6/8/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
As the world continues to hurtle towards a form of financial armageddon, at The Mint, we have become increasingly reflective. Ed Harrision of Credit Writedowns, recently posted regarding the causes and effects of the current financial crisis/recession/depression which much of the western world now finds itself in.
In the essay, Mr. Harrison observes that one of the root causes of the financial crisis is the combining of financial deregulation with desupervision and the decriminalization of financial crimes.
The most notable example of this phenomenon has been the MF Global Bankruptcy. On the surface, it would appear that the firm purposely helped itself to its clients’ segregated funds in order to cover the firms margin calls which it received in those gloomy days in late October of 2011.
In layman’s terms, this is robbery. Yet in the parallel universe of the insane “debt is money” monetary system in which we live, John Corzine, the CEO of MF Global at the time and supposedly the one who is ultimately responsible for the firms actions, is able to freely walk the streets after telling a series of Congressional committees that He had no knowledge of the “transfers” (read: theft) of client’s funds which were illegally used by MF Global in a desperate attempt to stave off the firms imminent collapse in late October of 2011.
We do not wish to further flog Mr. Corzine, or for that matter, Jamie Dimon, who, as the CEO of JPMorgan, served as an accomplice to the theft (for JPM happily took the missing client funds as collateral in the fateful transfer), for their consciences, if indeed they have one, must be flogging them daily without mercy.
We do, however, wish to flog the idea of decriminalization when it comes to the financial industry. Like sending remotely controlled drones into war, the digitalization of the world in financial matters gives the actors involved a false sense that they are operating not in the real world, but in a virtual world where they alone are acting.
How does this false perception of reality play out and, more importantly, differ from what is commonly understood as real life?
In the example of the remote controlled drone, the drone facilitates acts which more resemble murder than self defense, for it is much easier to convince a teenager, who has been raised playing video games where the actions taken on the screen have no real world consequences (save wasting otherwise valuable time), to kill someone if it can be done by giving them a video game control and a sofa from which to guide their armed drone into real world combat over half the world away.
The experience for the teenager on the sofa is similar to that of the video game and, as such, has the effect of removing the real world consequences of having murdered persons who posed them no existential threat. It is as if the distance both dehumanizes the very real interaction which is taking place.
So it is with financial crimes. As persons begin to conduct a great portion of their financial transactions, especially those involving large sums of money, in a virtual world with little or no human contact, it becomes easier for persons who have access to the funds of others to shun their fiduciary duty and use the funds of others for their purposes without their consent.
While the technical medium employed is an electronic transfer, the actions similar to those taken by Mr. Corzine are more accurately described as robbery.
Yet as of today, Mr. Corzine has not been accused of a crime.
The problem is not that crimes such as murder via remote controlled drone and robbery via wire transfer take place, for robbery and murder have been unfortunate parts of the human experience since the dawn of time.
Nor is it a problem that the means to commit these crimes exist and are used as a normal part of life. For remote controlled airplanes and electronic wire transfers may have great benefits.
No, they problem is that the misuse of these mediums has been largely decriminalized. Those who use them to commit crimes can now justify their actions behind a smokescreen of words and those who should be holding these persons accountable appeal to some good greater than Justice that is being served: Security and Financial stability.
However, without Justice, security and financial stability are mere illusions.
What is important is to have a belief in one’s principles which is firm enough so that it is impossible to compromise them, even when holding to them causes one personal injury.
Bettie Mitchell, the founder of Good Samaritan Ministries, recently shared the story of how her father visited her one day, unannounced, when he was 70 years of age. This was unusual because she knew that her mother had not sent him, which had always been the case in the past.
She knew that what he was to say was important, and that it did not come from him, but from the Holy Spirit.
Her father arrived at her house, she let him in. He entered, sat down and told her the following:
“When I was your age, I had all of the spiritual gifts that you have. Then I began to compromise. Never Compromise.”
With that, Bettie’s father got up, and walked out. There was nothing more to be said, the message had been delivered.
There are principles by which one must live their lives which cannot be compromised upon. Put a different way, it is much easier to stand by one’s principles 100% of the time that 95% of the time.
Once one compromises on their principles 5%, or even 1% of the time, they begin to go down a slippery slope. They are constantly searching for the next patch of firm ground upon which to stand as they find themselves caught sliding down an increasingly unstable incline.
How easy it would have been to simply stay on the level path, even if it did take a little longer to get to one’s destination.
Today, while lawmakers, Judges, and central bankers struggle to find their moral compass as they slide further down the slippery slope they have set out on, we challenge each and every one of you, fellow taxpayers, to stay on the path, where it has always been wrong to steal, and it has always been wrong to murder.
For it is this increasingly narrow path that leads to life.
Stay tuned for further sections and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for June 8, 2012
FED Target Rate: 0.16% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25% AWAY WE GO!