Posts Tagged ‘artists on wordpress’

Best article I’ve read in a long time and written by a friend of a friend : Fear Laundering http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/25/fear-laundering-an-elaborate-psychological-diversion-and-bid-for-power/ 

Fear is the key word for this presidential election.

There is the fear of the Republican candidate Donald Trump as we all know. But I also think there is another fear.

It’s the fear of accepting what this country has become.

Martin Luther King Jr. accurately described the US government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

As a result, he wasn’t only killed physically, but his legacy as an anti-imperial revolutionary was also put to death. He was systematically demonized before the killing and his determination to confront the imperial war machine was subsumed (in effect whitewashed) by his image as a great civil rights leader.

Many of his contemporaries, probably the most brilliant, insightful and humanistic people to emerge from the US, have been assassinated and imprisoned.

A half century later, the US wields over 1000 military bases across the globe while over half of the federal tax goes for military spending. Currently it engages in eight wars. It also surrounds nuclear armed Russia and China while aggressively provoking both nations economically and militarily. There is no MLK or Malcolm X today, but there is the first black commander in chief who jokes about drone killings.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner is responsible for commanding the eight wars mentioned above. The country of freedom, equality and liberty is number one in mass incarceration, police killings, and mass surveillance. Perhaps this might be the worst time to wake up and realize that what the government has been doing is the complete opposite of what it’s been saying.

According to Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, such a shift in one’s world view causes fragmentation of the self, which leads to an extreme expression of anger and desperate efforts in protecting and defending the crumbling “reality”.

For some people this momentum of anger and fear seems to merge directly with anger against Donald Trump together with unconditional support for the de facto power of establishment: Hillary Clinton. They can divert the overflowing anger toward Trump while rebuilding their crumbling world by standing with Clinton, dutifully demonizing the good old cold war enemy Russia, erroneously calling the WikiLeaks founder a rapist, affirming American exceptionalism with conviction, and so on.

It is truly surreal to witness people turning into Russia-hating-angry-Americans who believe that American style democracy is exceptional and the nation should be led by a trusted imperialist with a proven record of spreading “democracy” with undemocratic means. However, it might not be a complete mystery after all.

I wonder if this psychological narrative was considered when the Democratic Party strategists conspired to promote Donald Trump as an extreme right wing conservative, as a “piped piper” candidate who would play the evil candidate against the “lesser evil” candidate Hillary Clinton.

Take a look at a Clinton supporter’s wall. You will notice a few emotionally charged angles that are prominent, which are designed to elicit highly emotional responses while covering up Clinton’s patriarchal policies of colonialism, corporatism and militarism:

  1. Trump’s misogyny, which, of course, functions to elevate “feminist” Clinton while covering up her patriarchal policies of wars and socioeconomic restructuring for the interests of the Wall Street bankers.
  2. Openly Russophobic remarks coupled with an alleged Trump connection to Russia. The demonization of Russians and portraying the Russian government as an illegitimate entity serve to prepare people for continuing economic and military pressure against Russia. This has been particularly concerning for all of us who have followed the movements of NATO forces encroaching on Russia. It is not Russia exhibiting aggression, but it has been the NATO forces, with 10 times more military spending, provoking nuclear armed Russia. This angle elicits a strong emotional response from people who have been long conditioned with anti-soviet, anti-Communist propaganda long after the fall of the Soviet Union and its communist governance. It also must be noted that it is simply appalling that Clinton has not presented any evidence for her claim that the Russian government has intervened in the presidential election, while the US has been officially engaging in political intervention of Russia through its Russian Democracy Act.
  3. Trump’s disrespectful remarks against US veterans. Highlighting Trump’s remarks about veterans elevates Clintons status as a potential military leader. I have been surprised that people, who I thought would be aware of the violent imperialism of the US hegemony, which has destroyed over 22 million lives across the globe while destroying domestic social programs and social safety nets, are so willing to go along with Clinton’s pro war position. Clinton has been literally in support of all the US colonial wars and continues to provoke Russia and China with aggressive remarks.

