NATURE: Abrupt and widespread discontinuities exist in the fossil record of fauna and are considered evidence of widespread mass extinction of species. These low frequency events have been attributed to fluctuations in sea level, reversals of the geomagnetic fields (exposing the earth’s surface to lethal radiation), impacts of the earth by very large meteors (putting tons of dust into the atmosphere cutting off photosynthesis) and supernovae (causing catastrophic but temporary climate changes). There are also a range of potential man-made ecocatastrophes, such as triggering an earthquake with a an underground nuclear explosion. In addition, there are other more fantastic possibilities. The sun will expand into a red star engulfing Mercury and Venus and melting lead on the Earth. The moon can fall to earth, a comet, a swarm of meteorites or a black hole could collide with the earth. The earth will eventually loose its atmosphere. A life form might evolve destroying all of humankind.
This is the source material for the United Nations Agenda 2030 – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The carrying out of the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the partnership formed between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum known as “The Great Reset”…
Since the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, monetary, regulatory and fiscal policies have deepened the interconnections between the balance sheets of the central bank, the commercial banks and the government. Quantitative easing (QE), in which central banks buy long-term government bonds (to lower long-term interest rates), has created a rapid escalation in commercial bank reserve balances with the central bank. In addition, liquidity rules introduced after the global financial crisis have required commercial banks to increase their liquid asset holdings, including both reserve balances with the central bank and government securities (see Chadha et al. 2021a).
Threat to central bank independence These developments threaten central bank independence and budgetary sustainability. Monetary policy now has large fiscal implications. When, for example, central banks begin to tighten monetary policy and raise rates (or when international long-term interest rates increase), there will be substantive implications for fiscal sustainability (Allen 2021 and Landau 2020). In the UK, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR 2021a) has underlined that even a modest rise in Bank rate with parallel moves along the yield curve might make it harder to stabilise the government debt-to-GDP ratio. In the United Kingdom, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility has carried out such an examination (2021b), and has identified plausible scenarios in which the public finances become unsustainable.
In this environment, there is a risk of central banks being put under pressure to keep interest rates low to manage government debt service costs. In other words, there is an unusually serious threat to central bank independence. Even the appearance that independence has been compromised would be dangerous. And because of the inter-connections among policy instruments, the transition to higher interest rates may be especially difficult. Achieving the transition while maintaining the independence of the central bank is crucial.
Reducing the interdependence between central banks and Treasuries The central bank and the Treasury should consider how adjustments in their respective balance sheets could reduce the risk that fiscal considerations might inhibit a future tightening of monetary policy. Central banks may not be able to sell their large holdings of government bonds as quickly as they bought them, or as quickly as they might want to, for fear of damaging the structure of bond markets. The risk of disruption is more serious for long-dated than short-dated bonds, because long-dated markets are typically less liquid.
We argue that, once we enter the exit phase, these sales would be better managed by the Ministries of Finance, in the UK this means H M Treasury. It is the Treasury, not the central bank, that is responsible for the domestic policies which affect bond markets – that is, the medium-term fiscal framework and the sequence of current and expected government budget decisions. Moreover, it is responsible for the programme of bond sales that finance budget deficits and the redemption of maturing debt.
We propose limiting even the appearance of conflicts between the Treasury and the central bank when macroeconomic policies have to tighten. We do not discuss changing the monetary-fiscal policy mix. But our proposals would clear the decks for a future policy tightening by providing the central bank with securities that would be easier to sell. That would make it easier to conduct monetary policy, and it would mean that monetary policy actions were less consequential for fiscal policy. The roles of monetary and fiscal policy would be disentangled, so that each could be managed separately in pursuit of its own objective (analogous to the analysis of Mundell 1962).
The central bank balance sheet Central bank assets We propose that the central bank and the Treasury make the asset side of the central bank’s balance sheet more liquid by conducting a swap of securities with the Treasury. The central bank would exchange with the Treasury all or part of its portfolio of long-term government bonds acquired under QE for a newly created portfolio of shorter maturity bonds (short-term bills or short-medium term bonds). This would reduce present huge maturity mismatch (long-term assets with very short-term liabilities) on the central bank’s balance sheet.
The transaction would be wholly within the public sector, so that the consolidated balance sheet position of the public sector vis-à-vis the outside world would not change. The central bank would continue to roll over its holdings of government debt and banks’ reserve balances would remain unaltered. Hence the QE monetary stimulus would remain in effect until macroeconomic conditions dictated otherwise.
Our proposal involves the transfer of interest rate risk from the central bank to the Treasury. That would make no real difference in the U.K. case because the Treasury has indemnified the Bank of England against losses on bond purchases under its QE measures, and has already received the benefit of profits. Thus far, the programme has been very profitable for the Treasury, but it is very risky. The UK’s Asset Purchase Facility, the account in which the bonds are held, has so far yielded £112 billion to the Treasury. Paying the banks for the reserves created by QE has so far proved to be much cheaper than paying bond holders. The reverse would however apply if and when interest rates rose above the levels implied by current bond yields.
