FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!

Can we really say that abundance is our future? Can we say it now when perhaps almost 70% of the world’s population lives under the poverty level? Or when we only experience technological advancement and evolution once one is able to capitalize on its profitability? Maybe we can, or perhaps is best to say that we should be able to say that.

But in order to say something like this we will need to strip ourselves from any morality that is left in us. We will need to face the tough truth that human morality is nothing but a hypocritical illusion blocking our evolutionary destiny. And for those that would argue that our morality is the one thing separating the human species from the beasts and animals I would say that beyond the mask of morality lies the worse of all the animals, that is us.

Once we do this once we see ourselves like we really are then we will be able to really grasp our evolutionary purpose. We will allow ourselves to really mold this world as we really want, to control life like we know we can, eradicating diseases and faulty genes securing the future of humanity beyond this dying planet and into the universe which we belong.

THEN ABUNDANCE WILL BE OUR PRESENT, IT WILL JUST BE ABUNDANCE OUT OF EXTINCTION!!

So be it…

Anyway all this thinking made me hungry..time for a burger, no wait! Time for a salad!!!

Buhahahah….BUHAHAHAHAHAHA!
to be continue

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The secret symbolism of the pyramid…

There is not much that i would like to add because the following abstract from Hall’s ‘The secret teachings of all ages’ is just perfect!!!

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‘The modern world knows little of these ancient rites. The scientist and the theologian alike gaze upon the sacred structure, wondering what fundamental urge inspired the herculean labor. If they would but think for a moment, they would realize that there is only one urge in the soul of man capable of supplying the required incentive–namely, the desire to know, to understand, and to exchange the narrowness of human mortality for the greater breadth and scope of divine enlightenment. So men say of the Great Pyramid that it is the most perfect building in the world, the source of weights and measures, the original Noah’s Ark, the origin of languages, alphabets,. and scales of temperature and humidity. Few realize, however, that it is the gateway to the Eternal.

Though the modern world may know a million secrets, the ancient world knew one–and that one was greater than the million; for the million secrets breed death, disaster, sorrow, selfishness, lust, and avarice, but the one secret confers life, light, and truth. The time will come when the secret wisdom shall again be the dominating religious and philosophical urge of the world. The day is at hand when the doom of dogma shall be sounded. The great theological Tower of Babel, with its confusion of tongues, was built of bricks of mud and the mortar of slime. Out of the cold ashes of lifeless creeds, however, shall rise phœnixlike the ancient Mysteries. No other institution has so completely satisfied the religious aspirations of humanity, for since the destruction of the Mysteries there never has been a religious code to which Plato could have subscribed. The unfolding of man’s spiritual nature is as much an exact science as astronomy, medicine or jurisprudence. To accomplish this end religions were primarily established; and out of religion have come science, philosophy, and logic as methods whereby this divine purpose might be realized.

The Dying God shall rise again! The secret room in the House of the Hidden Places shall be rediscovered. The Pyramid again shall stand as the ideal emblem of solidarity, inspiration, aspiration, resurrection, and regeneration. As the passing sands of time bury civilization upon civilization beneath their weight, the Pyramid shall remain as the Visible covenant between Eternal Wisdom and the world. The time may yet come when the chants of the illumined shall be heard once more in its ancient passageways and the Master of the Hidden House shall await in the Silent Place for the coming of that man who, casting aside the fallacies of dogma and tenet, seeks simply Truth and will be satisfied with neither substitute nor counterfeit.’

Ideas matter…Perpetuating the neoconservative agenda through the economic crisis cycles.

The last 2 weeks I have been reading Naomi Klein’s book, ‘The shock doctrine’. It is an extraordinary book in which the author makes a daring link between the economic shocks the neoliberals theorists argue are essential for the transformation of a country’s economy and the shock therapy many psychiatrists used during the 50’s and the 60’s to destroy the mind of psychotic or schizophrenic and re-program them without their psychosis. This treatment uses cruel methods to de-structure the identity of the patient so in the end to reconstruct the mind of the patients.

