased to see this affirmation of my long-held view that the present geopolitical turmoil is not so much a contest among nations, but a global class war being waged by an elite oligarchy bent on creating a New World Order in which they hold the reins of power. Oddly, when I later tried to locate the article on the FT website, it was nowhere to be found, but I did find an article from the previous day’s edition which quoted the same “loyalist,” Vladimir Yakunin, making the same arguments. That article is titled, US accused of ‘trying to destroy Russia.’
Yakunin is described as a “former senior diplomat” who now heads the Russian state railways. He has accused the US and a “global financial oligarchy” of organizing the violent overthrow of the government in Ukraine, and of trying to “destroy Russia as a geopolitical opponent.”
Both articles are based on the same interview and quote Yakunin as saying, “A CIA analysis . . . described three possible scenarios for the development of the geopolitical situation. The most acceptable scenario was considered to be one in which a certain world government is created – and the realisation of this project is in line with the concept of global domination that is being carried out by the US. We saw this in Iraq, we saw it in Afghanistan, we saw it in Yugoslavia and in North Africa. Today, the borders of carrying out this doctrine have moved to Ukraine.”
That article goes on to say, “Mr Yakunin said the west had consistently reneged on its assurances to Moscow since 1991 that it had no intention of encircling it by expanding NATO to include countries on Russia’s borders. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the three Baltic states have joined the alliance as well as eastern European countries – including Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania – most of which were once in the Warsaw Pact.”
“’If you look at things objectively, [the former German chancellor Helmut] Kohl swore to [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev that the exit of Soviet troops from Germany would not lead to NATO’s approach towards Russia’s borders. But in reality everything that has happened is the exact opposite.’”
If one is willing to look at the record of history, especially monetary and banking history, he can easily see that Mr. Yakunin’s charges are entirely valid.
Carroll Quigley, historian and advisor to Presidents, told us long ago that the would-be rulers of the world have a plan: “The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole… Their secret is that they have annexed from governments, monarchies, and republics the power to create the world’s money…” (Tragedy and Hope, 1966).
That is the essence of the New World Order that has been touted for decades by American political leaders, notably the first President Bush.
Now, the annexation of Crimea seems a natural step for Russia to have taken to not only protect its military installations there, but also to resist the advancing NWO. While the western propaganda machine gave it short shrift in its attempt to paint Putin as the “bad guy,” Putin’s speech is well worth considering. You can find the full text here.
And lest we be seduced into thinking that the Russian reaction is a simple act of aggression, read this background and analysis by Chris Kanthan: Ukraine: A Candid, In-depth Discussion.
Even a casual observer of recent geopolitical history can see the pattern of encirclement, neutralization, and domination that has characterized western policies over the past several decades. It is clear that the consolidation of power and the imposition of the global fascist New World Order is all but complete and that all remaining obstacles must be removed, one way or another.
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Bank of England seems to have gone out of their way to explain, in near comprehensible language, how money is created.
This admission is a great pat on the back for Ben Dyson, who with the team at Positive Money, have been publicly pressing the issue.
We have numerous quotes from bank officials mentioning in the past how money is created, but this publication represents an attempt to communicate with industry professio
Contents. (This edition will be timely but brief).
Back to America
My latest article
Degrowth Conference on Social Equity and Ecological Sustainability
Hi, Well it’s just a matter of hours now before I board my flight that will take me back to the United States. I always find other places and cultures interesting, but four months abroad has been long enough and I’m looking forward to being back in more familiar territory, seeing friends and family, and discovering what the universe has to show me next. To begin with, I’ll be enjoying the relative calm and quiet of the Arizona desert, then looking for a more permanent place to hang my hat.
My latest article
I spent a good amount of time over the past few weeks writing an article that I was invited to submit for publication in an online journal, Transformation, published by Open Democracy. I’m pleased to announce that my article, Money, debt and the end of the growth imperative was published yesterday. You can read it here,
Upcoming Degrowth Conference on Social Equity and Ecological Sustainability. Call for papers extended to March 14th
A recent message from Birte Ewers announces that the 4th International Degrowth Conference to be held in Leipzig Sept 2-6, and that the original deadline for submissions of short papers has been extended. The deadlines for other formats have expired but deadline for “short papers” is now March 14th. The review process will be concluded by the end of April. See the conference website at http://leipzig.degrowth.org/en/http://leipzig.degrowth.org/en/ and the Call for Papers at http://leipzig.degrowth.org/en/call-for-papers/ for details.