If the proposed transaction were not done, and bond yields rose more sharply than current bond market prices suggest, how might politicians and the public react to the losses that would be recorded by central banks such as the Bank of England? One can imagine accusations about the central bank being bailed out by the government and accompanying damage to central bank credibility. Moreover, the terms of the indemnity have not been published, for reasons that are not clear (House of Lords 2021).
The macroeconomic logic should be that sales will be larger when monetary restraint is required and slower when the economy weakens. If used in this manner, quantitative tightening – the opposite of quantitative easing – could become a useful monetary policy tool.
This proposal would in no way impair the independence of the central bank. It would not limit its ability to decide on operations in government bond markets if needed for monetary policy purposes. Such operations used in an expansionary direction were effective in 2009-2012. Long-term interest rates were reduced by QE, with significant macroeconomic and financial stability benefits at a difficult time (Gagnon 2016, Turner 2021). More recently, the prompt and substantial response of monetary policy to the coronavirus pandemic was a vital complement to expansionary fiscal policy in limiting output and employment losses (Chadha et al. 2021a, 2021b). But it would be impossible for central banks to sell government bonds of similarly long average maturity at a similar pace when restrictive monetary policy was required. If the maturity of the central bank’s bond portfolio were to be shortened, as we have suggested, the central bank would have more flexibility in tightening policy. If it wanted to sell bonds to tighten policy, it would transfer bonds from its portfolio to the Treasury in exchange for Treasury bills, and ask the Treasury to sell them in the market over a certain period. The central bank could choose whether to retain the Treasury bills, rolling them over on maturity, or allow them to run off (or sell them) and have the commercial banks’ reserve balances fall back in parallel.
Central bank liabilities Most central bank liabilities are the assets of private financial institutions. The main central bank liability created by QE has been bank reserves – very short-term deposits of commercial banks which have since 2009 been remunerated at Bank Rate. Currently reserves at the Bank of England are about £800 billion (36% of GDP), and are still rising. The interest-paying liabilities of the Fed are about $4.5 trillion (20% of GDP). As already noted, such large reserves have made central bank payments to banks more sensitive to changes in the policy rate.
Rather than ending or curtailing the payment of interest on reserves, we would prefer to convert some proportion of banks’ reserves into shorter maturity government bonds (Allen 2021). The conversion would have to be compulsory, since an auction of a very large amount of bonds would certainly be undersubscribed. Such a measure could be made more palatable for the banks by exempting short duration government bonds from the leverage ratio. How much to convert would depend on an assessment of the structural demand for reserves, which has greatly increased since the global financial crisis. At current yields, the interest cost to the government would be low. This policy would transfer some interest rate risk to the banks. Regulatory stress tests on banks for a sharp rise in bond yields would be needed.
The conversion would replace a bank asset of zero maturity with assets of, say, 2-year average maturity (McCauley 2021 makes a similar proposal). The banks would therefore have to sell or hedge some bonds if they wanted to keep the duration of their interest rate exposures constant. Yields on government bonds would rise. A modest first step could test the size of such an impact.
After the operation had been conducted, the maturity structure of government debt held in the market, and hence the interest rate risk exposure of the government, might not be what the Treasury wanted. It would be open to the Treasury to adjust the maturity structure over time as it saw fit.
Conclusion Government debt/GDP ratios have risen sharply. Major central banks maintain substantial purchases of government bonds. Higher interest rates will inevitably have large effects on the balance sheets of the central bank, the government and the commercial banks. There is a strong case for considering balance sheet adjustment now when interest rates are still low. This is why the current debate on this issue is important. In order to protect the independence of the central bank there is a case for alternative arrangements which better clarify the separation between monetary policy and fiscal policy. Cautious but early action is the order of the day.
References Allen, W A (2021), “Managing the fiscal risk of higher interest rates”, NIESR Policy Paper 25, 26 March.
Blinder, A S (2010), “Quantitative Easing: Entrance and Exit Strategies”, Federal Reserve bank of St Louis, Review, November/December.
Allen, W, J Chadha and P Turner (2021), “Commentary: Quantitative Tightening: protecting monetary policy from fiscal encroachment”, National Institute Economic Review 257: 1-8.
Chadha, J S, L Corrado, J Meaning, and T Schuler, (2021a) “Bank reserves and broad money in the global financial crisis: a quantitative evaluation”, ECB Working paper No. 2463.
Chadha, J S, L Corrado, J Meaning and T Schuler (2021b). “Monetary and fiscal complementarity in the COVID-19 pandemic”, Covid Economics 81, June.