Naturally these practices attracted the attention of the CIA. The agency went on to use these ‘shock treatments’ as interrogation methods to obtain the information they needed from their prisoners they regarded as ‘enemies of the state’. The main idea is that if you deprived from a person every significant identity or personality factors then you open up the person’s brain to obtain any information you. The details and documented facts the book provides on how these methods were applied, and still are practiced, against different groups and persons all over the world are honestly shocking.

This book highlights the incredible influence ideas have when the find the right circumstances and support from powerful interest groups.

What we are now experiencing as modern capitalism is the expression of a specific string of capitalist theory as it is described in the theory of neoliberalism. The interesting bit is that neoliberalism on its own cannot generate all the elements that constitute our modern society. After all neoliberalism as an economic model is merely a theory about the production process, that is in other words a theory about the production and distribution of wealth. Modern society that has gradually come into being since the late 70’s is the result of the adoption and use of neoliberalism as their economic model by the powerful political group of neoconservatives who again adhere to the ideas of theorists of neoconservatism.

The even more extraordinary and interesting thing is that the leading scholars whom set up the stage for this global play that is dominated by the political and economic philosophy of neoconservatism and neoliberalism both came from the University of Chicago. They are Prof Leo Strauss and Prof Milton Friedman.

Leo Strauss has long been a cult figure within the American academy. And even though he had a profound antipathy to both liberalism and democracy, his many powerful students have succeeded to conceal it. Even more than that they manage to paint an image of Strauss as the great American patriot, who was a lover of freedom and democracy.
As Shadia Drury put it:

The trouble with the Straussians is that they are compulsive liars.

Strauss was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society – specially a liberal society – because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.
The Straussians today are the most powerful, the most organised, and the best-funded scholars in Canada and the United States with control of right-wing think tanks, foundations, and corporate funding. They fulfilled exactly the role that their mentor prepared them for as he believed that intellectuals have an important role to play in politics but should avoid to attempt to rule directly because the masses are inclined to distrust them.

To understand Straussian neoconservatism one must understand Strauss distinction between the ancient and the modern philosophers. According to Strauss, ancient philosophers (such as Plato) were wise because they thought the unwashed masses were not fit for either truth or liberty and so society needs an elite of philosophers or intellectuals to manufacture “noble lies” for the consumption of the masses. On the other hand the modern philosophers like Locke were foolish and vulgar because they believed in the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as human beings were born free and could be legitimately ruled only by their own consent.

For the ancients and Strauss the natural human condition is not one of freedom, but of subordination. And in Strauss’s estimation, there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior. Now keep this in mind when we see how neoliberalism has been practised over the decades and all over the world.
Praising the wisdom of the ancients and condemning the folly of the moderns was the whole point of Strauss’s most famous book, Natural Right and History.
Strauss referred to the right of the superior to rule as “the tyrannical teaching” of the ancients which must be kept secret to spare the people’s feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals. Strauss believed that the wise would not abuse their power. The goal of the wise is to make the people be thankful to live their lives not in the pursuit of personal happiness but to live in perpetual sacrifice to God and the nation.
Strauss’s students complain that they are persecuted in the academy because they are illiberal. But the truth is because they are ill-equipped to handle philosophical debate. Strauss’s had taught them anyway that there can be no disagreement among the wise. They even fool themselves into thinking that they are the exclusive few who see the unadulterated truth, which is concealed from the eyes of the uninitiated.

So, what is neoconservatism? Again as Shadia Drury briefly explains; the new conservatism ‘inspired by Strauss’s hatred for liberal modernity, its goal is to turn back the clock on the liberal revolution and its achievements.’ For many neoconservative writers argued in their books that the new found freedoms of the sixties are the root of all evil. The main idea is to turn the people against their own liberty. By whatever means necessary. Usual and effective means are fear and terror that are injected to the public in the form of various political and economic shocks. They use whatever happens to be the enemy of the moment, terrorism, communism etc. And if you can convince the people that liberty undermines their security, then, you will not have to take away their liberty; they will gladly give it away.
Here is where actually the link between the neoconservatives and the neoliberalists lies. The neoconservative theorists from their political policy making posts, use democracy to defeat liberty. The neoliberalists theorists, also from their powerful policy making posts use neoliberal economics and policies, based on the theories of Milton Fiedman, to defeat the ideals and values that support the civil society and the welfare state.