The US presidential election is a great tool of imperialism to turn good Americans into fervent nationalists dangerous to all humans on the planet.

I urgently ask readers to consider our predicament being trapped in this scheme devised to perpetuate the rule of the extreme minority with enormous wealth and power.


 

Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. In 1998 Hamada was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, and in 2009 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives and works New York, the United States.

 

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10 of the best Tony Benn quotes – as picked by readers of The Guardian

10 of the best Tony Benn quotes – as picked by readers of The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/15/10-of-the-best-tony-benn-quotes-as-picked-by-our-readers?CMP=fb_gu

His Observations on the Famous Novel (1937)


Written: 1937
First Published: Joan London, Jack London and His Times,
Source: The New International, Vol. XI No. 3, April 1945, p. 95.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/xx/ironheel.htm


Trotsky’s commentary on Jack London’s great classic, The Iron Heel, was written in Mexico some time in 1937. Originally, it was published as part of the biography, Jack London and His Times, written by his daughter, Joan London, to whose courtesy we are obliged for its reproduction in these pages. Joan London writes us that an earlier letter from Trotsky explained why The Iron Heel struck him so forcibly, due to the fact that he had been unaware of its existence until she sent him a copy. It is not necessary to add anything else to what we print here by Trotsky, except to note that the abruptness of its opening sentence is due to the omission from the original published text of the first paragraph. – Editor

… The book produced upon me – I speak without exaggeration – a deep impression. Not because of its artistic qualities: the form of the novel here represents only an armor for social analysis and prognosis. The author is intentionally sparing in his use of artistic means. He is himself interested not so much in the individual fate of his heroes as in the fate of mankind. By this, however, I don’t want at all to belittle the artistic value of the work, especially in its last chapters beginning with the Chicago commune. The pictures of civil war develop in powerful frescoes. Nevertheless, this is not the main feature. The book surprised me with the audacity and independence of its historical foresight.

The world workers’ movement at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century stood under the sign of reformism. The perspective of peaceful and uninterrupted world progress, of the prosperity of democracy and social reforms, seemed to be assured once and for all. The first Russian revolution, it is true, revived the radical flank of the German social-democracy and gave for a certain time dynamic force to anarcho-syndicalism in France. The Iron Heel bears the undoubted imprint of the year 1905. But at the time when this remarkable book appeared, the domination of counterrevolution was already consolidating itself in Russia. In the world arena the defeat of the Russian proletariat gave to reformism the possibility not only of regaining its temporarily lost positions but also of subjecting to itself completely the organized workers’ movement. It is sufficient to recall that precisely in the following seven years (1907–14) the international social-democracy ripened definitely for its base and shameful role during the World War.

Jack London not only absorbed creatively the impetus given by the first Russian revolution but also courageously thought over again in its light the fate of capitalist society as a whole. Precisely those problems which the official socialism of this time considered to be definitely buried: the growth of wealth and power at one pole, of misery and destitution at the other pole; the accumulation of social bitterness and hatred; the unalterable preparation of bloody cataclysms – all those questions Jack London felt with an intrepidity which forces one to ask himself again and again with astonishment: when was this written? Really before the war?

One must accentuate especially the role which Jack London attributes to the labor bureaucracy and to the labor aristocracy in the further fate of mankind. Thanks to their support, the American plutocracy not only succeeds in defeating the workers’ insurrection but also in keeping its iron dictatorship during the following three centuries. We will not dispute with the poet the delay which can but seem to us too long. However, it is not a question of Jack London’s pessimism, but of his passionate effort to shake those who are lulled by routine, to force them to open their eyes and to see what is and what approaches. The artist is audaciously utilizing the methods of hyperbole. He is bringing the tendencies rooted in capitalism: of oppression, cruelty, bestiality, betrayal, to their extreme expression. He is operating with centuries in order to measure the tyrannical will of the exploiters and the treacherous rôle of the labor bureaucracy. But his most “romantic” hyperboles are finally much more realistic than the bookkeeper-like calculations of the so-called “sober politicians.”

