I'm not sure which I find more distasteful: the mindless corruption of the dominant socio-economic paradigm that drinks the blood of war to feed its supremacy and energy addiction or the post-modern counter-culture movements which predictably and futilely enter into utopian impulses engaging the utilities of the very systems they revile. And my generalized contempt is predicated on a simple observation that seems to be neglected in the inertia of conformity as much as it's unconsidered by those who advocate for change. Namely, the foundation of a system determines what can be built upon it and if you don't consider the foundation, you cannot credibly advocate for anything other than façade alterations.
In its present understanding, our economic system is inextricably an agency of war. And by this, I don't mean low-grade animosity with occasional flare-ups. I mean good old fashion murder, rape, pillage and plunder. As far back as our revisionist modern histories take us, the utility of exchange for commerce has been predicated upon imperial conquest pure and simple. And conquest - the indenture and enslavement of land and peoples - has never been done without the shedding of blood. From the point of the spear to the white phosphorus hell fire chemical atrocities in Palestine today, we do not have a social narrative devoid of sociopathic foundations. Today's Christian church doesn't exist but for the Edict of Milan and the 325 Council of Nicea paid for, and built upon the solidus - a gold coin minted by the converted emperor to control inflation across the empire. Take away the coin of the realm and we'd still be celebrating Celtic and Norse feasts. Faith didn't win - the compensated sword did. We don't have bank notes or reserve banks but for the conflict justified as the purge of the infidels (both sides called each other that despite sharing the same God). Land, life, and limb were sacrificed upon the altar of war consecrated by the forced tithe of the faithful - in both commodity and currency. And while one can reasonably argue that the Japanese and Chinese feudal trade societies were not as persistently violent on a macro scale, the violent suppression endemic within social hierarchy had every bit of tyranny as did their European counterparts.
Broken promises, hollow treaties, and violent extermination and dislocation are etched into the fabric of the great "experiment" known as the United States and Canada. And, as if our Founders' tyranny wasn't sufficient, now that we know that the appalling lands that we used to extinguish the cultures who once stewarded the forests and plains are laden with gas and oil, we suddenly now covet the very cursed land to which we condemned these communities and use monetary slight of hand to rob the dispossessed with reckless abandon.
Recently, several groups have asserted monetary sovereignty based on treaty obligations - many times using International Bills of Exchange or IBOEs - as an alleged basis for alternative monetary power. Claiming compensation for things as varied as energy and mineral rights to one of the more obscure - compensation for keepers of British Crown lighthouses - those who have been marginalized now seek redress calling for accountability from and recognition by the very powers that enslaved and murdered them. And countless "alternative" society impulses from the Pacific to Atlantic find themselves lured to contemplate their capacity to become powerful through their enlightened use of these artifacts of war crimes.
Just to be clear - the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. - never intended to keep promises made to the stewards of the lands they stole anymore than the Catholic Church intended to "save" those cultures who happened to live on gold and silver mines. The justification for murderous theft is no different today than it was 600 years ago and we still use the coin of the realm to seduce and deprive those who steward what our current system cannot otherwise afford. An IBOE today is worth the same as the treaty that was first broken at its duplicitous construction. Expecting accountability from treachery is a fool's errand.
Thoughtful construction of an economic system necessitates a considered discipline that accompanies few social transformation endeavors throughout human history. There are a few general observations that I've made that may be worth contemplation if we really want to see a More Perfect Union.
1. Stewards of commodities have been - throughout the whole of modern history - enslaved and impoverished. Any system that seeks to align humanity with economics must integrate the world of the steward with the world of the consumer such that anonymity of supply chains is explicitly confronted and extinguished. "Value add" must be transcended by "Values Persisted" in which the wisdom of the land, its peoples, and their values must be explicitly communicated to all subsequent users of commodities.
2. Consumption to extinction must be transcended to embrace utilitarian engagement in which our systems don't cul-de-sac in linear supply chains but persist in respiratory pulses. Is the CO2 you exhale more or less important than the O2 you inhale? The question is answered by whether you're a tree or a person. And really the question is answered in the recognition that neither photosynthesis nor phosphorylation can claim preeminence over each other. Both are woven into a delicate dance of perpetual, generative, motion.
3. Promissories are only as relevant as the knowledge of the counter-parties of each other. The average person has no more knowledge of the birth, persistence, or death of currency than they understand quantum physics. While it is used with profligate abandon, it is not comprehended. A meaningful economic transformation would involve making and keeping productivity-linked promises where bills of exchange would be for knowable and known goods and services provided by persons of repute and confidence.
4. Wealth would be defined by the capacity to access the flow of value across networks rather than the capacity to store and horde.
If We The People aspire to a system that works for humanity and not for the selective few, it'll take emancipation from the manacles we place on ourselves forged from the utility of war, tyranny, and imperialist expropriation. If we don't take this first step, we're just conforming to the timeless, futile reflex that has left us precisely where we are.