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Feb 27, 2008
The following was originally written on a Facebook application that was supposedly dedicated to helping the poor but does not appear to be run by any known organization.

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First of all, I like the idea of this group but I would like to see some official information as to the organization behind it (if any), their tax status and so forth, to determine if we are dealing with an individual or an actual charity. Since I have some doubts as to the validity of this application and its owner's actions and methodology, I just wanted to point out some "alternative" ways to help the needy/starving.

1. Give to food banks and thrift stores. This is a no-brainer -- you have extra food, you buy some extra food, or clothes, whatever, then you take it to your local food bank or charity store (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.). This helps people in your own area, as well.

2. Save all that time you would have spent clicking and just make a donation. For myself personally, I run a home business (as a rare book dealer) and should be spending most of my computer time listing new things for sale or fulfilling orders. This makes a great impact on my income and would make it easier to just make a donation to a charity that I can pick out myself. Even $10 would probably be more than is raised by my clicks in a year's time, if you understand how banner and click advertising works (I do, I use Google Adsense and have used Engage, ValueClick, and numerous other publisher/advertiser programs in the past). Your situation may be different; but it's something to think about.

3. Buy Fair Trade goods. Fair Trade goods are bought from the producers at prices that allow the seller to make a profit but still give the producer a fair shake instead of pennies per day. This helps them, their families and communities immensely and Fair Trade programs are also usually tied to programs to improve education and sustainability in third world countries. You may have to go to health food stores or specialty gift stores to find such products, but they are becoming more abundant in stores and are easy to find online.

4. Invest in or donate to microfinance programs. These are programs that give poor people the chance to break the cycle of their poverty and go into business. Often these are people that already have businesses but are so poor that they are locked into business deals that yield almost no income, such as a basket weaver that cannot buy her own supplies so she makes her baskets for someone else at pennies per product. These people sometimes only need the equivalent of $10-$25 to get out of these horrible situations. You can donate small amounts to these programs or invest in them, in which case your money is returned with interest and you are still helping others immensely. There are also mutual funds that do some microfinance investing, such as the PAX World mutual funds. In my opinion this is the best idea since donations are meaningless unless the people can begin to produce food and income for themselves.

5. Go green and conserve resources. Until the world switches completely to renewable energy (which I don't see happening by the end of this century), our energy and materials (metals, etc.) are finite. Finding ways to save energy saves you money and leaves more for the people who can ill afford rising energy prices (and keeps those prices from rising more steeply). Likewise with recycling; prices for metals and other materials have skyrocketed in the last five years and will continue to do so without extensive recycling and more creative use of materials by manufacturers. Recycling does our part to make sure the little people can afford the things they need as well.

6. Buy locally from the little guy. Buying food and other goods locally saves greenhouse gases and helps those in your community immensely. Of each dollar you spend at a national chain, around $.40 is returned to your own community and the rest goes to corporate expenses and coffers. Of each $1 you spend at a farmer's market or locally-owned store, usually $.65 or more makes it directly to your community. It may seem that this does not impact people around the world, but it does both through the benefit to the environment, the money not getting "lost" in corporations, and the fact that this is thinking about the "big picture" -- "thinking globally, acting locally." This is what everyone else around the world should be doing (in Tunisia, in Kenya, in Bangladesh) so we should do it here as well.

Just a few thoughts, I will add more if I get a chance. If you think some of these things take a little more effort, thought or observation, you are right -- but to those who care, it is worth it and can even become like a game and a fun and rewarding habit to have.

William A. Otis
http://media-log.blogspot.com
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Posted: Feb 27, 2008 10:21am
Sep 1, 2007
I've made another discovery while reading Sane Living in a Mad World by Robert Rodale: That Robert Rodale also started Prevention magazine -- and that the magazine he founded has become almost completely corrupt with regards to its original principles. Hopefully you are
familiar with Prevention and have read a copy or two or ad pamphlets for it in the last few years,
or this may not mean much to you. But, it appears that Rodale started the magazine based on organic/whole food principles, basically the idea of "grow what you can yourself, make that your goal and work out whatever compromises from there that you have to" that I myself pushed in an earlier blog post (http://media-log.blogspot.com). Consider the following quotes from Sane Living...:



"For me, the Prevention system of eating works beautifully. Of course,
I have the advantage of living on the Organic Gardening Experimental
Farm, where we can get natural, organic foods almost all year long.
But believe me, you can do almost as well by shopping for and eatng
foods that have real nourishment in them and avoiding completely the
junk foods that are thrust at you in the supermarket. There are still
natural foods available -- meats, beans, fruits, vegetables and certain
whole grains."



