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The Shadow Superpower

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ForeignPolicy.com
BY ROBERT NEUWIRTH
OCTOBER 28, 2011

Forget China: the $10 trillion global black market is the world's fastest growing economy -- and its future.


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With only a mobile phone and a promise of money from his uncle, David Obi did something the Nigerian government has been trying to do for decades: He figured out how to bring electricity to the masses in Africa's most populous country.

It wasn't a matter of technology. David is not an inventor or an engineer, and his insights into his country's electrical problems had nothing to do with fancy photovoltaics or turbines to harness the harmattan or any other alternative sources of energy. Instead, 7,000 miles from home, using a language he could hardly speak, he did what traders have always done: made a deal. He contracted with a Chinese firm near Guangzhou to produce small diesel-powered generators under his uncle's brand name, Aakoo, and shipped them home to Nigeria, where power is often scarce. David's deal, struck four years ago, was not massive -- but it made a solid profit and put him on a strong footing for success as a transnational merchant. Like almost all the transactions between Nigerian traders and Chinese manufacturers, it was also sub rosa: under the radar, outside of the view or control of government, part of the unheralded alternative economic universe of System D.

You probably have never heard of System D. Neither had I until I started visiting street markets and unlicensed bazaars around the globe.

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Natural News
June 09, 2010
by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Sales of alternative medical products are on the rise in spite of -- and perhaps in part because of -- tough economic times.

According to a study reported in The Daily Mail, the British alternative medicines market has grown by 18 percent in the past two years, to a yearly value of £213 million ($333 million). This value is expected to rise to £282million, or another 33 percent, in the next four years. This increase has been seen across the board, even in less well-known treatments such as traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine.

In the United States, retail sales of vitamins and supplements totaled almost $639 million between October and December 2009, a nearly 10 percent increase from the same period in 2007. Sales of herbal supplements have increased 6 percent. The true scale might even be higher, as the figures do not include sales from Wal-Mart or club stores, where people are more likely to turn when there budgets become more restricted.

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Natural News
June 3, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) In the midst of runaway economic problem in Greece, the pharmaceutical industry has decided to blackmail the nation and halt shipments of medicines to Greece until it agrees to pay full price for the drugs. In order to cut costs during its severe debt crisis, Greece had announced it would pay drug companies 25 percent less for their products, but this loss of profit was enough to convince several pharmaceutical companies supplying key drugs to the country to initiate their own medical blockade where they simply refuse to deliver any more medicines.

In doing this, Big Pharma shows its true character. When the profits are flowing and the companies are raking in full-price profits, they're you're best friend. But when budgets get tight and everybody is asked to take a cut, Big Pharma betrays your country and its citizens, withholding medicines in a thinly-veiled blackmail attempt to force you to cough up more cash.

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News with Views

By Sarah Foster
May 4, 2010


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WASHINGTON - Last week and over the weekend, the Internet was buzzing about a heretofore undetected provision Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., had slipped into the Wall Street financial reform bill that the House passed in December - a provision critics warned could devastate the nutritional supplement industry with excessive regulations, driving up the costs of supplements or removing them from the market altogether.

"The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173) ...includes language going far beyond finance," the Alliance for Natural Health-USA, a D.C.-based health freedom advocacy group, stated in an April 27 report, with the warning: "This language could be used for an end run around the Dietary Supplement Health and Safety Act (DSHEA), the legislation that governs dietary supplement regulation by the FDA."

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Alternet
Dara Colwell
March 27, 2009

While Uncle Sam's scramble for new revenue sources has recently kicked up the marijuana debate -- to legalize and tax, or not? -- hemp's feasibility as a stimulus plan has received less airtime.

But with a North American market that exceeds $300 million in annual retail sales and continued rising demand, industrial hemp could generate thousands of sustainable new jobs, helping America to get back on track.

"We're in the midst of a dark economic transition, but I believe hemp is an important facet and has tremendous economic potential," says Patrick Goggin, a board member on the California Council for Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp-farming advocacy group. "Economically and environmentally, industrial hemp is an important part of the sustainability pie."

With 25,000 known applications from paper, clothing and food products -- which, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this January, is the fastest growing new food category in North America -- to construction and automotive materials, hemp could be just the crop to jump-start America's green economy.

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SCEC stands for Solidarietà che Cammina - Solidarity that walks. It is a complementary currency that is designed to start its life circulating in common with the official currency, the Euro.

It is adapted to the Italian situation, where alternative currencies are looked upon as competition to the official one. So SCEC defines itself as a complementary currency. It circulates together with the official currency.