About The Conference:
4th International Degrowth Conference on Social Equity and Ecological Sustainability – Bridging movements and research for the great transformation.
The International Degrowth Conference has reached its fourth venue. Since Paris 2008 the debate on how to move away from a growth-oriented economy towards a more sustainable society has drawn world-wide attention. The fourth international conference will take place in a country that is considered as the European engine of economic growth.
Different traditions of growth critique, such as the concept of a post-growth society stemming from the German-speaking community and the French and Southern European degrowth debate, are invited to a fruitful dialogue. The conference seeks to bring practitioners, activists and scientists together and encompasses various formats for presentations, interaction, workshops, and exchange.
The 4th conference will address following thematic threads (abstracts for short papers can be submitted to any of them):
- Organizing Society (Emancipatory politics, participation, institutions)
- Building a social and ecological economy ((Re-)productivity, commons, society-nature relations)
- Living conviviality (Buen vivir. Open knowledge. Convivial technology)
For my current journey in Southeast Asia, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) serves as both my entry point and exit point. Flights to and from KL tend to be cheaper even than Bangkok, and I always enjoy spending some time in Penang, which is only about a 4 ½ hour bus ride from KL Thailand is easily reached from there.
Malaysia is quite a developed country, though it still has some third world charm, as well as annoyances, like the roar of motorbikes zipping around through every available space, making it difficult and dangerous for pedestrians to cross the streets. Sidewalks, if they exist at all are usually obstructed by parked motorbikes, or food stalls, or even workshops that flow out into the public spaces.
One interesting thing about Malaysia is language. Almost everyone speaks some English and signage is usually in both English and Bahasa Melayu, or Malay language, which derives many words from English. Malays have developed what seems to me to be a very reasonable pattern of phonetic spelling.
Here are a few familiar English words with their phonetic Malay spelling, which I think we should adopt.
My pictures from my November visit to Penang
Pictures from my February/March visit to Penang and Kuala Lumpur have not yet been uploaded.
Joke of the month
Certainly not original, but here it is; some of you may appreciate it.
You know you’re old when you and your teeth no longer sleep together.
May you enjoy this season when life springs anew,
Many ecovillages are struggling to live the dream because they have yet to escape from debt and the need to pull money out of the global economy to meet their needs.
I see villages themselves generating very little money, relying on donated money, new members bringing money and property, and sending skilled people out into the global economy.
I have been made an ecovillage ambassador to enable me to explore the ecovillage economies more deeply, and ask the following questions.
- What are the barriers to generating wealth?
- What trading opportunities have not been realised
A catastrophic chain of events is unfolding across Africa as commodity markets tumble, currencies are sliding, derivative markets are vapourising, and the effects are starting to be felt in the civilised world.
European finance ministers, who only yesterday were trumpeting record stock market highs, are bracing themselves for difficult days ahead.
Rumours coming out of Mali are focusing on a visit of the Chinese Ambassador to the stock exchange. Mustapha Ali, a trader in the Timbucktoo Stock Exchange, blogged this less than an hour ago:
You've probably heard of the bitcoin rollercoaster by now, and wondered what different it makes to sharers. Most of us understand that when the Federal Reserve pumps $75M per month into a stagnant economy, our hard-earned dollars lose purchasing power, and that meanwhile the supply of bitcoin is fixed; But at the end of the day, isn't our experience of money the same? Let us consider...
Brief overview of your proposal: Explain how your proposal furthers the Foundation’s mission to standardize, protect, and promote bitcoin.
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is offering a Community Capital Toolkit that can be downloaded free of charge from the BALLE website.
In case you’re not familiar with BALLE, here is a brief description of the BALLE vision and mission from their website:
Within a generation, we envision a global system of human-scale, interconnected local economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems to meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.
At the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, BALLE [bawl-EE], our work is focused on creating real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions that work, and driving investment toward local economies.
BALLE equips entrepreneurs with tools and strategies for local success, and we provide the national forum for the most visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity and innovate. …more…
Toolkit includes: The 20-page Guide to Community Capital
Seven FREE past webinar recordings
Access to a community capital library of resources
You can download it here.
Anyone who wants to understand present-day geopolitical phenomena must pay attention to former Assistant Treasury Secretary, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts. Roberts is one of a handful of people who understands what is going on–and is willing to tell people about it. Explore his website http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/, and be sure to listen to his recent interview with Eric King, here.
