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Look where your money goes

January 21, 2013

The following text started as a reply to a comment and as it grew and grew I decided to publish it as a blog post.

Dear Pamela, thank you for your comment!

I completely agree with your citation of “noli illegitimi carborundum” (don’t let the bastards grind you down), but I don’t share your opinion that it doesn’t matter how much we simplify our lives and that it doesn’t matter how little we have chosen to consume.

It is correct that the idiots who continue to waste the dwindling resources will not be impressed by examples of a modest and sustainable lifestyle. But they are depending on various social, political, economic networks and distribution systems which only function when a certain part of the population is willing to participate.

If enough people drop out of these systems and create their own local organizations the old economic, political, and social orders will be in big trouble. The worldwide financial systems are in a continuous crisis since 2008, many European economies are on the brink (Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Latvia), the USA can only avoid bankruptcy by creating money from nothing (quantitative easing).

It will not take much to crush these schemes.

You can also look at it from another angle: Do you know where your money goes when you buy something in the supermarket? A little bit is spent for the wages, but most of your money goes to the owners. The Waltons, which control 48 percent of Walmart, are after the Saudis the richest family in the world. In 2011 six members of the Walton family had the same net worth as the bottom 30 percent of US American families combined.

Christy Walton 25.3 billion US$
Jim Walton 23.7 billion US$
Alice Walton 23.3 billion US$
S. Robson Walton 23.1 billion US$
Ann Walton Kroenke 3.9 billion US$
Nancy Walton Laurie 3.4 billion US$
Total: 102.7 billion US$

The Albrechts, owners of the supermarket chains Aldi and Trader Joe’s, are the richest family in Germany.
Karl Hans Albrecht (Aldi South) 25.4 billion US$
The heirs of Theo Albrecht (Aldi North) 17.8 billion US$

What do these people with our money?

What do all the Forbes billionaires with our money?

Some of them use it for the good of humanity like stock investor and currency speculator George Soros (20 billion US$), who is funding numerous NGOs (OSI) to modernize and democratize countries around the world.

Or Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch (31 billion US$ each), two likeminded brothers, who help to elect competent people into public offices.

Or Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (66 billion US$), who helps to privatize the US education system and who promotes Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds.

super yacht octopus

Some billionaires also grant themselves a little bit of luxury. For instance by buying a super yacht like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (14.2 billion US$). Allen’s yacht Octopus is 126 meter long. It has seven boats, a 10 man submarine and a remote controlled vehicle for crawling on the ocean floor. Allen owns also two other super yachts.

Katara, the yacht of Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is only 124 meter long, what a shame! But the Emirs relative Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani, who is Qatar’s Prime Minister, owns Al Mirqab, a 136 meter long yacht.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Sultan Qaboos of Oman, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai’s monarch and Prime Minister of the UAE) own even bigger yachts.

What happens with the money that you pay to fill up your car? What happens with the money you pay to buy all the colorful plastic stuff made from petrochemicals? Some of this money will go to the monarchs and to politicians who allow Western corporations to extract the mineral resources of their countries. Some of this money will go to businessmen and to shareholders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_yachts_by_length

If you look at this list, the biggest yacht is in the possession of Roman Abramovich, a Russian business tycoon and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC.

Roman Abramovich yacht ECLIPSE

Mr. Abramovich (worth 12.1 billion US$) didn’t inherit his wealth, he lost his parents early and was raised by relatives. His first business was selling stolen gasoline to officers during his army service. Then he became a street trader and sold (probably illegal imported) rubber ducks. After that he was smuggling black market goods and contraband. He invested the profits in a workshop making plastic toys and he started up an automobile parts cooperative, beside that he sold retreaded car tires. He started trading commodities and founded a company making dolls. He invested in oil conglomerates, pig farms, private security services.

Together with Boris Berezovsky, a friend of then President Yeltsin, Abramovich acquired the controlling interest in the large oil company Sibnef for a pittance. Next came aluminum smelters, a move that ignited an “aluminum war” in which smelting plant managers, metals traders, and journalists were murdered, big bribes were paid, and allegedly the Russian Mafia was involved.

Roman Abramovich won this war.

rusal alu smelter

I wrote so extensively about this man because he exemplifies the “entrepreneurial spirit.”

Which is: taking risks, cutting corners, being focussed and using every possible (including illegal and criminal) means to reach a goal, having the right connections, and continuously expand.

To expand, to grow is necessary because, as I already wrote in earlier blog posts, capitalist economies are gigantic pyramid schemes, which without continuous expansion would be collapsed in no time by the system inherent losses. 

The losses are caused by the destruction of outperformed competitors, by market swings resulting in overproduction as well as scarcities, by lack of long time planning (no infrastructure investments and irresponsible exploitation of limited resources), and by the development and production of goods not according to necessity and demand, but according to profitability, purchasing power, marketing opportunities, and corporate strategic plans.

Capitalist economies need to grow, but as we both, and all other critical thinking and sane persons have realized since a long time, infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.

What does that mean and how will this all end? 

plant machinery

You are a tiny cog in a tiny wheel of the big machine. I’m a tiny cog in a tiny wheel too. If we two drop out, it will not impede the working of the machine too much, but maybe we are not the only ones? Maybe there are hundreds or thousands of tiny cogs ready to break?

If a few cogs break, the whole wheel will break, which is not a big deal because the big machine has many, many wheels, and a few broken tiny wheel don’t matter, but if enough tiny wheels break, sooner or later one of the bigger wheels will break and than another one and another one.

There will be many cogs and parts of wheels flying around and the noise will become louder and louder as the broken parts will get into the gears and transmissions and break bolts, axels, rocker arms, wedges, clutches.

Finally the big machine will come to a grinding halt and there will be an eerie silence.

At this point in time it would be nice to have a small garden to grow food and a few trusted friends with whom to exchange basic goods and services. At this point in time it would be nice to live in a local community with a farmers market, a bakery, a general practitioner, and some talented craftsmen and technicians.

farmers market

You mentioned the others who will grab everything they can get their hands on. The ones who don’t care about nature and the plight of our children and grand children.

They will be rather helpless without the big machine which supported them for so long. Their lives will be turned upside down.

They will try to rob the small local communities. They will not be shy to use weapons. They are preparing for the breakdown of the big machine as we speak (or write). But they have to find us first and they most likely will rather turn against each other and rob each other because the precious small things of our quiet and modest lives are worthless for them.

They don’t understand what the precious small things are for because they don’t understand our life.

They will try to enslave us again, they will use the meanest tricks, the most wicket deceits, the most outrageous lies to make us dependent and exploit us.

But we have learned enough, we know their true nature, we are more as they are, maybe we are even more clever as they are.

They will not trick and deceive us again!

noli illegitimi carborundum

 

2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Lara Gardner's Weblog.

    Like


  2. I believe this is one of the most significant info
    for me. And i’m satisfied reading your article. However should remark on some common issues, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is in reality great : D. Good activity, cheers

    Like



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