Monday, June 19, 2006

Redefining the word "conventional"

It has occurred to me recently that the definition of the word "conventional" has been usurped by the modern social conditioning mechanism that shapes our world views. The word itself, in certain contexts, is Doublespeak... The new meaning of "conventional" is "profitable."

Consider a few terms:
- Conventional Money
- Conventional Medicine
- Conventional Agriculture
- Conventional Energy

Conventional Money
The modern money system can be traced back to London in 1694 with the formation of The Bank of England. This was the world's first central bank--one where the State and the bank exist symbiotically. The State can order the bank to create money at will and the bankers can create money for export at interest to other States, companies, etc. that would be backed by the State. It is important to note that this money is now "fiat money," it has no backing in silver or gold (which, as we shall see, is truly "conventional" money) and is only considered "money" due to Legal Tender Laws which impose criminal penalties on those not accepting the State's currency. Also key to modern money is Fractional Reserve Banking. This practice lets banks hold only a fraction of the money that they are holding for people in reserve. Currently in America, a bank must only physically posses 10% of the currency that it holds for its depositors. This allows them to loan the other 90% out at interest. As you will surely find by reading some of the older posts on my blog, the policies of central banking and fiat currencies lead to massive inflation, the destruction of price stability, and the control of the State by those who control the currency.

Truly conventional money is commodity money--precious metals--gold and silver. Truly conventional money is what people will accept as a medium of exchange when not forced by legal tender laws to accept paper currency. It is more or less immune to artificial inflation--as the exertion of labor is necessary to create the money in the first place. The natural laws of supply and demand act upon both the money supply and the value of money. Under the gold standard, short-term fluctuations in the availability of gold will cause temporary fluctuations in the market, but overall price stability is a given. Of course corruption destroys this system, and other than the Byzantine Empire's several hundred years of price stability under an honest gold standard, there has always been greed and corruption in the money supply. This is unfortunate, but true. Perhaps it's human nature, and perhaps it's because people who seek political power generally have mental imbalances, but I digress...

New money, or fiat money, is debt. It is willed into existence by the central bank and "loaned" to the State in exchange for bonds--which are essentially IOUs. The most common thing that money is willed into existence for is so that the State can fund war without having to levy taxes on the people to cover the full cost. If the people had to pay for the TOTAL costs of war with taxation, they would surely not allow the State to put itself into a perpetual state of war, as most modern nations now are. Still more money is willed into existence by fractional reserve banks issuing credit cards, loans for mortgages, and the like with money that does not exist (remember, they only hold 10% of the money that they hold in reserves). Without the initial debt of the government to will the money into existence in the first place, and without the debt of individuals, fiat money would not exist. If all of the debt in the world was repaid, all of the paper currency in the world would be returned to the central bank. People have been using money for thousands of years. People have been using money in the way that we use it today for maybe a couple hundred years.

I urge you to scan the rest of my blog and to ask Uncle Google to educate yourself on "conventional" money. You will see that it is probably the most dishonest yet pubicly accepted "conventional" practice in the world. I believe this is due to the fact that most people don't understand how the modern money system really works...

"Conventional" Medicine
The foundations of the modern medical system have their roots in the rise of political power of "medical doctors" in the late 17th century in Europe. Prior to the medical profession claiming control and authority over the healing arts, astrologers had been looked at by communities as healers for thousands of years. They often prescribed small amounts of minerals or metals to treat sickness, and their treatments had the same success rates as those of the "medical doctors" who used their political influence to delegitimze the entire profession and practice of astrology. At the time that "medicine" superseded homoeopathy it was not any more effective at actually healing people. The change in the way that people have thought about health and healing was enacted via political and financial power--not due to the effectiveness of the new treatments.

Truly conventional medicine--as it has been practiced for thousands of years--includes herbal and mineral remedies, acupuncture, etc. Today's so-called "conventional" medicine is actually only about 60 or 70 years old. The FDA was formed in 1938 and the widespread use of anti-biotics began in 1944. This is not "conventional" medicine, but "new" medicine. The goal of new medicine is not the eradication of sickness, but rather the ability for corporations to profit from the treatment of sickness. Sickness is required to exist and grow in order for the medical industry to grow. Many truly conventional and actually effective remedies have been delegitimized and suppressed by the FDA because the medical industry cannot profit from them.

"Conventional" Agriculture
The foundation of the modern agriculture system has its roots in the "Green Revolution" of the 1940s and 50s where petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides were put into use worldwide. It is interesting to note that the Rockefeller Foundation was largely responsible for the initial funding to promote and actualize this change. Short-term crop outputs shot way up and farms worldwide began to corporatize and use these new methods of super-crop-production. Human-labor inputs went WAY down per amount of crop produced. However, famine continued, agriculture became heavily energy intensive and dependent upon the fossil fuels which Rockefeller controlled. The end result of new agriculture is that food production is heavily regulated, seeds are patented and withheld from local growers in the 3rd world, soils are leached of nutrients and become barren after several seasons, and large corporations' profits have increased greatly.