In that interview, Roberts tells the story of how and why the US interferes in money and securities markets, and the effects those manipulations have on others around the world. He also predicts that the Federal Reserve will soon be faced with the choice of either saving the banks or saving the dollar, perhaps as early as the end of this year. But I suspect that the Fed may not quite yet have exhausted their bag of tricks. Because banking corporations dominate politics in most of the world, and because the dollar’s role as the global reserve currency has served the purpose of Western dominance, the Fed, in alliance with other central banks, will try to save both the banks and the dollar for as long as they can.
What is actually being protected is the global usury-based debt-money regime, that unholy alliance between politicians and top level banks that enables central governments to spend far in excess of their tax and other revenues, thereby thwarting democratic government and the popular will, while enabling banking institutions to privatize our collective credit and charge us interest (usury) to access it.
So what do the central banks have left in their bag of tricks as they taper off their massive amounts of “quantitative easing” (currency inflation)? That’s the question to ponder. I think it’s obvious that they will (1) try to corral everyone’s savings and all surpluses into government securities and Wall Street equities (think, privatization of Social Security), and (2) outright confiscation of bank deposits via selective bank failures and assessments on depositors (ala the recent Cyprus trial balloon).
Still, those can only be, at best, delaying tactics, and not without serious social and political repercussions. The real solution will continue to be denied and delayed by the powers that be. Thus it must emerge from the bottom, from the creative instincts and talents of innovators in many fields who are bringing to market better ways of mediating the exchange of value and financing the creation of sustainable, Earth-friendly, and life-supporting products and services. –t.h.g.
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Every day brings new stories about the successful application of new exchange mechanisms that are helping people to survive and thrive in the face of monetary dysfunctions and misguided government policies that are becoming ever more prevalent.
This report from Kenya is a moving and inspiring account of one aging woman’s efforts to keep her family fed and housed.
Maciana Anyango’s husband died a long time ago, leaving her with 5 children to care for alone. Even though she is 64 now, and most of her children are grown, she still bears the burden for caring for her family. Her oldest son, who might have taken on this responsibility, also died, and her oldest daughter is disabled from a bout of TB. Her surviving son was trained as a driver, but he’s been unable to find work, so he, his wife, and his two children live with Marciana, along with Mariciana’s disabled daughter and youngest daughter (17 years). Marciana didn’t have the money to send her youngest daughter to secondary school. And, although she received some training as a tailor, she is also unemployed.
So, Marciana supports this household from the sale of porridge and a bean and maize soup. The porridge sells for 15ksh ($0.18) and soup for 10ksh ($0.12). She usually makes around 600ksh ($7) a day to feed a family of 7. Technically, this puts her above the international poverty line based on the lower cost of living in Kenya, but, as she leaned her forehead against a pole, looked down at her worn red flip flops and dust covered feet, and told us about her life, we could feel the exhaustion caused by her efforts to keep her family fed and housed, and some sadness at being unable to keep her daughters in school and in good health.
Things are improving for Marciana now. She became a member of Koru’s Bangladesh Business Network in December and started trading the Bangla-Pesa voucher with fellow members. More…
And a world away in the United States, commercial trade exchanges (sometimes called “barter exchanges”) are continuing to proliferate and develop in ways that promise to make moneyless trading mechanisms ever more effective and accessible. Trade Authority is an entity that is promoting the proliferation of member-owned trade exchanges and plans eventually to network these exchanges together to enable members to spend their trade credits over a wider area. View their introductory video here.
Hi, This is my first newsletter since mid-October. An excuse, if I need one, is that I’ve been traveling. To be truthful, I’ve been lacking in motivation and I’ve felt the need to reassess both the scope and the methods of my work. Pondering the question, “What makes an old man grumpy,?” I think I’ve begun to figure it out—
Despite a half a lifetime of work and dedication, the world has yet to heed my advice and conform itself to my view of how it ought to be.
So there it is. There’s the root of my late-life discontent. My muse tells me that I ought to lighten up and enjoy whatever time I might have left; the world will muddle through, with or without me. Maybe I’ll take up the challenge to become a stand-up (or sit-down) comedian. In the meantime, while I try to hone that skill, I offer below a few bits of hopeful (and not so hopeful) news and an overview of my recent travels, including links to my photos which you can browse at your leisure.