Historically, neoliberalism was conceived as a counter-movement to the Keynesian school of state intervention and a reaction to the Soviet model of socialism. The neoliberals suggested that to overcome the economic crisis of the 70’s public spending should be cut, global trade and investment liberalized and the state sector privatized to promote the market provision of public goods.

For Milton Friedman economic freedom is prerequisite to political freedom and competitive capitalism promotes political freedom. It is therefore surprising enough that the first full-fledged experiments of neoliberalism were not carried out not in democratic states but by overthrowing democratic governments and replacing them with various totalitarian regimes in many South American countries like Chile, Brazil, or Argentina. Naomi Klein in her book The shock doctrine sees a direct link between the ideas of the use of the economic shocks by the neoliberal model to restructure a country’s economy and the use of oppressive and violent tactics from totalitarian regimes and dictatorships which aim to give such a shock to the society that will not be able to collectively resist to their economic reforms.

To understand the importance of political force in setting and executing the neoliberal economic agenda one needs to know that when Friedrich von Hayek, one of neoliberalism most early proponents, wrote to Margret Thatcher, after traveling to Chile in 1981 to witness the so called Neo-liberal miracle, to urge her to follow the Chilean model more faithfully, Thatcher replied, ‘In Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable. Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution.’ And exactly how did Pinochet’s regime managed to push these measures? Simple, by using force and spreading fear.

As a matter of fact, it should be obvious that despite Mr Friedman’s beliefs neoliberalism is a breeding ground for totalitarian tendencies, not free will and democracy.

Neoliberalism’s ascendancy, according to The Crisis of Neoliberalism by Dumenil Gerard, as a new stage of capitalism since the 1970s expresses the strategy of the capitalist classes in alliance with financial managers to establish their hegemony and expand it globally. The neoliberal fixation on profits embodies the free movement of goods, resources and enterprises to find cheaper resources to maximize profits worldwide.

Neoliberalism values market exchange as an ethic in itself, which means in short the financialization of everything and represents a great power shift away from production to the world of finance. The greatest victory though for the neoconservatives was not that they highjack the theories of neoliberalism and use them to promote their own political global agenda but the fact that they managed to make the world to see their ideas as necessary or even the best way, perhaps the only way, for the social order to be regulated.

This has become since a sort of moral absolution for all the terrible crimes regimes in countries like China in the late 80’s, Russia after the fall of communism, Poland or even the countries in South America that have been mentioned above, have committed against their own people. There is the great contribution of the shock doctrine. Oppressive regimes were instructed by the gurus of neoliberalism to inflect such shocks to the society in terms of magnitude and number all at once so that the society will feel such a shock that the mazes will be unable to react and form a resistance to their plans to restructure the economic reality of their country and give all power, resources and capital to the selected few.

Furthermore in the event of conflict, neoliberal states favour the integrity of the financial system and solvency of the financial network over the well being of the population and over the integrity of the environment, contrary to the best interests of its citizens. The U.S.’s massive bailout of the banks in 2008-09 at taxpayer expense is a great proof of the above statement.

What is evident is the fact that Mr Friedman was not wrong. The economic liberalization will lead to political liberalization… What is evident though by the theories of the neoconservative scholars since both groups are part of the elite group the liberalization will be guided and directed to the sort of ethics, values and principles that the political power groups will deem appropriate and necessary to allow themselves to consolidate more power and control to their hands.

Neoliberalism in all horrible reality is a significant disruptive force that dominates policy, politics, and culture to the advantage of the select few, enabling concentration of wealth and power to breed totalitarian nation-states. The scariest part of all is that the totalitarian regimes won’t even admit they are oppressive because they consider themselves, as every good neoconservative does, as part of the enlightened selected few that know the truth and have the responsibility to guide the ignorant many down the road of moral virtue. Welcome to DISNEYLAND!!