Dale, S (2011), “QE – One Year on”, in J S Chadha and S Holly (eds), Interest Rates, Prices and Liquidity Lessons from the Financial Crisis, pp. 222 – 232
Gagnon, J E (2016), “Quantitative Easing: an under-appreciated success”, Petersen Institute for International Economics Policy Brief PB16-4.
House of Lords (2021), Quantitative easing: a dangerous addiction?, Economic Affairs Committee 1st Report of Session 2021–22.
Landau, J-P (2020), “Money and debt: paying for the crisis”, VoxEU.org, 23 June.
McCauley, R (2021), “Unstuffing banks with Fed deposits: Why and how”, VoxEU.org, 30 March.
Mundell, R (1962), “The appropriate use of monetary and fiscal policy under fixed exchange rates” International Monetary Fund Staff Papers 10, pp. 70-77
Office for Budget Responsibility (2021a), Economic and fiscal outlook – March 2021.
Office for Budget Responsibility (2021b), Fiscal Risks Report, July.
Turner, P (2021a), “A new monetary policy revolution” NIESR Occasional Paper no 60. February.
The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team helped to push the public towards accepting the COVID narrative, restrictions and lockdowns. It is now working on ‘nudging’ people towards further possible restrictions or at least big changes in their behaviour in the name of ‘climate emergency’. From frequent news stories and advertisements to soap opera storylines and government announcements, the message about impending climate catastrophe is almost relentless.
Part of the messaging includes blaming the public’s consumption habits for a perceived ‘climate emergency’. At the same time, young people are being told that we only have a decade or so (depending on who is saying it) to ‘save the planet’.
Setting the agenda are powerful corporations that helped degrade much of the environment in the first place. But ordinary people, not the multi-billionaires pushing this agenda, will pay the price for this as living more frugally seems to be part of the programme (‘own nothing and be happy’). Could we at some future point see ‘climate emergency’ lockdowns, not to ‘save the NHS’ but to ‘save the planet’?
A tendency to focus on individual behaviour and not ‘the system’ exists.
But let us not forget this is a system that deliberately sought to eradicate a culture of self-reliance that prevailed among the working class in the 19th century (self-education, recycling products, a culture of thrift, etc) via advertising and a formal school education that ensured conformity and set in motion a lifetime of wage labour and dependency on the products manufactured by an environmentally destructive capitalism.
A system that has its roots in inflicting massive violence across the globe to exert control over land and resources elsewhere.
In his 2018 book ‘The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequalities and its solutions’, Jason Hickel describes the processes involved in Europe’s wealth accumulation over a 150-year period of colonialism that resulted in tens of millions of deaths.
By using other countries’ land, Britain effectively doubled the size of arable land in its control. This made it more practical to then reassign the rural population at home (by stripping people of their means of production) to industrial labour. This too was underpinned by massive violence (burning villages, destroying houses, razing crops).
Hickel argues that none of this was inevitable but was rooted in the fear of being left behind by other countries because of Europe’s relative lack of land resources to produce commodities.
This is worth bearing in mind as we currently witness a fundamental shift in our relationship to the state resulting from authoritarian COVID-related policies and the rapidly emerging corporate-led green agenda. We should never underestimate the ruthlessness involved in the quest for preserving wealth and power and the propensity for wrecking lives and nature to achieve this.
Commodification of nature
Current green agenda ‘solutions’ are based on a notion of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism or private-public partnerships whereby vested interests are accorded greater weight, with governments and public money merely facilitating the priorities of private capital.
A key component of this strategy involves the ‘financialisation of nature’ and the production of new ‘green’ markets to deal with capitalism’s crisis of over accumulation and weak consumer demand caused by decades of neoliberal policies and the declining purchasing power of working people. The banking sector is especially set to make a killing via ‘green profiling’ and ‘green bonds’.
According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), corporations and states will use the financialisation of nature discourse to weaken laws and regulations designed to protect the environment with the aim of facilitating the goals of extractive industries, while allowing mega-infrastructure projects in protected areas and other contested places.
Global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’.
FoE states:“Offsetting schemes allow companies to exceed legally defined limits of destruction at a particular location, or destroy protected habitat, on the promise of compensation elsewhere; and allow banks to finance such destruction on the same premise.”
This agenda could result in the weakening of current environmental protection legislation or its eradication in some regions under the pretext of compensating for the effects elsewhere. How ecoservice ‘assets’ (for example, a forest that performs a service to the ecosystem by acting as a carbon sink) are to be evaluated in a monetary sense is very likely to be done on terms that are highly favourable to the corporations involved, meaning that environmental protection will play second fiddle to corporate and finance sector return-on-investment interests.
As FoE argues, business wants this system to be implemented on its terms, which means the bottom line will be more important than stringent rules that prohibit environmental destruction.
The envisaged commodification of nature will ensure massive profit-seeking opportunities through the opening up of new markets and the creation of fresh investment instruments.
Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall (according to writer Ted Reese, it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s). The system suffers from a rising overaccumulation (surplus) of capital.Reese notes that, although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour continued to become increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation. By late 2019, the world economy was suffocating under a mountain of debt. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.
In the form of COVID ‘relief’, there has been a multi-trillion bailout for capitalism as well as the driving of smaller enterprises to bankruptcy. Or they have being swallowed up by global interests. Either way, the likes of Amazon and other predatory global corporations have been the winners.
New ‘green’ Ponzi trading schemes to offset carbon emissions and commodify ‘ecoservices’ along with electric vehicles and an ‘energy transition’ represent a further restructuring of the capitalist economy, resulting in a shift away from a consumer oriented demand-led system.
It essentially leaves those responsible for environmental degradation at the wheel, imposing their will and their narrative on the rest of us.
Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia supplied more than half of the global palm oil market at an annual expense of some 340,000 hectares of Indonesian countryside. Consider too that Brazil and Indonesia have spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it.
These two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.
India is the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. It imports over two-thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.
Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms.
Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of potential environment-damaging gases. Indonesia emits more of these gases than any country besides China and the US, largely due to the production of palm oil.
The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how the drive to facilitate corporate need and profit trumps any notion of environmental protection or addressing any ‘climate emergency’. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness – and the system of globalised industrial commodity crop agriculture it promotes – fuels much of the destruction we see today.
Even if the mass production of lab-created food, under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and ‘sustainability’, becomes logistically possible (which despite all the hype is not at this stage), it may still need biomass and huge amounts of energy. Whose land will be used to grow these biomass commodities and which food crops will they replace? And will it involve that now-famous Gates’ euphemism ‘land mobility’ (farmers losing their land)?
Microsoft is already mapping Indian farmers’ lands and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).
Is this an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who find themselves ‘land mobile’? This is a major concern among farmers and civil society in India.
Back in 2017, agribusiness giant Monsanto was judged to have engaged in practices that impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Judges at the ‘Monsanto Tribunal’, held in The Hague, concluded that if ecocide were to be formally recognised as a crime in international criminal law, Monsanto could be found guilty.
The tribunal called for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. However, it was also careful to note that an existing set of legal rules serves to protect investors’ rights in the framework of the WTO and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free trade agreements. These investor trade rights provisions undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human rights and the environment and represent a disturbing shift in power.
The tribunal denounced the severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations.
While the Monsanto Tribunal judged that company to be guilty of human rights violations, including crimes against the environment, in a sense we also witnessed global capitalism on trial.
Global conglomerates can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture or co-opt governments and regulatory bodies and to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever influence. As Jason Hickel notes in his book (previously referred to), old-style colonialism may have gone but governments in the Global North and its corporations have found new ways to assert dominance via leveraging aid, market access and ‘philanthropic’ interventions to force lower income countries to do what they want.
The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to an unjust model of globalisation is an example of this and a recipe for further plunder and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.
Brazil and Indonesia have subsidised private corporations to effectively destroy the environment through their practices. Canada and the UK are working with the GMO biotech sector to facilitate its needs. And India is facilitating the destruction of its agrarian base according to World Bank directives for the benefit of the likes of Corteva and Cargill.
The TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was key to a new era of corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise that in 2013 India’s then Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation’s oil seeds production programme.
Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right – enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote – to exploit and devastate for commercial gain.
Partnership or co-option?
It was noticeable during a debate on food and agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that there was much talk about transforming the food system through partnerships and agreements. Fine-sounding stuff, especially when the role of agroecology and regenerative farming was mentioned.
However, if, for instance, the interests you hope to form partnerships with are coercing countries to eradicate their essential buffer food stocks then bid for such food on the global market with US dollars (as in India) or are lobbying for the enclosure of seeds through patents (as in Africa and elsewhere), then surely this deliberate deepening of dependency should be challenged; otherwise ‘partnership’ really means co-option.
Similarly, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place during September in New York was little more than an enabler of corporate needs. The UNFSS was founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum and was disproportionately influenced by corporate actors.
Those granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health. And this will continue as long as the environmental effects can be ‘offset’ or these practices can be twisted on the basis of them somehow being ‘climate-friendly’.
Critics of the UNFSS offer genuine alternatives to the prevailing food system. In doing so, they also provide genuine solutions to climate-related issues and food injustice based on notions of food sovereignty, localisation and a system of food cultivation deriving from agroecological principles and practices. Something which people who organised the climate summit in Glasgow would do well to bear in mind.
Current greenwashed policies are being sold by tugging at the emotional heartstrings of the public. This green agenda, with its lexicon of ‘sustainability’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘net-zero’ and doom-laden forecasts, is part of a programme that seeks to restructure capitalism, to create new investment markets and instruments and to return the system to viable levels of profitability.