Bangla-Pesa officially relaunched in partnership with the Kenyan Government.
You may recall earlier reports about the Bangla-Pesa community currency project that launched in Kenya last May. One of the most promising community currency projects on the current scene, Bangla-Pesa quickly ran into a major roadblock in the form of government interference that included unfounded criminal charges against the organizer and five board members. We are extremely pleased to learn that all of that nonsense has been sorted out and the Bangla-Pesa project is now back on track. According to project founder, Will Ruddick, Bangla-Pesa has just been relaunched, this time with official government support. Ruddick states that the relaunch celebration included several government representatives who have unanimously requested that the program be replicated in other areas in the county as a means of reducing poverty. You can read the details at http://koru.or.ke/bangla-pesa-relaunch.
Ending the Growth Imperative
Richard Heinberg, in his recent article, Shutdown and default: the worst-case scenario (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-10/shutdown-and-default-the-worst-case-scenario ), stated that, “Almost nobody in the commentariat mentions that the US economy is currently being held together by deficit spending and quantitative easing. Rapid economic growth as experienced during the mid-20th century is over and done with.”
Heinberg is surely right about that, but how are we to get out of the predicament we are in? I have said repeatedly that our financial system is set up to require continuous and accelerating growth, that creating money based on banks’ lending at interest results in exponential growth of debt, which, in turn, forces exponential growth in economic activity to justify further growth in debt to prevent financial collapse. All of the major central banks, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, The Bank of Japan, and the European Central Bank, have been buying government bonds to keep the system going and avoid the inevitable shift to a steady-state, resource efficient, non-polluting economy.
How long can the monetary authorities continue to inflate their currencies under the euphemistic rubric of “quantitative easing” (QE), without causing prices to spin out of control? If they were to stop, however, that would cause a cascade of defaults, financial market chaos, and major global economic depression. They are between a rock and a hard place.
Heinberg goes on to say, “In 2008 it became clear that, as limits to growth are encountered, the inherent instability of financial systems can precipitate a much faster crash than would otherwise be the case. It also became clear that governments and central banks will undertake extraordinary measures to avert a fast-crash scenario. The rapid expansion of household debt, which had kept the growth balloon inflated since 1980, effectively ceased with the advent of the Great Recession. The balance sheet of the Fed stretched dramatically, and the Federal Government’s debt levels soared, as policy makers strove to keep the economy from imploding.”
He concludes with this advice: “Pass a new debt limit and re-open the government, no conditions attached. Then get to work designing a post-growth, post-fossil fuel economy that protects people and planet. Do it in that order. Simple.”
Well, not quite so simple. The debt limit has been raised and the government shutdown ended as everyone knew it would be, but there is still no sign that the powers-that-be have any interest in promoting a “post-growth, post-fossil fuel economy.” To undertake such a mission would require that they give up the “usury game” and the central banking system that has enabled them for so long to centralize power and concentrate wealth in their own hands, and that they surrender power to the people in a government that is truly democratic. No, the massive changes required must come from the bottom, from creative efforts that result in new structures, especially of exchange, finance, and cooperative enterprise, that reduce our dependence upon the dominant systems and make them irrelevant.
The prescription I’ve provided in my books and presentations for creating a new world order in which the people govern instead of a global elite oligarchy is to Share, Cooperate, and Restructure. We must recognize that the seat of sovereignty is the individual, not in isolation, but as a free moral agent within a convivial community, we must assert our independence from the dominant political, economic, and financial power structures, and we must organize new structures, under local control, that empower people and provide for the basic needs of all.
Our urgent need is to transcend the global interest-based debt money system, but digital commodities like Bitcoin are not the answer any more than a return to using gold, silver or other real commodities as payment media. The better and more complete answer to the money problem in the one I’ve been proposing in my books and presentations for many years. What I foresee is a global network of small credit clearing exchanges that proved a means of payment that is locally and cooperatively controlled, yet globally useful.
ReinventingMoney.com website redesign and relaunch
Thanks to the good graces and enormous efforts of Matthew Slater, my ReinventingMoney.com website has been redesigned and relocated to WordPress. The url remains the same, http://reinventingmoney.com/.
ReinventingMoney.com is mainly an archival site for researchers that was compiled several years ago. If you are aware of any useful material, such as case studies, correspondence, or academic treatises that are particularly important, please send us a description and the link or file. Also, I’d be grateful to have a volunteer willing to help maintain that site. My active site is http://beyondmoney.net/.