Can anything good come out of the current Greek crisis?

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The worst thing about the situation that Greece and the Greek people are at this moment, that they experience this prolonged socio-economic crisis, is the psychological trauma which is caused by living with no prospects, nothing to look forward in life other than a helping hand an act of charity while at the same time your national and personal identity is being demonized and stigmatized as incompetent or lazy.

Living in misery has more to do with just the amount of material goods one enjoys. It has to do with a negative cloud that sinks inside people’s heart which suffocates their creative energy and their lust for life. Only some people have the strength to overcome this sense of desperation and create something positive within such environment.

Another problem is that the rest of the people that are capable to do something creative that might have the power to contribute positively and turn this misery around decide that they can only try this somewhere else. So they immigrate, depriving their loving country with the precious capital that has some chances to make a difference…

Can something positive come out of this ordeal? For Greece, for Europe or for the world?

As far as Greece is concern the first thing that I can think of that might be consider as a possible positive development is the small chance that the Greek people will be finally liberated from the client-like dependency relationships between the public and the state that led to the monopoly of power between the 2 party political elites responsible for the monstrous, black hole of a public sector that devoured the country’s wealth.

I hope that in the upcoming elections the Greek people will start putting forward a new belief. Such a belief will have to be first ideological. An idea that will radically transform the way the country’s production processes are conceive how the Greek people conduct their social and inter-personal relations. These interactions should be conducted using as a compass the principles of solidarity, compassion and humility. The demons of racism, hatred and self-pity must be cast away in exile, never to return. For these step to have even the slightest of chance to become a reality Greece needs a new set of myths and heroes with their symbols and rituals that will curve the path the individual needs to take to allow these principles to manifest and further to instruct the individual’s and the society’s place in the cosmos.

As far as Europe now is concerned, or the EU if you prefer, what I would like to hope for as a positive aspect out of this mess is the small chance that this crisis will be what the American Civil War was for the integration and the federalization of the United States of America. In the case of the EU should the polarization between the member-states of the centre and the ones in the periphery of the EU become so intense that results to a civil war with the millions and millions of victims that the American Civil War had is perhaps unlikely. Don’t get me wrong, I mean the history of the European continent is full of similar devastating civil wars. The whole European integration project that led to the EU was a result of a similar disastrous conflict.

The conflict in Europe though will not be an armed conflict. At least not in the sense of a full scale war. It will be though a full-blown social and class conflict once again. This new financial and economic crisis will produce millions and millions of victims who they would feel neglected, disappointed and frustrated just like the people in Greece now. Migration will bring a new generation of young European citizens in a new wave of cultural and social integration. How are we going to experience this social and cultural interaction is the challenge that hides so many opportunities for the future of the people of Europe and of the world. Are we going to share this experience and challenge with solidarity, trust and care for one another?

Are we going to be able to close our eyes, ears and minds to the sirens of the corporate government elites? The global elite that only care about taking away every labour and civil right that decades of popular fight and struggles has rightfully earned the people of Europe. The elite that through intimidation tactics, with the spread of lies, fear terrorizes its own people who, like people interrogated with electroshock, are left in a state of shock and awe that their majority will be ready to see their public wealth being spread to the various different global corporations.

The opportunity is there …for Greece, for Europe …for the world. We can rise up to the challenge if we can just, as the Anonymous groups has stated, stop asking change and start being the change.

Between the Oriental and Occidental mythological archetype:Lessons from the past

Once again is this time of the year that makes all of us to think about our self, who you are, what have you  achieve, where have you come, where are you going and how other people see you or judge you.

Yes is the time of the year for the famous ‘New Year’s Resolution’. This ancient human tradition of self-torture. Every year at the last days of the year people all around the world decide to see their life once again through the lenses of pure social self-satisfying commercialism. These lenses are created simply by one’s vanity and insecurities. They are crafted gradually over the years through a culture of self-defeating individualism, spurt out from a society which embraces  competition in the race for what has become a fake bliss.