It is easy to imagine with what a condescending perplexity the official socialist thinking of that time met Jack London’s menacing prophecies. If one took the trouble to look over the reviews of The Iron Heel at that time in the German Neue Zeit and Vorwärts, in the Austrian Kampf and Arbeiterzeitung, as well as in the other socialist publications of Europe and America, he could easily convince himself that the thirty-year-old “romanticist” saw incomparably more clearly and farther than all the social-democratic leaders of that time taken together. But Jack London bears comparison in this domain not only with the reformists. One can say with assurance that in 1907 not one of the revolutionary Marxists, not excluding Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, imagined so fully the ominous perspective of the alliance between finance capital and labor aristocracy. This suffices in itself to determine the specific weight of the novel.

The chapter, The Roaring Abysmal Beast, undoubtedly constitutes the focus of the book. At the time when the novel appeared this apocalyptical chapter must have seemed to be the boundary of hyperbolism. However, the consequent happenings have almost surpassed it. And the last word of class struggle has not yet been said by far! The “Abysmal Beast” is to the extreme degree oppressed, humiliated, and degenerated people. Who would now dare to speak for this reason about the artist’s pessimism? No, London is an optimist, only a penetrating and farsighted one. “Look into what kind of abyss the bourgeoisie will hurl you down, if you don’t finish with them!” This is his thought.

Today it sounds incomparably more real and sharp than thirty years ago. But still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind. London manifests remarkable freedom from reformistic pacifist illusions. In this picture of the future there remains not a trace of democracy and peaceful progress. Over the mass of the deprived rise the castes of labor aristocracy, of praetorian army, of an all-penetrating police, with the financial oligarchy at the top. In reading it one does not believe his own eyes: it is precisely the picture of fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology! The fact is incontestable: in 1907 Jack London already foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution. Whatever may be the single “errors” of the novel – and they exist – we cannot help inclining before the powerful intuition of the revolutionary artist.

 

Frankie Boyle has just won politics, you won’t read a better analysis of the current state of UK politics, and some of these metaphors are the funniest thing I’ve read in ages!

MAD TING. SAD TING.


“Theresa May claims to want compassionate Conservatism, and for the party to be greener. So fingers crossed her next ‘go home immigrants’ poster vans are all going to be hybrids. It’s great for girls to see a female leader, say people who live under the longest reigning female monarch and an equal pay structure worse than Namibia.

May is currently meeting a few world leaders so that they can get to know the real woman behind their citizens’ cavity searches and illegal detentions. It does feel a bit awkward turning up in France right now wanting to talk about Brexit, like we’re a neighbour rocking up at a funeral asking if we can have our Tupperware back.

Angela Merkel was quick to pay her respects. May is very popular in Germany where she’s a character from a childhood cautionary tale about not cutting your nails.

Of course it’s lazy sexism to compare May to Merkel, Thatcher, or to any female leader. We should instead compare her to people with similar qualities, like Judge Dredd or a sort of crocodile man that once ate me in a nightmare. Any idea that she was going to show a gentler side in her new role disappeared when she stood up in Parliament, looking like she’s solely made from the bones they left out of Boris Johnson, and announced that she’s prepared to push the nuclear button with the suppressed grin of a serial killer on a conjugal visit.

The Tories are currently brain-storming how to cherry pick the absolute worst parts of EU membership while jettisoning all that stuff about human rights and environmental standards.

For the left-wing Brexit voter,this is going to be like sending your Christmas list up the chimney and finding the only wish you’re granted is the wheezing old stranger watching you sleep.

And let’s pause for a moment to imagine how badly Johnson, Davis and Fox are going to play with Europe’s technocratic negotiators. Soon a UK citizen’s best chance of getting an EU passport will be showing Islamic State’s forgery department a full HGV license.

I was sure we’d never need Trident to stop other states from attacking us. But then Boris was made Foreign Secretary and I thought, ‘could be time for a rethink’. One thing we can be sure of, his translator’s going to be getting a fair few smacks in the mouth. It’s easy to underestimate his achievements, without Boris I doubt there’d be that ‘do not consume while pregnant’ warning on bottles of Pimm’s.