Colin Todhunter, independent writer and analyst specialising in development, food and agriculture based in Europe/India, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
Transhumanism: The Convergence of Things in Motion Right Now
As suggested in the diagram above, there are philosophies, hardware innovations, prior accomplishments in biological science, the transmogrification of society with its “New Normal” and the melding of physical, augmented and virtual realities.
First off, do you guys and girls remember Lawnmower Man?
These factors at play include:
Transhumanist Movement Philosophy from the late 1990s
The incredible breakthrough of Cloning (which has since gone dark in the mainstream)
The recent announcement of the Metaverse; blending of physical, augmented and virtual realities
The Great Reset’s Fourth Industrial Revolution: emphasis on 3-D Printing, Quantum Computers and explicit “Human Enhancement”
Neurological Hardware innovations, for instance, Elon Musk’s Neural Link technology
It is the convergence of this motley crew of happenings that point to a strong possibility of one day, a 140 year old Henry Kissinger, resembling a cross between a squid, a Japanese gothic raver chick and a wicked old Jewish Cantor – in attire crossing glam/goth/a weed Sherpa/and a gay diplomat. This could be a completely stereo-immersive type of material – with a self-replicating algorithmically deployed subversive cyber-chutzpah fuel cell/solar/biodiesel life.
The Transhumanist Declaration
The Transhumanist Declaration was originally crafted in 1998 by an international group of authors: Doug Baily, Anders Sandberg, Gustavo Alves, Max More, Holger Wagner, Natasha Vita-More, Eugene Leitl, Bernie Staring, David Pearce, Bill Fantegrossi, den Otter, Ralf Fletcher, Tom Morrow, Alexander Chislenko, Lee Daniel Crocker, Darren Reynolds, Keith Elis, Thom Quinn, Mikhail Sverdlov, Arjen Kamphuis, Shane Spaulding, and Nick Bostrom. This Transhumanist Declaration has been modified over the years by several authors and organizations. It was adopted by the Humanity+ Board in March, 2009.
Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.
We believe that humanity’s potential is still mostly unrealized. There are possible scenarios that lead to wonderful and exceedingly worthwhile enhanced human conditions.
We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. There are possible realistic scenarios that lead to the loss of most, or even all, of what we hold valuable. Some of these scenarios are drastic, others are subtle. Although all progress is change, not all change is progress.
Research effort needs to be invested into understanding these prospects. We need to carefully deliberate how best to reduce risks and expedite beneficial applications. We also need forums where people can constructively discuss what should be done, and a social order where responsible decisions can be implemented.
Reduction of existential risks, and development of means for the preservation of life and health, the alleviation of grave suffering, and the improvement of human foresight and wisdom should be pursued as urgent priorities, and heavily funded.
Policy making ought to be guided by responsible and inclusive moral vision, taking seriously both opportunities and risks, respecting autonomy and individual rights, and showing solidarity with and concern for the interests and dignity of all people around the globe. We must also consider our moral responsibilities towards generations that will exist in the future.
We advocate the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise.
We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to assist memory, concentration, and mental energy; life extension therapies; reproductive choice technologies; cryonics procedures; and many other possible human modification and enhancement technologies.
Nick Bostrom is one of the most significant voices in the advocacy for Transhumanism becoming a reality. He still writes essays, appears on podcasts, Youtube videos, etc to this very day.
In an essay written in 1998, “WHAT IS TRANSHUMANISM?“ by Nick Bostrom, the author foreshadowing the potential is quite eerie:
Vastly extended life spans. It may prove feasible to use radical gene-therapy and other biological methods to block normal aging processes, and to stimulate rejuvenation and repair mechanisms indefinitely. It is also possible that nothing short of nanotechnology will do the trick. Meanwhile there are unproven and in some cases expensive hormone treatments that seem to have some effect on general vitality in elderly people, although as yet nothing has been shown to be more effective at life-extension than controlled caloric restriction.
The interconnected world. Even in its present form, the Internet has an immense impact on some people’s lives. And its ramifications are just beginning to unfold. This is one area where radical change is quite widely perceived, and where media discussion has been extensive.
Uploading of our consciousness into a virtual reality.If we could scan the synaptic matrix of a human brain and simulate it on a computer then it would be possible for us to migrate from our biological embodiments to a purely digital substrate (given certain philosophical assumptions about the nature of consciousness and personal identity). By making sure we always had back-up copies, we might then enjoy effectively unlimited life-spans. By directing the activation flow in the simulated neural networks, we could engineer totally new types of experience. Uploading, in this sense, would probably require mature nanotechnology. But there are less extreme ways of fusing the human mind with computers. Work is being done today on developing neuro/chip interfaces. The technology is still in its early stages; but it might one day enable us to build neuroprostheses whereby we could “plug in” to cyberspace. Even less speculative are various schemes for immersive virtual reality — for instance, using head-mounted displays that communicate with the brain via our natural sense organs.