Our modern way of life era has distorted our vision towards our basic human needs that may lead one to happiness. Commercialization has distorted these basic needs, like the need to be loved, to have human contact, to eat or to be warm and secure, into degradable products. We are all conditioned to believe that in order to be really happy and contempt we must collect, use and consume more and more of these sort of products.

This modern way of life is what causes some of the most common problems people face nowadays at their jobs and careers. Like everything else here in the West we gave it a nice name ‘burn out’ and came up with some smart sounding treatments and some even more expensive new drugs to help people deal with this. We fail to realize the root of these sort of symptoms is actually the fact that we have been disconnected from our self and we only see our lives through our egos and the different personas we create to fit in all the different roles society expects us to assume.

Honestly how many of us can say that what they have done in their lives so far or even more what they have set as a new year’s resolution is actually what THEY want? Since we have been convinced that happiness comes from social acceptance and material possessions we are ready to do almost everything to achieve success in  these terms. And the crazy part is what? That we are ready to do all these to work for 40 years to any job makes us successful just so that we can then retire and go back and do exactly what we wanted to do as kids. Only we will do them as old people.

In a new book I am reading nowadays ‘Pathways to Bliss’ Joseph Campbell this incredible specialist on world mythologies and analyst of the human psyche unfolds with his unique way the philosophy of Carl Jung as far as people’s different levels of consciousness and their different interconnections.

What Campbell suggests is that our society and many of us individually have lost every connection to any mythological figure or rite strong enough to makes us feel move beyond the concepts of here and now to something greater than ourselves or this world. In the west the religious institutions in their paranoia to prove their dogma right in terms to the dogma of other religions they focus on preaching that the figures and myths of Christian religion and its traditions are connected to actual historical events. People though today know that this cannot be true. What they need is not someone to convince them that for example the Virgin Birth has actually happen but to feel connected with the mysteries and the awe that the myth and symbolism of the Virgin Birth penetrates to the individual and to the society as a whole.

The last decades there is a sort of turn and shift from many people here in the west to the dogmas and traditions of eastern religions like Buddhism or Hinduism. The simple explanation is that people need the philosophy of these eastern religions because these religions suggest the way by which through meditation and submission/ surrender the individual can cancel its own self and ego and to be one with the greater truth and cosmic energy. Oriental religions teaches you to find a way to cancel you own ego.

Here in the West though we embrace individuation and what in the past the symbols and myths of our Occidental religions were offering to the individual and the society was the way to realize on what stage of life one person is on and to assume the proper attitudes and attributes to helps us go through this terrible ordeal that is life. These attributes can be courage to do the right thing even if we will get hurt, compassion to forgive people and move on or humility and humbleness to be able to experience the awe of the mystery of life.

In the end Joseph Campbell argues that since our religious traditions fail now to move our imagination so to find our own bliss what remains is to find your personal myth that will open your inner psyche and will allow you to achieve and fulfil yourselves reaching its full potentials.

The brain that rules the markets…

TED lecture : The divided brain

In this post I will not elaborate much on my own personal ideas or views as I feel that the video lecture above and the article below present a greatly insightful aspect on how we conceptualize and recreate the world we live in…mainly as predators.

Lessons From The Brain-Damaged Investor – Unusual Study Explores Links Between Emotion and Results; Neuroeconomics’ on Wall Street
By JANE SPENCER
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 21, 2005;