My current odyssey began on Nov 13 when I boarded a plane for Istanbul where I gave a presentation at the Green Economy and Commons conference. After spending a few more days exploring the city, I flew on to Kuala Lumpur, then a couple days later went by bus to Georgetown on the island of Penang, a world heritage city and my favorite place in Malaysia. On December 5, I began my month-long Cambodia adventure, making stops in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Otres Beach, Kampot, Kep, and Siem Reap where I visited the amazing ruins of Angkor Wat. Since January 3, I’ve been in Thailand. Chiang Mai is one of my old haunts and a good place to get my teeth cared for at very reasonable prices.
My Cambodia visit got off to an inauspicious start. After checking into my hotel, I decided to take a stroll down by the river. While crossing the street through relentless traffic, I got sideswiped by a motorbike that went roaring past in the far lane. I managed to get to the other side and sat down on a convenient bench where I almost passed out. My left shin was skinned and bruised in a couple places, but needed no stitches. I got some aid from a British friend I had been traveling with for some days, and a Polish couple who happened to be passing by. My wounds have fortunately healed well by now and I seem to be none the worse for it.
Siem Reap and Angkor
One should not miss an opportunity to visit Siem Reap and Angkor. The ruins of Angkor are numerous and cover a vast expanse. Angkor Wat is only part of it. Exploring them requires a lot of walking and climbing, though, as vehicles can take you only so close.
Cambodia is certainly a third world country with much inferior infrastructure but it is rapidly developing with help from outside and gearing up to be a major tourist destination. The people are friendly and helpful, and you can find accommodations at every level from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. In Kampot I had a nice clean room with private bath, hot shower, free Wi-Fi, and cable TV for $8 per night.
No coins in Cambodia
One thing that is noticeably strange about Cambodia is the fact that I had no coins jingling in my pocket. Strange, too, is the fact that market transactions are conducted mostly in U.S. currency. Yes, Cambodia has its own currency, called the Riel, with an exchange rate of about 4,000 riels to the dollar, but ATMs dispense dollars, and riel notes are used only as small change. Prices are typically stated in whole dollars and quarter dollars. So, if I buy a restaurant meal for $3.75 (not an uncommon price there) and I tender a five dollar bill to pay, I’ll generally get back in change a one dollar bill and a 1,000 riel bill. The smallest denomination note I saw, though not a very common one, is 100 riel, which is considered to be worth one fortieth of a dollar or two and half cents (and we in North America quibble about keeping the penny).
If you want to see images from the places I have visited, my photos can be viewed at the following links:
By the way, I’m keeping my Verizon wireless account active. The number is 520-820-0575. I don’t keep that phone turned on while I’m abroad so you won’t reach me directly that way, but you can leave a voice message (I cannot retrieve text messages) and I will get it when I check messages every few days.
I do have another mobile phone with me and as long as I’m in Thailand, you can reach me at +66 93 170 2910.
The New Economy Coalition is convening a gathering at Northeastern University in Boston, MA from June 6-8, 2014. You can get more information and signup here: http://neweconomy.net/content/june-6-8-2014-national-gathering-new-economy-movement?utm_source=New+Economics+Email+List&utm_campaign=2a4c2d8654-New+Economy+Newsletter+-+October+2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6f7a9ab0ed-2a4c2d8654-18189817
Wishing you a happy and productive New Year,
There is no doubt that the world is in the midst of an unprecedented mega-crisis. It is a time of excitement and rapid change, as well as great danger. What can we do to try to discern how it will all turn out? Every society and every era has had its “seers” or “prophets,” but how does one judge which of them are to be believed? In the modern era, we tend to give more weight to predictions that are based on broad knowledge and rational arguments than upon religion and superstition. Two widely regarded present day seers are Kevin Carson and John Michael Greer. Things get interesting when there is a fundamental disagreement. So it is between these two, as described in a recent web post at City of the Future.
The debate that is described in the article, Catabolic Ephemeralization? Carson Versus Greer, is summarized in this excerpted paragraph:
So which is it? Are we headed for a future in which short-wave radio returns and a rebuilt postal service takes over from failing server farms, as Greer would have it? Or will we be able to “leapfrog” away from our old imploding infrastructure toward a world of distributed, highly efficient, peer-to-peer manufacturing facilitated by open source design?
It’s well worth reading. Find it here.