What Mr. Bostrom is commenting on here, more than 20 years ago, include:
Use of Nanotechnology
Uploading one’s consciousness to a “virtual reality”
The necessity for an “interconnected world”
Physical, Virtual and Augmented worlds meshed into one (Metaverse vision)
So it was speculated upon – literally in the last millennia – the emergence of these seemingly separate radical ideas for technological advancement – then the convergence of such technologies.
Cloning is a technique scientists use to make exact genetic copies of living things. Genes, cells, tissues, and even whole animals can all be cloned.
Scientists also make clones in the lab. They often clone genes in order to study and better understand them. To clone a gene, researchers take DNA from a living creature and insert it into a carrier like bacteria or yeast. Every time that carrier reproduces, a new copy of the gene is made.
Researchers can use clones in many ways. An embryo made by cloning can be turned into a stem cell factory. Stem cells are an early form of cells that can grow into many different types of cells and tissues. Scientists can turn them into nerve cells to fix a damaged spinal cord or insulin-making cells to treat diabetes.
Right now, our scientists and engineers are creating very advanced synthetic limbs that can be controlled with our thoughts. Our brain connects to our biological arms. We think and our biological arms move. The patient’s brain connects with these new prototype artificial arms and hands too. The patient thinks and the synthetic arms move.
Takeaway: the stem cell factory – as they can be harvested and grown into many types of cells and tissues, there is without doubt that limbs, internal organs and muscle tissue can be grown. And with the modifications made available by gene therapy and also infused nanotechnology – the creation of a super-human, healthy beast may house the mind of Henry Kissinger.
Imagine that, some 20 years from, a Henry Kissinger existing as a product of stem cell applications, quantum computer-capable nanotechnologies and his Zionist, globalist worldview giving a speech to the oligarchs of earth’s needed resources (water, food, energy, land) – giving a speech to the likes of the shadow government – CIA, BlackRock, DARPA, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Lockheed Martin and John Deere – pressing for them to nuke China, Iran, Russia – for the glory of Jerusalem and to usher in the All-Seeing-Eye God from the Kabbalah…(these discussions are already taking place – only Kissinger is a hunched over merchant looking man – not exactly like Magneto. But Magneto he will wish to become and remain.
Metaverse; blending of physical, augmented and virtual realities
Since then, various developments have made mileposts on the way toward a real metaverse, an online virtual world which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication. As the metaverse expands, it will offer a hyper-real alternative world for you to coexist in.
The Metaverse will be a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality and video where users “live” within a digital universe. Supporters of the metaverse envision its users working, playing and staying connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around to the world.
The metaverse promises a joined-up online experience, in which a single avatar can move between spaces – such as an online shop and a lecture theatre. However, many of the individual innovations mentioned in Facebook’s presentation already exist in some forms.
But Zuckerberg and his team are hardly the only tech visionaries with ideas on how the metaverse, which will employ a mix of virtual reality and other technologies, should take shape. And some who’ve been thinking about it for a while have concerns about a new world tied to a social media giant that could get access to even more personal data and is accused of failing to stop the proliferation of dangerous misinformation and other online harms that exacerbate real-world problems.
Think of it as the internet brought to life, or at least rendered in 3D. Zuckerberg has described it as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen. Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.
It also will incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies.
“It’s the next evolution of connectivity where all of those things start to come together in a seamless, doppelganger universe, so you’re living your virtual life the same way you’re living your physical life,” she said.
Tech companies still have to figure out how to connect their online platforms to each other. Making it work will require competing technology platforms to agree on a set of standards, so there aren’t “people in the Facebook metaverse and other people in the Microsoft metaverse,” Petrock said.
CRITICAL TAKEAWAY: At current there is no unifying technology that precedes all other company’s various hardware and software – in terms of creating universal access to a Metaverse that will encompass the entirety of the digital space. In terms of tech companies working to “figure out” uniformity in the method to enter the Metaverse – what this really means is that there will be years of work to make this a reality. The work, will most absolutely call for tech companies, the robust Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung – for instance – these are the companies that will be making acquisitions of tons of the smaller tech companies. Acquisitions that continue with the decimation of competition. Competition is the defining feature of a capitalist economy comprised of open markets. This is another stunt (like the pandemic induced shutdown of the millions of small and medium sized businesses that never reopened. The Metaverse is yet another dimension to the beast of globalization, which has worked to consolidate the wealth, resources and power into the hands of fewer and fewer seemingly every single day.
