John's Economic Worldview

By: Doug Wakefield | Thu, Sep 16, 2010
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This is Part I of Doug Wakefield's latest article, John's Economic Worldview. Part I is 9 pages, and Part II and III bring the total to 24 pages. The balance of the article may be viewed at Doug's website in either a pdf or html format -- both of the formats are free.

 


Today, we are faced with a period in world history of unprecedented change. Carl Jung, who worked with Sigmund Freud and is known today for his work in humanistic-existential psychology, believed that man perceived change as "death". Dr. Janice Dorn, who has coached hundreds of professional traders since the mid '90s, stated to me in an interview for my December 2006 newsletter entitled Mindgames, that we avoid change because "it is incredibly difficult to shift paradigms, which of course is the way in which we perceived the world." To perceive change as "death" may appear to be an extreme comment if one is forced to deal with a new job, or take an alternate route to one's destination because of road construction. What if, however, the change requires one to understand that their worldview is being challenged? What if one is told, "the country is going broke, or we can not continue to destroy the earth's environment"? Since these concepts are so far beyond our daily routines, the easiest solution is to avoid the topic altogether.

Leo Apostel, a Belgium philosopher, who wrote Freemasonry: A Philosophical Essay (1985), and was acknowledged for his ideas on atheistic religiosity, listed the following six traits as part of one's worldview, otherwise known as a descriptive model of the world. As you read Apostel's six premises, I believe you will agree that these thoughts are common to all men:

  1. An explanation of the world.
  2. A futurology - an answer to the question, "Where are we headed?"
  3. Values - The answer to the ethical question, "What should we do?"
  4. A methodology - an answer to the question, "How shall we attain our goals?"
  5. An epistemology, or theory of knowledge - "What is true and false?"
  6. An etiology - The building blocks of one's worldview that deal with origins and construction of the world.

In case your eyes are beginning to glaze over, and this sounds like another heady discussion on philosophy, look at the questions above, and consider their relevance to the public, based on the following comments from an article released in March:

"Most American voters believe it's possible the nation's economy could collapse, and majorities don't think elected officials in Washington have ideas for fixing it.

The latest Fox News poll finds that 79 percent of voters think it's possible the economy could collapse, including large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (80 percent).

Just 18 percent think the economy is "so big and strong it could never collapse."

Moreover, 78 percent of voters believe the federal government is "larger and more costly" than it has ever been before, and by nearly three-to-one more voters think the national debt (65 percent) is a greater potential threat to the country's future than terrorism (23 percent)."

Who has a plan for dealing with the economy? [1]

Clearly the statement above forces each of us to ask the questions Apostel posed; "Where are we headed?, How shall we attain our own goals?, What can be done?, and even, What information is true and what information is false?" As long as our standards of living continue to stay somewhat in tact and our government social programs continue to provide what we have grown accustom to receiving, our various worldviews are nothing more than discussions for philosophers paid to discuss such things at our universities or seminaries.

Yet, what are we to do when faced with public information like the article above? Did the financial collapse in 2008 slam the financial life of the atheist as well as the Christian or Muslim? Have we seen those working for government entities lose their jobs like those working in the private sector? When considering the accelerating role of spending at the federal or global level in order to "stimulate" the economic "recovery", does it appear that the majority of political and financial leaders have asked the simple question, "Where are we headed?", or are they, like many of us, believing that the dam just will not break, no matter how much debt is thrown at it?

In the July 2006 issue of The Investor's Mind, I released this interesting story, found in Dr. Jared Diamond's work, Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed:

"Consider a narrow river valley below a high dam, such that if the dam burst, the resulting flood of water would drown people for a considerable distance downstream. When attitude pollsters ask people downstream of the dam how concerned they are about the dam's bursting, it's not surprising that fear of a dam burst is lowest far downstream, and increases among residents increasingly close to the dam. Surprisingly, though, after you get to just a few miles below the dam, where fear of the dam's breaking is found to be the highest, the concern then falls off to zero as you approach closer to the dam! That is, the people living immediately under the dam, the ones most certain to be drowned in a dam burst, profess unconcern. That's because of psychological denial: the only way of preserving one's sanity while looking up every day at the dam is to deny the possibility that it could burst.