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112190164023291519,00.html
People with certain kinds of brain damage may make better investment decisions. That is the conclusion of a new study offering some compelling evidence that mixing emotion with investing can lead to bad outcomes. By linking brain science to investment behavior, researchers concluded that people with an impaired ability to experience emotions could actually make better financial
decisions than other people under certain circumstances. The research is part of a
fast-growing interdisciplinary field called “neuroeconomics” that explores the role biology plays in economic decision making, by combining insights from cognitive neuroscience, psychology and economics. The study was published last month in the journal Psychological Science, and was conducted by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Iowa.
The 15 brain-damaged participants that were the focus of the study had normal IQs, and the areas of their brains responsible for logic and cognitive reasoning were intact. But they had lesions in the region of the brain that controls emotions, which inhibited their ability to experience basic feelings such as fear or anxiety. The lesions were due to a range of causes, including stroke and disease, but they impaired the participants’ emotional functioning in a similar manner.
The study suggests the participants’ lack of emotional responsiveness actually gave them an advantage when they played a simple investment game. The emotionally impaired players were more willing to take gambles that had high payoffs because they lacked fear. Players with undamaged brain wiring, however, were more cautious and reactive during the game, and wound up with less money at the end.
Some neuroscientists believe good investors may be exceptionally skilled at suppressing emotional reactions. “It’s possible that people who are high-risk takers or good investors may have what you call a functional psychopathy,” says Antoine Bechara, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Iowa, and a coauthor of the study. “They don’t react emotionally to things. Good investors can earn to control their emotions in certain ways to become like those people.” The study demonstrates how neuroeconomics can offer insight into a question that
has become a growing focus of economic inquiry: Why don’t people always act in their own self-interest when they make economic decisions? Though the field is still in its infancy, researchers hope neuroeconomics could someday have dozens of real world applications — like explaining how brain chemistry influences market phenomena such as bubble manias and investor panics.
Wall Street executives already are paying attention to the findings, since it offers insight into what motivates investors.
“This branch of inquiry and economic investigation is really fortifying and
buttressing our understanding of investor behavior,” says David Darst, chief investment strategist in the Individual Investor Group at Morgan Stanley. “It’s beginning to inform our tactical decisions.”
Using sophisticated brain-imaging technology such as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, tests and other tools, neuroeconomists peek inside people’s brains to see which regions are activated when we engage in behaviors such as evaluating risks and rewards, making choices and cooperating with other people. Neuroeconomic researchers also tap into brain activity by measuring brain chemicals and exploring how damage to specific brain regions impacts economic decision making.
Neuroeconomics grew out of a related field called behavioral economics. Behavioral economists use insights from psychology and other social sciences to explore why humans don’t always behave as predictably as standard economic models suggest they should.
In the late 1990s, when the links between psychology and neurobiology were firmly established, behavioral economists began turning to neuroscientists, in addition to psychologists, for help explaining human behavior. The idea was that if brain chemistry could explain phenomena such as depression or attention deficit disorder, it might also help explain more mundane psychological functions, such as how people reach financial decisions.
Behavioral economists, like Princeton’s Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002, began teaming up with neuroscientists, like Peter Shizgal at Concordia University in Montreal. In one study, the pair used gambling games and neuroimaging techniques to look what part of the brain is triggered when people anticipate winning money. They found that monetary rewards trigger the same brain activity as good tastes, pleasant music or addictive drugs.
The 41 participants in the new study included people with and without brain damage, including a control group of participants with brain damage that didn’t affect their emotional processing.

Players were given $20 and asked to play a simple gambling game that involved 20 rounds of coin tosses. If they won a coin toss, they earned $2.50. If they lost the toss, they had to give up a dollar. They could choose not to play in any given round, in which case they kept their dollar.
Logic indicates that the best strategy was to take the gamble in every round of the game, since the return on a win was much higher than the potential loss, and the risk in each round was 50-50. The players with emotion-related brain damage took a more logical strategy, investing in 84% of rounds, while the nonbrain-damaged players invested in just 58% of the rounds. Emotionally impaired participants outperformed the nonbrain-damaged participants, winding up with an average of $25.70 versus $22.80 at the end of the game. The researchers believe fear had a lot to do with the poor performance of nonbrain-damaged participants. “If you just observe these people, they know the right thing to do is invest in every single round,” says Baba Shiv, an associate professor of marketing at the Stanford business school and a co-author of the study. “But when they actually get into the game, they start reacting to the outcomes of the previous
rounds.”
Yet emotions may play a useful role in financial decision making. While the brain damaged players did well in the specific game in the study, they didn’t generally perform well when it came to making financial decisions in the real world. Three of four of the brain-damaged players had experienced personal bankruptcy. Their inability to experience fear led to risk-seeking behavior, and their lack of emotional judgment sometimes led them to get tangled up with people who took advantage of them. Their life experience suggests emotions can play an important role in protecting our interests, even if they sometimes interfere with rational decision making. Humans developed this fear response as a survival mechanism to protect against predators. But in a world where predators aren’t lurking around every corner, this fear system can be over-sensitive, reacting to dangers that don’t actually exist and pushing us toward illogical choices.
“There was no such thing as stock in the Pleistocene era,” says George Loewenstein, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, and a co-author of the study. “But human beings are pathologically risk averse. A lot of the mechanisms that drive our emotions aren’t really that well adapted to modern life.”