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SCEC is in the form of a discount chit denominated in Euro equivalents (in denominations of 0.50 Euro, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 Euro). It is distributed for free and acquires value only when used. Businesses and professionals agree to give a discount to buyers who pay (in part) with SCEC, usually around 20 %, but ranging mostly between 10 and 30 %.

A full description of the project in English - a bit lengthy but certainly of interest - is available here:

http://www.arcipelagoscec.org/doc/ArchipelagoSCECproject1.pdf

SCEC is putting first emphasis on actually supporting local production and commerce over imports from far away and world wide commerce by multinationals. The currency makes local exchanges more convenient for people who use the system, as they get a break by virtue of getting substantial discounts on the normal price.

The SCEC, once issued, stay in circulation and can be spent at any business or professional that adheres to the program and states how much discount they are willing to give. In this way, SCEC is tax neutral - no tax is to be paid on it as it is merely a discount.

Users of course, who are not subject to value added tax (VAT) when buying/selling second hand goods or exchanging favors and transactions in the social area can use SCEC to replace the official Euro currency in these direct exchanges.

SCEC is a discount as far as the government is concerned, but it is a fledgling alternative currency as far as the users are concerned.

It favors local commerce and as it gets more and more accepted, future uses might even include the payment of rates or (local) taxes.

An electronic system to run side by side with the currently available paper currency is in the planning stage. This would work like any bank account. You can make transfers to other users of the system, and you can convert paper into electronic or electronic into paper, if so desired.

Organizationally, SCEC is organized as a non profit "archipelago of several islands" which are the regional associations that are independent of each other, but agree to use the same kind of currency and to exchange information on who are the member businesses and professionals who accept SCEC as part payment for their goods or services.

SCEC are issued periodically and equally to all participants in the system, in exchange for a voluntary contribution intended to defray the costs of printing and administration.

Loans in SCEC to participating businesses are possible. They are given as an advance on future distribution of the currency. Once someone has received a loan they will not receive any future SCEC distributed to others, until they are "caught up" and are once again eligible to receive the normal distributions. Anyone entering the system gets 100 SCEC to start trading. To get more, they have to either wait for another periodic distribution or have to start giving some kind of service for which they accept SCEC in payment.

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Fourwinds10.com
March 13, 2008

LAST NIGHTS SESSION WAS ONLY THE FOURTH TIME IN 176 YEARS THAT CONGRESS CLOSED ITS DOORS TO THE PUBLIC

Word has begun leaking from last nights special, closed-door session of the United States House of Representatives.

Not only did members discuss new surveillance provisions as was the publicly stated reason for the closed door session, they also discussed:

the imminent collapse of the U.S. economy to occur by September 2008,

the imminent collapse of US federal government finances by February 2009,

the possibility of Civil War inside the USA as a result of the collapse,

advance round-ups of "insurgent U.S. citizens" likely to move against the government,

The detention of those rounded-up at "REX 84" camps constructed throughout the USA,

the possibility of retaliation against members of Congress for the collapses,

the location of "safe facilities" for members of Congress and their families to reside during expected massive civil unrest

the necessary and unavoidable merger of the United States with Canada (for its natural resources) and with Mexico (for its cheap labor pool),

the issuance of a new currency - THE AMERO - for all three nations as the proposed solution to the coming economic armageddon.

Members of Congress were FORBIDDEN to reveal what was discussed. Several are so furious and concerned about the future of the contry, they have begun leaking info. More details coming later today and over the weekend. SPREAD THE WORD!!!

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US, UK 'worst places for children'

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Aljazeera.net
February 14, 2007
11:55 MECCA TIME, 8:55 GMT

Britain and the United States are the worst places in the industrialised world for children to live, according to a report by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

They ranked among the bottom third in the study which looked at overall well-being, health and safety, education, relationships, risk and their own sense of well-being.

The study said that child poverty - defined as the percentage of children living in homes with incomes below 50 per cent of the national median - remains above the 15 per cent mark in Britain, the US and Ireland, as well as Spain, Portugal and Italy.

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Germans take pride in local money

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BBC News, Magdeburg, Germany
By Tristana Moore
February 6, 2007

The next time you venture out for lunch in Magdeburg, check what kind of loose change you have in your wallet.

Like any other city in Germany, the normal currency here is the euro. But bizarrely, they also have another currency in circulation: the Urstromtaler .

Before you doubt its existence, it is not "Monopoly" money - it is very real. At a jewellery shop in the city centre, Gerfried Kliems explained how people use the regional currency.

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The Awakening of the UsuryFree Creatives

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The Awakening of the UsuryFree Creatives
By Tommy UsuryFree

During the past twenty-five years, the thoughts and actions of the pioneering usuryfree creatives have spread from rural British Columbia to countries all over the world, making a profound impact not only in the movement of usuryfree living, but also in the overall achievement of consciousness-raising of the whole planet.