Sneakers in the Metaverse:
Transhumanism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Now, one of the three main goals of the Great Reset agenda is “to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good…” As the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schwab, explains, the Fourth Industrial Revolution “will lead to a fusion of our physical, digital, and biological identities.”He specifically considers technologies that will change what it means to be human, because they will integrate into the human body and mind in order to overcome (‘transcend’) their limitations. Sound familiar? As Schwab himself admits, these new technologies can also “intrude into the hitherto private space of our minds, reading our thoughts and influencing our behavior…”While these technologies seem like science fiction, they are nearly at our doorstep. In fact, much of the pandemic response effort relies on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as genetic sequencing, vaccine biotechnology (mRNA and vector platforms), and contact tracing (mass surveillance) software. Social distancing measures have also forced people to replace their physical world with a virtual one, including digital versions of school, church, shopping, and even parties. While this has been a terrible loss for most people, this digitalisation of our lives (including COV-id apps and digital currency) is part of the WEF’s vision for our future, and therefore, in their view, quite desirable.
What is transhumanism? In a nutshell, transhumanism is a philosophical movement which promotes the view that the human species should take control of its own evolution through human-enhancement technologies, such as brain implants and nanotechnology that reverses aging. This will then allow humanity to transcend its physical and mental limitations. The term itself was first coined in 1957 by Julian Huxley; the brother of Aldous Huxley, the famous author of the dystopian novel ‘Brave New World’.
The highly influential members of the World Economic Forum have a plan for what should come next. It is called ‘The Great Reset’, and it envisions a truly ‘transhumanist’ future for us all.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual conference where some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world come together for ‘public-private cooperation’. Since mid-2020, the WEF has been promoting its vision for our post-coronavirus future, which they call ‘The Great Reset’. In their view, the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of our old system, and therefore presents a perfect opportunity to ‘reset’ our world and start anew. What is striking about this plan, which the WEF has condensed into a virus-shaped mindmap, is its implicit endorsement of a philosophy called ‘transhumanism’. The term is not used explicitly, but its values and goals can be seen at every level of the plan. Now, according to some, transhumanism is not just a new philosophy, but a new religion that will be the dominant worldview of humanity going forward.
A transhumanist paradise? While there is a big debate about whether transhumanism should be defined as a religion or not, it definitely functions like a religion, in the sense that it provides a framework of meaning for human life that contains many of the goals of classical world religions. For example, most religions promise the goal of immortality, either in this life or after death. Some traditions (like Christianity and Islam) clearly aim for immortality after death (resurrection or heaven). Other traditions (like some forms of Daoism) have aimed for immortality in this life; usually through alchemical potions or self-cultivation, such as yoga and meditation. Transhumanism also aims for immortality, but through technology rather than through supernatural aid or spiritual transformation. Technologies that will be used for this include nanorobots, genetic engineering, and converting our brain activity into a digital form, and then uploading it into a supercomputer that will last forever (if possible). Secondly, most religions seek a state of permanent happiness, either in this life (nirvana in Buddhism) or after death (paradise in Christianity or Islam). Transhumanists think this can instead be achieved by creating ‘happiness drugs’ and brain-chip interfaces that manipulate the brain’s pleasure centres. Thirdly, most religions aspire for human beings to attain a state of divinity. The transhumanist ideal is likewise for humans to become god-like creators who can manipulate the material world at will (through 3D printing and atom-assembling nano-robots), and even to create new forms of life (through synthetic biology).All of this shows that transhumanism is based on the assumption that suffering (such as aging, sickness, and death) is a technical rather than a metaphysical problem, and can therefore be solved with more and better technology.
Neurological Hardware innovations, for instance, Elon Musk’s Neural Link technology
Bill Gates patented technology aimed to harvest living humans for cryptocurrency
Human body activity associated with a task provided to a user may be used in a mining process of a cryptocurrency system. A server may provide a task to a device of a user which is communicatively coupled to the server. A sensor communicatively coupled to or comprised in the device of the user may sense body activity of the user. Body activity data may be generated based on the sensed body activity of the user. The cryptocurrency system communicatively coupled to the device of the user may verify if the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system, and award cryptocurrency to the user whose body activity data is verified.
Blockchain used to commodify human actions?
This video and description is directly from the World Economic Forum YouTube:
Digital currencies built on distributed ledger technologies have emerged as potential gateways to new wealth creation. While still in the early stages of development, the technologies have the potential to transform entire systems, but they also face challenges, including lack of interoperability, security threats, centralization of power and unwillingness to experiment due to recent overhype. Sheila Warren, Head of the Platform for Shaping the Future of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies at the World Economic Forum, explains how the Forum and its partners work to ensure equity, transparency and trust in the governance of distributed ledger technology – and accelerate the necessary changes for this technology to reach its full potential.
Any one of these artist depictions may very well surround us all, VERY VERY SOON!
Rising consumer price inflation is not going away. This, of course, is counter to the “transitory” argument made by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell earlier this year.
Powell’s cohort, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, recently admitted inflation is not transitory. This admission comes with assurances the Fed will properly manage it. We have some reservations.
The effects of rising consumer prices range far and wide. For one, the pinch rising prices put on consumers is extraordinarily disruptive. It acts like a hefty tax…eroding family budgets that are already stretched. In this ongoing staglation, personal income gains lag far behind rising consumer prices.