THE PRICE OF FEAR
A new study shows people with
brain damage that impaired their
ability to experience emotions such
as fear outperformed other people
in an investment game.
• The brain-damaged participants were more
willing to take risks that yielded high payoffs.
• They were less likely to react emotionally to
losses.
• They finished the game with 13% more
money than other players.

The idea of odious debt in International Relations and the lunacy of modern democracy

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The speed of which new developments come to light, discussed or debated in the media or the international political and economic forums these days is almost unprecedented. However the amount of real, sober or even honest information that we receive is actually diminishing week by week.   We live in such a quick pace that even the information that we consume has become a fast food commodity. No one tries to read or listen into different views and form an independent personal view anymore. We base our conceptions, perceptions only by reading the headlines of some ‘well perceived’ media forums and by listening a 1 minute report from a news channel. That’s it. That is the reason why tabloids receive such high readerships. The more serious effects of tabloids on journalism is that it has deformed the way news are presented in almost all forms of print media.

Here I would like to present some examples from recent developments that reveal the sickening world of the media and news coverage.

First, very few media have even reported on a historical basis the notion of odious debt as far as the debt crisis the countries in the Eurozone and mainly Greece is facing now. As if Greece is the first country that has ever faced a  debt crisis. At times, major powers—invoking what has come to be known as the doctrine of “odious debt”—have argued that new regimes should not be responsible for debts incurred by old ones. After the Spanish-American war, for example, the United States argued that neither Cuba nor the United States should be responsible for debt incurred by the colonial Spanish  government. In the famous Tinoco Arbitration of 1923, the panel suggested that credits knowingly extended to a country for a dictator who used the money for his personal purposes should not be recoverable.

Some years ago, the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has prompted renewed calls for reviving this doctrine and creating an odious debt exception to state succession. Surprise, surprise the USA have promoted this idea about the huge debt of Iraq because they would have to manage the country anyway now that Saddam was gone. However the American government tried really hard and succeeded to have the country’s debt declared unpaid  without using officially the legal terminology of the odious debt because they were afraid that they would have created a legal precedent for other countries to do the same. The reasons though and the logic that America went on to cancel Iraq’s debt was essentially the odious debt legal framework.

Despite these incidents, the international community has not yet adopted a general doctrine of excusing odious debts. Rather, the default rule is that sovereign debt is to be repaid, regardless of the circumstances under which it was contracted or for which the debt was used. Whereas international powers may act in an ad hoc way to assume or restructure sovereign debt of favoured countries, no general off-the shelf doctrine is available to be applied in a neutral manner across cases. The doctrine is that if you are strong enough you can pass anything that suits your interests. Well that was the case, and probably it still is, but again some years ago the  newly elected president of Ecuador after months of social unrest  managed to declare almost 70% of his country’s huge debt as odious and therefore void.

Greece’s accumulation of this huge debt has all the characteristics of a debt that can be declared as an odious debt. If one knows or tries to be informed of the numerous economic scandals that over the last decades many politicians in Greece were involved with German companies like Siemens or other European corporations from the defence industry will understand that the debts the Greek government assumed benefited in reality a very small minority of national and international investors.

Or one needs to think the criminal financial loans that Goldman Sachs sold to Greece while at the same time betting with the famous Credit Default Swaps against Greece to repay its debts. These sort of news or analysis is almost non-existent in the media in Europe. The media simplify their views and focus on just how much is the debt of Greece’s or Italy’s and what is the amount of the next financial aid package coming from the EU. No one questions the conditions and terms of the aid packages, no one questions if the way that the EU has responded in the crisis has been really helpful or effective, honest or proper. The EU directories and the ideas coming fro the IMF and the ECB are taken as granted as gospel.

