Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Government, Banks, Monopoly Privilege and Lack of Accountability

When you talk to people, even the statists in this world, there are many that will agree that there is a huge problem in government when it comes to accountability. The problem stems from the monopoly privilege granted to government agencies. That privilege is the monopoly on legalized force and the claim of legitimacy to use it. Using this claim, agents of the government can more or less do as they want, when they want. Should they be caught doing something considered illegal, they will often claim immunity. While this does not always work, it certainly seems to me that it works a very high percentage of the time. Government agents more often than not get away with their abuses of trust and power.

The monopoly privileges don´t stop at the doorstep of government. There are many other organizations that have secured such privileges. The most egregious of these is the central bank of a nation. In the United States of America, this would be equivalent to the Federal Reserve System. This is quite possibly the most abusive central bank ever. It curried favor with the political elite of this nation way back in the early part of the last century and has since worked to draw all the real wealth of the nation to its owners and undermine the stability of the economy and the nation as it slowly sacrifices the very currency it was entrusted to protect.

So, the question becomes, what can be done to hold these institutions accountable? Obviously, "voting the bums out" has not worked. They count the votes and control the electoral process. No wonder they don't seem to listen to their constituents. Obviously, giving the banks more power and influence over the economy has not worked. They regulate their competition out of business and bail their selves out with money created from nothing. It is up to us to hold these entities accountable. It is up to us to stop relying on the politicians. They aren't going to do what's right, they are going to do what benefits their selves, their families and their friends. It is time we started relying on ourselves.

How can we regain self reliance? I believe there are more ways to do that than one can shake the proverbial stick at. I'm not certain which ways will work and which ways won't, or which ways will work for you and which ways won't, but there are certain things that can be tried. First off, the monopoly needs to be broken. As long as there is a monopoly, those working for the monopoly know they don't have to work that hard to provide good costumer service. They know you have no choice. So, it becomes a matter of having more options to choose from.

Allowing for alternative currencies is one way to hold banks accountable. Of course that takes state cooperation. Legal tender laws would have to be repealed. Personally, I think that legal tender laws should be repealed. As a business, I shouldn't be forced to take some piece of paper in exchange for a product or service if I didn't want to take that particular piece of paper, but if I don't take FRNs (Federal Reserve Notes) in this nation I can be arrested.

The point is, I doubt very much that legal tender laws are going to be repealed anytime soon unless there's a quantum shift in the way people view such laws. Even then, it will be very difficult to get the politicians to do the right thing, especially if they are getting money and power from the very institutions that need to be reigned in. In order to create the quantum shift, regular, everyday people are going to have to get involved. Those who can need to start setting up alternative currency systems and others are going to have to start using such systems.

Once the political and banking classes are left out of the loop, they suddenly sit up and start to take notice. The strange thing is, it really doesn't take much for them to notice. Take the example of the Liberty Dollar. Even though the total amount of liberty dollars confiscated by the government was mere millions, it's growing popularity was enough of a threat to the Federal Reserve monopoly that they felt they needed to put an end to it and send a message to anyone who would try to use precious metals as an alternative to their money. They certainly don't want a growing, thriving underground economy going on when they're not getting a piece of it.

I'm not an advocate of the gold standard, or even a silver or copper standard. I'm not an advocate of government issued paper money either, but any of those things would be better than what we have. At least if the government issued interest free money we wouldn't have a national debt to pay off. At least if we had some sort of standard based on an actual commodity rather than debt we'd have some kind of check on uncontrolled borrowing and run away inflation. The problem with all those systems is that they all maintain a monopoly on currency creation. When there is such a monopoly someone will always learn to play the system, so to speak, they will always find a way to manipulate the system to their benefit and the detriment of most everyone else. There will always be people who will be able to use such monopolies to their own benefit and will remain unaccountable because of their monopoly power.

Another obstacle to holding the banksters accountable is the practice of fractional reserve banking. This practice allows those with the money to create debt that is ten times more, and higher, than the amount of money actually available. It ensures that debt will never be paid off. Think about indebtedness for a second. Is it not akin to slavery? Does it not give people a certain leverage over you? As we have seen recently, the banksters have used it to threaten us with economic ruin if they did not get bailed out and paid off. They are completely unaccountable for their mistakes.

Fractional reserve banking is fraudulent, in my opinion, and obviously so. Threats of economic ruin are little different than threats from the mafia to a small businessman that refuses to pay his protection money. These folks should be held accountable for their fraudulent and extortionist practices. The problem is, the courts are another government monopoly and the government is owned by the banksters and their corporate companions. They are not going to hold themselves accountable. They are not going to prosecute themselves. The best we'll get is a "oops, my bad. Too bad, so sad" and they walk away with all the wealth, power and influence.

Holding government officials and agents accountable might be even more difficult than holding the central bankers accountable. They are granted the privilege of something called immunity. Even though for many it's supposed to be limited immunity in many cases the sky is the limit. For instance, a law enforcement officer who does something wrong might have his department sued successfully, but he won't have to pay one dime to his victim(s) from his pocket. Instead, the tax payers he's supposed to serve are left holding the bag. It's that kind of unaccountability that angers people.

While it might be a little more difficult to break up the monopoly of "legitimate" force the government enjoys than it would be to allow competition in currency, we can at least demand the repeal of immunity laws. No government official or agent of the state should be allowed immunity to wrong doing. I would personally like to see citizen courts set up which adhere to common law and present legal cases vigorously by both defense and prosecution even if the government official or agent refuses to take part. Sometimes, just exposure and shining the light on corruption is enough to shame these people into changing their behavior for the better.

Holding these people and institutions accountable is not going to be an easy endeavor. They have spent decades erecting the systems that protect them. They are not going to give up their power and privilege easily. They have no problem using force and will even resort to murder and assassination if they feel their privileges are threatened, let alone if they think they might end up in prison. It is important to first remove the aura of legitimacy that they emit. Fortunately, this seems to be happening. The obvious injustice and abuse of the bailouts may have been a step too far. People are learning and accepting the corruption. People are standing up and saying no more. Moving forward, the collapse of the facade of legitimacy the privileged elite has built might come sooner and faster than one would imagine so long as we continue to work toward this goal.

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