Industrial materials and consumer goods companies also feel the pinch. They can pass on some rising prices to consumers. They can also absorb through lower profit margins some short term price increases. But there are natural limits to what price increases can be absorbed and passed along.
When input costs, including raw material and labor, push the costs of the final manufactured goods above what they can readily be sold for the business motive breaks down. Halting operations makes the most business sense.
One industry feeling the pinch of rising natural gas prices is the fertilizer business. As we noted several weeks ago, several fertilizer plants in the UK have had to suspend operations because of soaring natural gas prices. Here in the US we’re not aware of any fertilizer producers suspending operations. But fertilizer prices are up, nonetheless.
In fact, the Green Markets North American Fertilizer Price Index recently soared to a record high, thus eclipsing the prior record set in 2008. Sky high fertilizer prices will further raise the cost of food production for farmers.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s global food index, food prices are already at a decade high. Plus, when you factor in the grow season in North America doesn’t begin until late-March, the increased fertilizer input costs, could lead to persistent food inflation well into 2022.
But it’s not just food. Here’s one instructive example of how price inflation discombobulates the economy…
Someone Gets Squeezed
The price of cotton just surged to a 10-year high. Rising cotton prices translate into rising jean prices. Levi Strauss has already raised the price of its jeans, thus passing some of the price inflation to consumers.
Levi Strauss is also realigning its business to account for higher input costs. This includes aggressive negotiation with cotton suppliers and cutting out the middlemen. Here are several details:
“In its earnings call, Levi said it has already negotiated most of its product costs through the first half of next year, at very low-single-digit inflation. For the second half of the year, it expects to see a mid-single digit increase. And Levi said it plans to offset that hike with the pricing actions it’s already been taking.
“Levi has been shifting its business from a predominantly wholesale to a mixed base that has a growing share of direct-to-consumer sales. And with strong consumer demand and tightened inventories, it’s been able to sell more products at full price.”
As noted above, the price of cotton is at a 10-year high. Year to date it’s up 47 percent. If cotton accounts for 20 percent of the cost to make a pair of Levi’s jeans, and the company was able to negotiate product costs at a very low-single-digit inflation, then someone in the supply chain is getting severely squeezed.
How long will it be before whoever that is cries uncle, and reneges on its obligations?
For a cotton supplier, that would presumably be when the input costs – land, fertilizer, labor, and processing – are greater than their contracted cost with Levi.
In this respect, Levi may have a plan to account for higher cotton prices, for now. But will they really get a mid-single digit increase during the second half of 2022 as management anticipates?
How much more price inflation can they pass on to consumers?
Are You Prepared for the Mass Repricing of Goods and Services?
The answers to these and other related questions are being considered by management teams across all industries. The simple fact is when the price of raw materials and labor inflate, it becomes very difficult to plan operations and production. Hedging strategies may help manage for rapid, short-term price spikes, but they cannot ultimately prohibit a long-term repricing of materials.
In short, we believe a long-term repricing of materials, goods, and services, is now underway. Certainly, prices will continue to rise and fall to meet supply and demand dynamics. Yet this will take place in a range that is being repriced higher. It has happened before and will happen again…
In 1960, for example, a gallon of gas cost $0.31 per gallon. Similarly, in 1960 a gallon of milk cost $1.00 per gallon. Currently, the average price of gas and the average price of milk are $3.28 per gallon and $3.68 per gallon, respectively. That’s upwards of a 958 percent increase for gas and 268 percent increase for milk over the last 60 years.
Sure, the price of gas and milk could come down some from today’s prices. However, there’s no way they’ll ever drop back to 1960’s prices. They’ve been repriced higher for good.
Why? Are gas and milk somehow more valuable today than they were 60 years ago?
We surmise these essentials have generally the same utility value they always have. Yet the dollar has been greatly devalued. Moreover, this great devaluation is the consequence of rampant dollar debasement policies executed in tandem between the Fed and Congress.
The recent debt ceiling histrionics in Congress – and the elevation of the debt limit for what we believe is the 79th time since 1960 – are merely another milestone in the great dollar debasement saga.
Remember, price inflation starts with expansion of the money supply. These days the expansion of the money supply is conducted in tandem by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. In short, the Treasury sells new debt to the Federal Reserve, which the Fed buys using credit created out of thin air.
Congress, through its debt ceiling increases, provides the Treasury with an unlimited tab. Congress then spends this limitless money into the economy via spending programs galore. As this new money flows through the economy, prices adjust higher, as the supply of money increases much faster than the supply of goods.
The point is, through policies of mass dollar debasement, we’ve now entered the next stage of the mass repricing of goods and services in the economy. The price of just about everything will adjust upward by several hundred percent – or much, much more – over the next decade.
Pre-pandemic prices are gone forever…
…and your savings, investments, retirement, purchasing power, and the quality of life that you’ve spent a life time planning and working for will be shredded.