That gives you the gist. Now considering what Prevention is like today, consider the following:



"In my opinion, the main reason modern nutrition doesn't provide a
happy and simple way to eat is that nutritionists insist that we have
to eat all foods, even the worst kinds. Dieting is all right, they
contend, but just eat less of everything instead of cutting out some
foods completley. I'm sure the food experts take that position to
avoid conflict with the food industry, which is an important part of
the nutrition establishment. Eat ice cream, say the nutritionists,
because ice cream has a little calcium. What nonsense! Sure, ice
cream has a little calcium. But it's loaded with stuff we don't need
-- sugar, saturated fats, and chemical additives. Why should we take
in a lot of the bad to get a little bit of the good? Certainly we
shouldn't do it to sustain the fiction that everything sold in
supermarkets has real food value."



His reasoning (most of it supported by scientific evidence, both then
and today) regards the fact that you need less whole foods to satisfy
your hunger and nutritional requirements than you do refined and "junk"
foods. But even more important than that, is the fact that eating
empty (refined/junk) foods causes an imbalance in your body of
nutrients. You find yourself eating a lot of calories, but still
needing many vital nutrients. Your body is quite aware of this, and
gives you hunger or cravings that force you to eat more. The cravings
are usually very general -- something creamy, something salty,
something sweet or fatty -- and represent foods that in their whole form contain
the nutrients you're missing. For example, a craving for salt might
represent a lack of electrolytes (which are easily supplied by whole
fruit or fresh juices) or a need for whole protein and essential fatty
acids, such as one would find in fish or eggs. But if you feed
yourself a cream doughnut instead, you can bet that the craving will
keep right on going until you either eat a lot of doughnuts or
something more substatial (whole). As you might imagine, this sort of
behavior can lead to crash cycles and addictions.



Now on to the meat of this article. Given all this, is it a bit
shocking that Prevention now prominently features articles like "Eat
Ice Cream -- And Lose Weight!," "Peanut Butter for your Health!," (not
that all peanut butter is bad), and so forth? It should be pretty
self-evident that these articles are in EXACT opposition to Rodale's
aims. Not only that, but consider all the articles Prevention bombards
people with about this or that food being a "silver bullet" for good
health. There are no "silver bullets," the basic concept and the only
concept is whole foods, processed less, less polluted, with a healthy
dose of exercise. But besides that, there are no "silver bullets" when
you're loading yourself down with partialy hydrogenated oils and
sugar. You can eat as much acai berries or pomegranates or whatever
the hot tip of the week is and STILL get one of our country's favorite
diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer) if you're balancing it out
with hot dogs and candy bars.



I'll finish with a suggested "pyramid" of where to buy your food.



1. Your own garden

2. Local farmer's markets

3. "Meat market"-type local grocery stores with local produce

4. Health food stores, organic groceries and organic co-ops (There is
an organic grocery in Fort Wayne on Sherman Blvd., and very nice
farmer's markets and similar stores on Smith Rd., Knoll Road, Lower
Huntington Road and Warsaw St., among others)

5. Ethnic grocery stores or your grocery's organic section -- ethnic
groceries often have a wide variety of natural foods, fresh and with
minimal processing AND minimal ingredients.

6. Buy from your grocery's produce section, being sure to wash fruits
and vegetables before eating and avoiding the skin of most produce to
avoid the lion's share of pesticides. Your "big" grocery's produce is
spotless because it has generally been sprayed 8 to 50 times with
pesticide, sometimes so much that licking the skin is a quite
unpleasant sensation.



As to other products, buy them as unprocessed as possible and do as
much of the processing as you're reasonably able (this falls under the
category of giving yourself more exercise as well!), and when making
choices between different brands/similar products, go for the one with
less ingredients and/or more naturally-occuring vitamins. Become
familiar with the chemical names of vitamins so you can tell if they're
artificially added; vitamins are good but there are thousands of
nutrients not listed--and therefore not added--in your everyday whole
foods.