He’s undeniably a product of the public school system, the sort of kid whose parents’ evenings consisted of apologetic appearances by the butler. And it might be just as well: if he’d gone to a comprehensive he’d have been wedgied clean in two.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Labour Party is trying to replace Jeremy Corbyn after ten months, showing all the patience of Prince waiting for his paracetamol to kick in.

We’re told Corbyn is useless, then he manages to put together a more competent cabinet out of his billiards partner, an ex-girlfriend, mirrors, and some masking tape than May did with the entire back catalogue of fee-paying education’s finest.

It’s weird to see the media cast him as a bully, and it might just be a simple case of projection. At the moment he’s re-enacting a Spanish bullfight. He’s a beige bull staggering around an allotment with a couple of dozen swords sticking out of him, heroically whispering, ‘Who wants a courgette, I’ve got a glut’.

Corbyn hasn’t formed a strong opposition, say a parliamentary party who voted for renewing Trident, bombing Syria, and cutting benefits. Really what Labour MPs are selling is a sort of nihilism. They have grown up in a party where their core vote had no option but to vote for them, and where until recently members had little power. So they’re going to go into a leadership election asking their members to, essentially, abandon hope.

The only time most Labour MP’s are going to try and inspire the working class these days is if they need a new kitchen fitted for a short-notice dinner party.You have to wonder how they’d fare under the same media scrutiny as Corbyn, particularly after a week where the Syrian bombing they voted to get involved in killed 85 civilians and one of the rebel groups it was supposed to support beheaded a child.

In a way Labour are the only party reflecting the mood of the country, by loathing each other. Angela Eagle withdrew from the leadership race. There was nothing about her that suggested leadership – she looks like she’d shriek every time Putin entered a room and has the voice of a Collie locked in a hot car. Owen Smith was head of policy for Pfizer, but despite his best efforts there still aren’t enough drugs in the world to make his election seem like a good idea. Smith looks like his most radical policy will be not wearing a tie to the park.

There are a lot of people in Britain who need radical ideas, because the status quo for them is simply not survivable.

Even with the full weight of the media behind them, it’s going to be very difficult for Labour to persuade such people that things can go on as they are, that there’s a non-radical solution.

Theresa May might find she has a similar problem managing the expectations of those who voted for Brexit. What we can be sure of is that all this is going to demand a lot of distraction and scapegoating, and personally speaking I can’t wait to see which religion, race, class, country, gender, sexuality, human right or raft of drowning children our political class decides to blame next.”


Just brilliant!

The Five Rules Of Propaganda as laid out by Edward Bernays, godfather of PR, nephew of Freud.

The Five basic rules of propaganda, once you’ve read, absorbed and understood these five points, you will almost certainly see all these techniques within minutes of turning on the TV news or picking up a newspaper.

1:The rule of simplification:

reducing all data to a simple confrontation between ‘Good and Bad’, ‘Friend and Foe’ (or even ‘Right and Wrong’).

2:The rule of disfiguration:

discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies.

3:The rule of transfusion:

manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one’s own ends.

4:The rule of unanimity:

presenting one’s viewpoint as if it were the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people: draining the doubting individual into agreement by the appeal of star-performers, by social pressure, and by ‘psychological contagion’.

5:The rule of orchestration:

endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations.


Thirty one minutes of outstanding lecture on the history of propaganda and it’s relevance to Obama and the Empire of the USA.

John Pilger – Obama & Empire

https://t.co/PGHxb4ggme
Bernays, Disinformation, PR & Propaganda speech 2013. WHAM – Winning Hearts And Minds
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmtNIC8zv0)

The Bank of England’s dose of honesty throws the theoretical basis for austerity out the window

Retweeted from the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/truth-money-iou-bank-of-england-austerity

Back in the 1930s, Henry Ford is supposed to have remarked that it was a good thing that most Americans didn’t know how banking really works, because if they did, “there’d be a revolution before tomorrow morning”.
 
Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy”, co-authored by three economists from the Bank’s Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.
 
To get a sense of how radical the Bank’s new position is, consider the conventional view, which continues to be the basis of all respectable debate on public policy. People put their money in banks. Banks then lend that money out at interest – either to consumers, or to entrepreneurs willing to invest it in some profitable enterprise. True, the fractional reserve system does allow banks to lend out considerably more than they hold in reserve, and true, if savings don’t suffice, private banks can seek to borrow more from the central bank.
 
The central bank can print as much money as it wishes. But it is also careful not to print too much. In fact, we are often told this is why independent central banks exist in the first place. If governments could print money themselves, they would surely put out too much of it, and the resulting inflation would throw the economy into chaos. Institutions such as the Bank of England or US Federal Reserve were created to carefully regulate the money supply to prevent inflation. This is why they are forbidden to directly fund the government, say, by buying treasury bonds, but instead fund private economic activity that the government merely taxes.
 
It’s this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say “there’s just not enough money” to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending “crowding out” the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: “Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits” … “In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money ‘multiplied up’ into more loans and deposits.”
 
In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it’s backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There’s really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. So for the banking system as a whole, every loan just becomes another deposit. What’s more, insofar as banks do need to acquire funds from the central bank, they can borrow as much as they like; all the latter really does is set the rate of interest, the cost of money, not its quantity. Since the beginning of the recession, the US and British central banks have reduced that cost to almost nothing. In fact, with “quantitative easing” they’ve been effectively pumping as much money as they can into the banks, without producing any inflationary effects.
 
What this means is that the real limit on the amount of money in circulation is not how much the central bank is willing to lend, but how much government, firms, and ordinary citizens, are willing to borrow. Government spending is the main driver in all this (and the paper does admit, if you read it carefully, that the central bank does fund the government after all). So there’s no question of public spending “crowding out” private investment. It’s exactly the opposite.
 
Why did the Bank of England suddenly admit all this? Well, one reason is because it’s obviously true. The Bank’s job is to actually run the system, and of late, the system has not been running especially well. It’s possible that it decided that maintaining the fantasy-land version of economics that has proved so convenient to the rich is simply a luxury it can no longer afford.
 
But politically, this is taking an enormous risk. Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.
 
Historically, the Bank of England has tended to be a bellwether, staking out seeming radical positions that ultimately become new orthodoxies. If that’s what’s happening here, we might soon be in a position to learn if Henry Ford was right.

In his 2013 budget speech, Chancellor George Osbourne repeatedly used the phrase aspiration nation. This idea comes from the conviction politics, economics and social policy of Thatcherism and is a pivotal ideology of Conservative politics.

This aspiration nation is a society that values and fetishizes commodities above all else, as predicted by Karl Marx (b. German, 1818 – 1883, Das Kapital Vol.1, 1867).

I believe this “aspiration nation” is in fact a neo-feudal culture. It has become a Corpocracy, a society usurped by corporate global banks. And these international banks are tightening their grip by increasingly pushing us toward a cashless society.

Governments would love to see the end of banknotes. But what would a cashless society mean for freedom? The Guardian’s   has written about this today…

Crime, terrorism and tax evasion: why banks are waging war on cash

I can remember the moment I realised the era of cash could soon be over.

It was Australia Day on Bondi Beach in 2014. In a busy liquor store, a man wearing only swimming shorts, carrying only a mobile phone and a plastic card, was delaying other people’s transactions while he moved 50 Australian dollars into his current account on his phone so that he could buy beer. The 30-odd youngsters in the queue behind him barely murmured; they’d all been in the same predicament. I doubt there was a banknote or coin between them.

The possibility of a cashless society has come at us with a rush: contactless payment is so new that the little ping the machine makes can still feel magical. But in some shops, especially those that cater for the young, a customer reaching for a banknote already produces an automatic frown.

Among central bankers, that frown has become a scowl. There is a “war on cash” in the offing – but it has nothing to do with boosting our ease of payment or saving trees.