If something that you perceive arouses in you a painful emotion, you may subconsciously suppress or deny your perception in order to avoid the unbearable pain, even though the practical results of ignoring your perception may prove ultimately disastrous. The emotions most often responsible are terror, anxiety, and grief." [2]


Don't Worry, Be Happy

Never in world history, have our daily lives been so dependent on the lives of others around the world. The oil used to manufacture the gas I placed in my car this week has most likely come from the Middle East, Nigeria, or Venezuela. When fruit is purchased from my local grocer, I find items from Columbia and Chile. When it necessary to pick up a few items for home maintenance, I see that the products were made in Indonesia, China, and India. When reflecting on my daily life over the last year, I have helped a family friend with his estate, talked with one of my son's former Special Ed teachers, and been assisted by a nurse in the hospital. The friend grew up in Mexico, the teacher in India, and the nurse in Jordan. Clearly, the world of "Leave it to Beaver" is not reflective of my world in 2010.

Each of these various nations espouse different religions, each of them have different cultures, each have learned history through the country in which they grew up, and yet all are connected financially and socially more than anytime in history.

A few years ago, I talked with a professor who had taught eschatology, known as the study of end times, at a major American seminary. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost was 91 at the time, and had traveled to many parts of the world during his more than six decades of teaching. One of the nuggets I gleaned from this seasoned man, was that he had found, no matter what corner of the world he had visited, most individuals desired three things; peace on their corner of the earth, good health, and a stable financial life. Ask around. See how many people you find searching for these same three items. My own anecdotal evidence has found this to be consistent across cultural and religious lines.

Yet, even with the majority of people around the globe, seeking the same end, the difference in how those ends are attained have, and will continue to create great clashes when discussing these ideas at the worldview level. Rather than write my own opinion, which frankly by itself has little value, I would like to share with you what I have learned from studying modern history, as well as the decline of two empires - ones that existed long before the term "nationality" came into existence. Rather than approaching these topics strictly from the lens of philosophy or religion, I will examine them through the area in which I have focused for the last seven years, how they relate to money.


The Most Influential Religion

The evidence appears to be very compelling, that the three leading worldviews in existence today, are Humanist, Islamic, and Judeo-Christian. While we recognize the last two as tied to religions, most do not consider the humanist view as a religion, but solely a philosophy. And yet, the Humanist Manifesto I, which was released in 1933, at the tale end of the greatest stock market collapse in American history, contains these words:

While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility, which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following.

If one considers these tenets of Humanism, as stated in the Humanist Manifesto I, it makes it even clearer that the original signers of this document believed their worldview to be a religious one:

Tenet One: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

Tenet Five: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values...Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method.

Tenet Eight: Religious Humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man's life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now. This is the explanation of the humanist's social passion.

Tenet Thirteen: Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life.

If you wish to read an entire copy of the Humanist Manifesto I, you can find one at the American Humanist Association.

The April 2007 issue of The Investor's Mind: The Crisis of Money and Politics, quoted these tenets, found in the Humanist Manifesto II. Once again, the entire document can also be found at the American Humanist Association.

WORLD COMMUNITY

TWELFTH: We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty

and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon transnational federal government.

HUMANITY AS A WHOLE

IN CLOSING: The world cannot wait for a reconciliation of competing political or economic systems to solve its problems. These are the times for men and women of goodwill to further the building of a peaceful and prosperous world. We urge that parochial loyalties and inflexible moral and religious ideologies be transcended. [Italics mine]

One can see from the Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism, a continuation of the theme to "transcend the limits of national sovereignty", thus expanding the role of government in the lives of individuals worldwide.

THE NEED FOR NEW PLANETARY INSTITUTIONS:

The urgent question in the twenty-first century is whether humankind can develop global institutions to address these problems. Many of the best remedies are those adopted on the local, national, and regional level by voluntary, private, and public efforts. One strategy is to seek solutions through free-market initiatives; another is to use international voluntary foundations and organizations for educational and social development. We believe, however, that there remains a need to develop new global institutions that will deal with the problems directly and will focus on the needs of humanity as a whole. These include the call for a bicameral legislature in the United Nations, with a World Parliament elected by the people, an income tax to help the underdeveloped countries, the end of the veto in the Security Council, an environmental agency, and a world court with powers of enforcement.

No matter what religious views one holds personally, it should be clear to anyone reading these public documents, and examining social and political history since the Great Depression, that humanism is the leading worldview in the West when it comes to answering the question, "Where are we headed". When we look at trade governed by the World Trade Organization, laws governed by the International Court of Justice, politicians participating in decisions for the globe through the United Nations, and all of them depending on an ever larger amount of debt on a global basis, is there any doubt that if size and scope of control and influence on the lives of people is any measure of "success" that humanism, based on the three Humanist Manifesto documents, have achieved the widest reach on modern society of any religion or worldview? None of this could have been accomplished in modern history without first asking the simple question, "How shall we attain our goals?"