William A. Otis


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Posted: Sep 1, 2007 11:43am
Sep 1, 2007
I've been reading "Sane Living in a Mad World: A Guide to the Organic Way of Life" by Robert Rodale (1972). Note the year and the author; this is the Rodale, the same one whose Rodale Press has published hundreds of books on gardening and growing things over the years, as well as other products. The year of publication was 1972 -- 35 years ago. Organic farming is a very old idea -- indeed, "old as the hills," but even its current resurgence is much older than the 5 or 10 years since we started seeing a respectable amount of organic products on the store shelves. It's a bit heartbreaking that in the book Robert thought he was seeing the beginnings of a major turnaround in the way the country produced its food, but then we got a bunch of Republican presidents and little changed. Robert Rodale's father, J. I. Rodale, is actually credited with introducing the organic idea to the U.S. in 1942 - some 65 years ago. I found the following quote on refined foods that I found quite interesting: (emphasis my own)

"Organically-grown food is handled differently after it is harvested. It is not refined, chemically treated, or processed beyond the dictates of bare necessity. There is no such thing as organically grown white bread, for example, since by refining the wheat you would destroy its "organic" quality. You can see that the word organic has grown beyond its original farm and garden meaning, and has become a matter of interest and concern to all people who want to improve their health."

Note the very broad and decisive statement that there is no such thing as organic white bread, and that it is said by someone with such authority on the subject and presented as fact. It was basically considered to be self-evident that "organic" meant preserving the organic nature of not one but three things: the soil, the food, and the food as it will be presented to the public. This means increasing the organic material in the soil and not presenting any refined/dangerous/toxic chemicals to it; harvesting food from that soil that contains no refined chemicals; and in fact presenting the food to the public in an "organic" state, which a refined/pure chemical is not. This actually did seem self-evident to me, as I balked the first time I saw food items that included "refined organic cane sugar" or "sea salt" in them. Sea salt is technically still a "whole food;" it is similar to honey in that it is predominantly one chemical, yet contains small amounts of many other minerals and/or vitamins. But when we have companies pushing Oreos with "organic flour and sugar," I think we've gone too far. If these are the only organic items in these Oreos, they are not two important things:

1. 70% of the ingredients are most likely not organic. (Which is the usual definition of whether an item can be certified as organic -- most people prefer 100% actually)
2. It is not a "whole food."

This brings to light a few important things we need to think about with "organic foods," lest we buy anything that mentions the "o" word and think we're getting our money's worth in the form of better taste, less toxins and more benefits to our health.

A. Food that was organically-grown but then refined is no longer "organic" in nature but a refined chemical. It does not contain a healthy balance of calories-vitamins-minerals which is a primary goal of organic eating.

B. Food that has been shipped from another country or even several states away may have lost much of its nutrients along the way, and may have used up an awful lot of fossil fuels to get to you (an increasing concern among vegetarians and organic enthusiasts). Caveat emptor.

C. Food that was organically-grown but then processed in numerous ways (especially those that involve cooking or soaking) will have lost much of their nutrients and become more of a refined chemical product than an organic/whole food. Check the vitamin content of processed "organic" foods; if they're the same as their non-organic counterparts you may be doing a little better than if you bought the national brand, but you're probably not getting your money's worth. You're paying extra for all the processing the manufacturer did to the food, so you are basically paying them to degrade your food.

In summary I would like to see store items such as those touted for their "organic white flour" also having in the same print size a note that they are not a certified organic food, nor a whole food. And perhaps we should begin to be a bit more vocal (with our mouths or pocketbooks) about the types of foods and ingredients we expect to see available to us, lest we end up with the same old junk food, processed chemically and mechanically to the point of mutilation, simply minus the poisons (pesticides/chemical fertilizer residues) and drugs (antibiotics/hormones/etc.). While that would be a minor victory, we would still be an obese nation prone to diabetes, heart disease and cancer -- which are the main problems whole foods and exercise are meant to solve.

William A. Otis
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Posted: Sep 1, 2007 10:32am
Apr 20, 2007

Scott Adams (the artist who does Dilbert) recently made a very short 100-word "guide to investing," which even the major investment houses have considered pretty sound advice considering how amazingly short it is.  I'm aware that most people think they have no money to invest, hence I am offering my own version of this.  You don't have to do all of these things, but if you can't do *any* of them you most likely don't have a job and that would of course be your first priority.  Later I'll post a two-minute guide to why this is important.

A two-minute guide to broke-ass investing.

Contribute to your 401k.  If your company offers to match your deposits, this is free money you should have.

Contribute to your IRA.


Buy silver. You only need a few bucks. If you have $50, buy gold. Try eBay or your local coin store.


Pay more on your mortgage.


Pay more on your credit cards and don't use them.


Don't buy what you can't afford to pay with cash.


troweprice.com and tiaacref.com - Send $50/month to your investment each month automatically.  If it's not in your account, you won't miss it.  This is called "paying yourself first" and you should do it first before you buy other things.