One newspaper in Germany actually decided to dig in and investigate the issues behind the Greek crisis and the EU rescue packages and response.

(http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/if-i-were-from-greece/5765434.html?p5765434=all)

The German newspaper Handelsblatt send a research tour to Greece consisting of a 20-member team in order to get information and to investigate the situation in Greece. The report of the German journalist team describe ‘an exhausted country, a country suffering from a double burden: Its self-inflicted debt chaos and a European rescue policy which is only making matters worse’.

One month in Greece was enough for the reporters to realize what it has been evident to the Greek public for almost more than 2 years. The austerity measures are shrinking the economic strength of the country while at the same time exaggerating the country’s debt extreme levels. The report from Handelslblatt goes on and states: ‘You can’t get muscles by starving…If I were from Greece I would sue my helpers for malicious injury. And at dusk, I would be there at Syntagma Square with all the others, in front of the Parliament, in order to demonstrate my disapproval of a policy of crisis which only intensifies the crisis.’
While most of the European media where quick to celebrate with reserved optimism the recent debt cut agreement in Brussels for Greece the reporters of the German newspaper quickly realized that this action was once again something too little done too late.

‘Most of all, it is one and a half years too late. If at that time debts had been cut in half, today’s deficit would be below 100 per cent of economic strength. The way it is now, however, access to the capital market will remain blocked for Greece in the foreseeable future. A further complication is that about one third of the debt instruments is owned by the Greeks themselves, 74 billion Euros belong to their banks and thus their savers, 26 billion Euros belong to their social funds and thus their pensioners. They have become palpably poorer overnight.’

The newspaper’s report makes an interesting link to the treatment given to Greece today with the treatment the US representative Jeffrey Sachs, known since then as Dr Shock, and his Chicago Boys tested in Boris Yelzin’s Russia: ‘Hasty deregulation, the churning out of privatizations and social cutbacks in the budget. They created the kind of Wild West capitalism which still splits the Russian society into billionaires and have-nots to this day’.

The role of “the modern European Dr Shock“ is to extract money from the economy instead of enabling investments pushing this way a country from recession into depression.

Another interesting link the report from the German newspaper makes is the claim that should Western Germany had treated its ‘brothers and sisters in the GDR like the Greeks are treated now the people there would still drive “Trabant“ cars and wait for bananas. Everything we did do right in the GDR – the debt relief of one hundred per cent for companies, the incentive programs for medium-sized companies which at first did not even exist, the incremental wage increase in order to create purchasing power – we are getting wrong in Greece.’

Well, that is half the truth because it ignores the imperial monetary war that the German government the Bundesbank and Helmut Schlesinger waged in cooperation with global powerful investors like George Soros against the other major European currencies in order to first finance the reconstruction of Eastern Germany and then force the EU into monetary convergence.

Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall is been driven once again by the fascist chariot of a powerful united Germany which has the same imperial goals as before and only the wisdom to use a different set of means and methods to achieve them. Germany has started on a program to dismantle the South and to re-nationalize Europe in a way that would allow them to control it as a hegemon.

Again the sober investigative analysis of the German newspaper was drowned in the sea of shallow, loud, pompous and guided mainstream reports.  These opportunistic and sensationalistic coverage of news and of such major social issues in our times by the media reveal, since the media represent  a mirror of the society, the sickening lunacy of our so called democratic societies where we allow the faceless psychopathic unethical global financial markets decide the future of ours all  and to pass judgment on political decisions of once independent nation-states. One may ask how such powers manage to control so many of the aspects that control our lives. The answer is simple. They do so by making use of a magical revolving door of power by which the same elitist technocratic people interchange powerful positions in key institutions that produce wealth and manufacture belief of consent. The sad thing is that we the populous are stupid enough to believe there is nothing to do to change this.