Consider the central banks’ anti-crisis measures so far. The first was to slash interest rates close to zero. Then, since you can’t slash them below zero, the banks turned to printing money to stimulate demand. But with global growth depressed, and a massive overhanging debt, quantitative easing (QE) is running out of steam.

Enter the era of negative interest rates: thanks to the effect of QE, tens of billions held in government bonds already yield interest rates that are effectively below zero. Now, central banks such as Japan and Sweden have begun to impose negative official interest rates.

The effect, for banks or long-term savers, is that by putting your money in a safe place – such as the central bank or a government bond – you automatically lose some of it.

Not surprisingly, these measures have led to the growing popularity of cash for people with any substantial savings. Bank of England research shows demand for cash has grown faster than GDP in many countries. So the central banks face a further challenge: how to impose negative interest rates on cash itself.

Technologically, you can’t. If people hold their savings as physical currency, it keeps its value – and in a period of deflation the spending power of hoarded cash increases, even as share prices and the value of bank deposits fall. Cash, in a situation like this, is king.

But the banks are ahead of us. Last September, the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, openly pondered ways of imposing negative interest rates on cash – ie shrinking its value automatically. You could invalidate random banknotes, using their serial numbers. There are £63bn worth of notes in circulation in the UK: if you wanted to lop 1% off that, you could simply cancel half of all fivers without warning. A second solution would be to establish an exchange rate between paper money and the digital money in our bank accounts. A fiver deposited at the bank might buy you a £4.95 credit in your account.

More radical still would be to outlaw cash. In Norway, two major banks no longer issue cash from branch offices. Last month, the biggest bank, DNB, publicly called for the government to outlaw cash.

Why would a central bank want to eliminate cash? For the same reason as you want to flatten interest rates to zero: to force people to spend or invest their money in the risky activities that revive growth, rather than hoarding it in the safest place.

Calls for the eradication of cash have been bolstered by evidence that high-value notes play a major role in crime, terrorism and tax evasion.

In a study for the Harvard Business School last week, former bank boss Peter Sands called for global elimination of the high-value note. Britain’s “monkey” – the £50 – is low-value compared with its foreign-currency equivalents, and constitutes a small proportion of the cash in circulation. By contrast, Japan’s 10,000-yen note (worth roughly £60) makes up a startling 92% of all cash in circulation; the Swiss 1,000-franc note (worth around £700) likewise. Sands wants an end to these notes plus the $100 bill, and the €500 note – known in underworld circles as the “Bin Laden”.

 

The advantages of a digital-only payment system to the user are clear: you can emerge from the surf in only your bathing shorts and proceed to buy beer, food, or even a small car, providing your balance is positive. The advantages to banks are also clear. Not only can all transactions be charged a fee, but bank runs are eliminated. There can be no repeat of the queues outside Northern Rock, nor of the Greek fiasco last summer, because there will be no ATMs, only a computer spreadsheet moving digital money around. The advantages to governments are also clear: all transactions can be taxed. Capital controls are implicit within the system.

But there are drawbacks, even for governments that would like to take absolute control of money transactions. First, resilience. If a cyber-attack or computer malfunction took down a digital-only payment system, there would be no cash reserves in households and businesses to fall back on. The second is more fundamental and concerns freedom. In most countries, the ability to take your cash out of the bank and to spend it anonymously is associated with many pleasurable activities – not all of which are illegal but which exist on the margins of society. How tens of thousands of club-goers would pay for their drugs each Saturday night is a non-trivial issue.

Nevertheless, the arrival of negative interest rates for banks, together with new rules allowing governments to bail-in – i.e. confiscate – deposits above a protected minimum, are certain to increase savers’ awareness of the value of cash, and will prompt calls in earnest for its abolition.

If it happens, it would be the ultimate demonstration of the power of FINANCE over people. As for resistance? Go ahead and try.

It may be the Queen’s head on a £50 note but the “promise to pay” is made above the signature of a Bank of England bureaucrat.

_______________________________________________________________

Neo-Feudalism and the invisible fist, a form of structural violence, a return to the caste system. It is privatised governance and the ordinary person doesn’t stand a chance.