Sogoinvest.com - invest for $3 or less per transaction.  You don't have to buy something automatically every month, though this is a great idea.  You can simply make single or automatic transfers to your Sogoinvest account, and then buy something when it reaches a larger amount so you don't lose so much to the fees.  I suggest waiting until you have $200.  You can make small automatic or manual transfers with Tradeking or Zecco below as well; just do whatever you can, set up a $5 a week withdrawal, make a $20 transfer if you work overtime and get a bigger check.  Every bit helps.  Sharebuilder.com is similar. 


When you get to $1000 in one of the above investment accounts, keep it there or transfer it to Tradeking.com, which offers trades for $5 and allows you to invest in a greater range of options; or Firstrade.com, which offers trades for $7 and allows you to invest in mutual funds for $9.95.  I suggest making trades at Tradeking with at least $250 and Firstrade with at least $350.  Don't trade more than once a year at these rates or you will lose too much money.


When you get to $2500, I suggest Zecco.com.  You get 40 free trades per month.  For all of these, if you don't know what to invest in, just put it in an index fund.  SPY or VTI are good for U.S. Stocks.  If you want to get really spicy add in VEU, an international index.  There you go.  Questions are welcomed.

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Posted: Apr 20, 2007 12:15pm
Apr 15, 2007
Little bird, I want to understand you.

I know your species and gender, but these are just words.

I want to know what you really are.

Do you fly on instinct and will alone, or was it only once that way?

What changed?

Perhaps you once saw something, like a sparrow in the clutches of a fox, its flesh being torn wide by its fangs.

Maybe you saw another bird alone in a field, walking slowly...its feathers dark, lost their shiny cast. And you could tell that there must be sweat between its skin and those plumes, for it perspired fighting against the death that would soon take it either way.

Did these visions change you in some way?

Do your eyes shift just a little more sharply when you scan?

When you soar in the sky, do you forget these things? Are you just you and the wind? Or do these visions still seem to come back to you, do they seem to color your experience?

What unhappy union is there within you that doesn't let you leave them behind?

One of your wings seems a little bit bent, just slightly.

Once when you were flying in a field, a farmer thrashed at you with his scythe and caught you with the backhand side and made you dive into a group of cornstalks.

Do you know what caused the anger that made him throw his tool up at you?

You're okay now; you are what you are, you do what you do.

But we both know that if that sickle had been turned the other way, there would've been no more of you.

After those long weeks of running around the fields--on foot, no flight!--catching what you could, eating the worms from the ground and then having to stay where you ate from, was it amazing to enter the heavens once again?

Now when you fly and you feel the wind against your wings, and you hit a draft with speed, you notice that little bend in your wing. It's not quite as smooth, there's that little tick you hear as the wind hits it just a little bit funny, maybe taking just a bit off your speed--you can't tell.

Do you ever hit a stream of air and just take off with sheer abandon, giving yourself over to the moment completely? Or do you still feel that little tick in your wing, maybe an uncomfortable twinge in a tendon?

Is it ever just instinct and will again, are you ever able to find that?

Or must your pleasure always be bittersweet?
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Posted: Apr 15, 2007 11:41am
Apr 15, 2007
From what I've been seeing here lately I'm afraid I'm destined to not be very popular on this website, unless I can turn a few minds. For those who are engaging in "Capitalism is evil" sorts of endeavors, I ask you to read this. If we are still in disagreement, I will post more; but I hope this makes my point clear should any arguments arise from other posts or comments I make here. In addition to the following (and much more I will write and quote later) would also suggest to anyone who hates corporations or profit two things: 1. Get in on it. Run your own business. Earn money and trade with the merit of your own efforts. Invest in whatever you are comfortable with; if you think you have nothing to invest with you are probably incorrect, and I will post some ridiculously easy ways to start. 2. Look at what the corporations you hate are doing with their money and influence. Times have changed. There may be some corporations left to hate (Exxon, anyone?) but corporations and other people's efforts and money are actually starting to turn the world into the one we always wanted: Environmentally conscious, globally cultural, and economically equal. Corporations account for something like 75% of the world's waste, energy usage and economic production. Their efforts and changes are arguably even more important than our own.

Now, on to my answer to anyone who says "money is the root of all evil:" Francisco d'Aconia's "money speech" from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, "Don't let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he's the typical product of money."

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.

"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth – the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve that mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money – and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.

"Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves – slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers – as industrialists.

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money'. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity – to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.

"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide – as, I think, he will.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out."

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Posted: Apr 15, 2007 11:23am

 

 
 
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