Truly conventional agriculture was re-labeled "organic" agriculture, and the USDA set up a new set of loose standards that a growers must meet to stamp "organic" on their food. They also must pay a heavy premium to the USDA for this privilege. Truly conventional agriculture has been practiced sustainably for thousands of years. The downside is a high human-labor input to crop output ratio, and a relatively low (as compared to new methods) ratio of crop yield per acre. The benefits include healthy food that is free from poisonous pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and the power for communities to provide for their own sustenance.

Conventional Energy
"Conventional" energy is basically refined petroleum based energy, and is also a relatively new practice. It is different from the other examples I have presented because it has enabled a whole slew of new inventions and really--a new way of life that all people now accept as "conventional" that is totally dependent upon this new energy. A lot of these inventions are really pretty cool... I love technology as much as the next geek. Without new energy, I wouldn't be able to share these words with you. Without new energy, our lives would be totally different... slower, simpler, maybe a bit more physically demanding... We'd all be working for the sustenance of our own communities and families rather than for the "global marketplace." We wouldn't have iPods and Land Rovers and Laptops and Cellular Phones and Tupperware... But we would be self-sufficient.

Since the rise to prominence of new money, we have seen a vast concentration of wealth, political power, and never-ending war. Since the rise to prominence of new medicine, we have seen the rapid spread of disease and viruses that quickly become resistant to anti-biotics. Since the rise to prominence of new agriculture, we have seen the greatest famine in the history of the world, the corporatization and de-localization of food production. Since the rise to prominence of new energy, we have seen massive amounts of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere, local populations in places like Nigeria have been disenfranchised by big oil companies, people spend more time going back and forth from work to home and less time actually working or being with their families, etc.

Of course without these "new" practices, the tremendous boom in the human population and much of the progress made in the 20th and 21st centuries would not be possible. But I ask--the widening gap between rich and poor, famine, constant warfare, new and more deadly diseases developing their own immunity to the drugs that we invent to fight them--is this really progress? Is this really the world that we want? One based on inequality, worship of material possessions, needless squander of natural and human resources in the name of corporate profits? And perhaps most importantly--do we want a world where the meaning of our words can be stolen from us, turned upside down, and then forced back on us to justify the artificially manufactured problems of society? To make us believe that self-sufficiency is outdated and reliance upon corporations and the State is "conventional"?!?!

Let's not forget some "conventional" wisdom: "Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Anonymous PJ said...

"Many truly conventional and actually effective remedies have been delegitimized and suppressed by the FDA because the medical industry cannot profit from them."

I agree with your basic premise -- that the accumulation of wealth, and thus power, by the relative few has caused a great many evils (my word) throughout the world. Still, the statement I quoted above is very broad. Can you back this up with some examples?

3:41 PM  
Blogger and i said...

colloidal metals, for one. check

vitamin b-17 as a treatment for cancer is another.

both of these seem to be quackery but one must consider who defines what is quackery in the first place? the FDA... in as much as the FDA does protect consumers--it also protects drug companies and legitimizes their products as the only allowable products for treating illness. anything that cannot be patented cannot be an effectively marketed drug. elements cannot be patented. neither can vitamins. therefore both treatments have been deligitimized in the world of "modern medicine." true comparison tests as to which treatments are more effective cannot be performed--as in vivo tests are not allowed on anything that the FDA would not presume to be a "drug." and even when they are allowed, the costs many millions of dollars, pricing "alternative" therapies out of the market. therefore, due to the way the FDA operates, no alternative therapy can ever be objectively tested for efficacy and so it becomes very easy for "conventional" medicine to deligitimize them. this is so by design.

this article published by the FDA is pretty interesting. it would seem to be all rational and good and full of wisdom. but statements like this: "If an alternative practitioner does not want to work with a regular doctor, then he's suspect." reveal their true agenda... "conventional" medicine (which is 60 years old, mind you) is the only acceptable form of medicine and has the final say on what is what. anything else is "quackery." this, of course, is bullshit...

8:36 PM  
Anonymous PJ said...

I read your response to my comment re: your post of 6/19. I'd read your prior posts, but -- unlike you -- this stuff doesn't stay in my head. So thanks for the response. It clarifies the point you were making.

2:07 PM  
Blogger and i said...

This New York Times article sent to me by PJ also helps to illustrate this point. Thanks PJ!

2:28 PM  

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