Money - How We Achieve Our Goals

How many individuals, whether Chinese, British, India or American have even heard of an international currency unit known as the Special Drawing Rights(SDR), whose history and oversight today comes through the International Monetary Fund, headquartered in Washington? How many individuals understand that through a nation's central bank, this currency unit is already being bought and sold, and that the SDR is used to set the interest rate charged to nations who borrow from the IMF, as well as the payments to reduce the loan? How many individuals understand that this currency, which stood at 21.4 billion units for 30 years, was expanded more than eightfold in August 2009, and was used to back an emergency lending fund that went from $50 billion to $550 billion in April of this year?

When one understands that one of the most famous names in economics, John Maynard Keynes, proposed the idea of a world currency unit in 1944, known as the bancor, and that the Special Drawing Rights was established in 1969 ( just two years before the United States removed it's currency from the gold-exchange standard), I don't think we find it difficult to understand why Zhou Xiaochuan, Ben Bernanke's counterparty at the People's Bank of China, announced that Keynes' bancor approach was farsighted, and that the IMF's SDR be adopted as an international currency unit. Is it really "random chance" that explains why the largest communist nation today, through their annual report, Yellow Book of Global Socialism, would make the following statement before the crisis unfolded in the fall of 2008?

"Economic globalization and the new high-tech revolution can only create even better conditions and a foundation in society that will accelerate the pace of a different kind of globalization superseding the capitalist system. Thereby enabling the ideology of socialism, its theories, movements, and system to step out of the shadows on a global scale and upsurge, facilitating this historical process of capitalism being replaced with a higher-level social form... We deeply understand that Socialism is so far the most profound social reform in human history. This final replacement with another type of globalization cannot be accomplished in a single stroke. Struggle - failure - renewed struggle; climax - ebb- and climax, this is a necessary process for the globalization of Socialism to replace that of capitalism." [3]

It would appear that whether we look back at the 20th century or look forward into the 21st century, when asked the worldview question, 'How shall we attain our goals?", the answer within our modern society remains the same; through financial power. Should any of us be surprised? Don't the lessons learned of empires throughout history show us that a concentration of financial power in the hands of a few give those few the ability to control the decisions of nations and kings?

If you consider your worldview as humanist or secularist, this is your personal right, and freedom of religion is an expression the West holds dear, as do I. However, when a worldview moves from a philosophy, to a religion, to embracing a larger and ever expanding role of government on a global basis, all backed by an ever increasing concentration of monetary authority through global institutions like the IMF or the Bank of International Settlements Group of Ten, or the G7 (a group started just three years after the Humanist Manifesto II was released) then I view the state as a threat to my freedoms, not a resource to protect them. If we as individuals are ever going to see this world turn from it's current painful juncture, we must first admit that we have been DUPED into the religious belief that DEBT, centrally controlled by a few, is what we need.

Does this sound like we are moving closer to peace, good health, and financial stability in our corner of the earth, or further away? Does this New World Order sound more like an old world empire?

OK, let's take a breath. If you have made it to this point, you are most likely part of a small group of individuals who has an interest in understanding history, especially as it relates to money and politics. Because of the gravity of this material to our current way of life, you may wish to take a mental break. I would suggest having something soothing to drink, but based on the material presented to this point, I am not sure that is such a wise idea. When you feel ready to continue, let me encourage you to return for the remaining material.

 

Sources:
[1] FOX News Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse, March 23, 2010
[2] Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004), Dr. Jared Diamond, pages 435 & 436
[3] The Investor's Mind, China: The Next Empire (June 2009), Doug Wakefield w/ Ben Hill, page 26

 


If you wish to complete the entire article (including Parts II and III), you may download it for free in either an html or pdf format from the Best Minds Inc homepage. Just scroll down the homepage until you see Recent Updates

 


 

Doug Wakefield

Author: Doug Wakefield

Doug Wakefield,
President
Best Minds Inc., A Registered Investment Advisor

Best Minds, Inc is a registered investment advisor that looks to the best minds in the world of finance and economics to seek a direction for our clients. To be a true advocate to our clients, we have found it necessary to go well beyond the norms in financial planning today. We are avid readers. In our study of the markets, we research general history, financial and economic history, fundamental and technical analysis, and mass and individual psychology.

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