While cultural creatives are said to be the leading edge creators of a new global culture, the usuryfree creatives are defined as a significant sub-group within the 50+ million cultural creatives who are described in the book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World‚ authored by Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D.

Usuryfree creatives are re-educating themselves about our orthodox system of usury-based economics. Through a self-imposed process of re-education, usuryfree creatives are transforming the consciousness of we-the-people. Indeed, usuryfree creatives from all across Canada (and the world) are un-learning the lies, deceit and deception that have been foisted upon them and their ancestors for centuries as they read books, attend lectures and follow self-imposed courses of study using the world wide web of resources available on the internet.

The usuryfree creatives are re-learning the basics of wealth creation from a unique perspective. Proposals for usuryfree community currency projects are surfacing from many different individuals and groups. Though only some of these blossoming projects are focused on usuryfree time currency, given the ease of modern technology, their respective infrastructures can be easily adapted to use the optimal unit of a time-based currency which can be traded globally without the headaches of exchange rates.

These usuryfree creatives admit to formerly being financially enslaved as debtors, otherwise defined as victims entrapped in a culture of usury. As debtors they were subservient to their greedy creditors (bankers) whose economic domination is evidenced by their theft of wealth from the middle class by the exacting of compound usury.

As debtors and for lack of knowledge about how the design flaw of usury really functions, they were submerged in a painful economic reality in which the experience of usuryfree living was forever illusive. Only recently, have the debtors been offered resources to facilitate their re-education process.

Thanks to the pioneering usuryfree creatives, debtors are now learning that the current, usury-based system of orthodox economics is forever causing the debtors to experience economic pain because the design flaw of usury malfunctions to cause wars, violence, poverty, scarcity and lack.

Usuryfree creatives commonly confront the many problems caused by the design flaw of usury and turn their attention to the usuryfree community currency movement as one of the major planks in any platform that seeks to abolish the culture of usury.

Over the past twenty-five years, the usuryfree creatives have engaged in a process of study and active participation that has produced various workable exchange and/or trading models that are being implemented in local communities all over the world.

From situations of active participation in the struggle to liberate debtors chained by the albatross of usury, these usuryfree creatives are liberating men and women as they evolve towards a usuryfree lifestyle. These usuryfree creatives are developing a new economic perspective which is authentically different and which seeks to facilitate the transition to a concrete reality of usuryfree living in this 21st Century.

These innovative thoughts on the philosophy of usuryfree living first emerged in the early 1980's after Michael Linton created the usuryfree LETS (Local Employment Trading System) software. The LETSystem model has been widely used in local communities all over the world since 1982. Pioneering usuryfree creatives have written and published many articles, booklets, and books during the latter years of the 20th Century. As we progress into this 21st Century, active usuryfree creatives are producing CDs and DVDs as well as hosting live seminars and workshops.

The latest DVD commonly promoted within the usuryfree community currency movement is Money As Debt by Paul Grignon. Since its release in the summer of 2006, it has been lauded as an excellent introductory lesson about the creation of money as debt and the growth of any debt as accelerated by the design flaw of usury.

Indeed, usuryfree creatives are becoming aware of the abstractness and sterility of the conventional and erroneous teachings by orthodox economists. And they are excited about evolving processes midst our ongoing struggle to experience the reality of usuryfree living in this incarnation.

Usuryfree creatives are encouraged when men of the stature of Peter Keonig, an international lecturer from Switzerland hosts seminars about liberating your life, liberating your money, because it demonstrates the awakening of the group consciousness, while negating formerly accepted limits and opening doors to the reality of usuryfree living.

Peter operates on some basic assumptions about money, one of which is that in the future we may expect a time where we have the opportunity to buy things and trade with each other in a multiplicity of different currencies. Peter concurs with the usuryfree creatives who explain that the most empowering element of these modern community currencies are that indeed, they are without interest or otherwise usuryfree.

For complete details about Peter Koenig's Money Seminars for 2007, including those in Ottawa, Ontario, Montreal and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in February 2007, visit his website

Usuryfree creatives believe that the development of an online database that will serve to facilitate trades/exchanges locally, nationally and internationally will inevitably lead to the ultimate financial freedom for everyone on this planet.

In fact, the pioneering usuryfree creatives anticipate that such an online database will accelerate the mission of usuryfree living and mark the beginning of a new era of peace, prosperity, and abundance for all.

Indeed, the thoughts and experiences of the pioneering usuryfree creatives are making significant contributions towards creating the reality of usuryfree living for everyone in this 21st Century.


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