Invisible Hand Episode 10: Interview with John Poling of the Cascadia Hour Exchange

June 1, 2010
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This episode of The Invisible Hand features my recent interview with
John Poling, one of the progenitors of the Cascadia Hour exchange, an alternative community currency based on human labor.

Also, here are some of the news stories included in this edition of the podcast:

  • Raw Story reports that several mainstream news media outlets, including CBS, the Associated Press, and even the local Times-Picayune have had trouble getting access to the affected areas of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. They said Coast Guard restrictions on boat and plane traffic over “thousands of square miles of the Gulf and a broad swath of Louisiana’s coast” have made coverage of the crisis difficult. In particular, planes carrying photographers are not permitted to fly below 3000 feet, but as a matter of arbitration rather than official policy. These decisions are being made at a Homeland Security command center in Robert, Louisiana staffed not only with Coast Guard and FAA officials, but also with BP contractors. This in addition to the incident reported last week in which a CBS news crew was threatened with arrest for filming a beach by National Guard officers apparently under direct command from British Petroleum. A local photographer for the Times-Picayune is quoted as saying that media access to the area is being “slowly strangled off.”
  • More mainstream media, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg News come to acknowledge that scientists from the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, and the University of South Florida have discovered there are multiple large undersea plumes of oil that stretch for miles in addition to the stream spewing out from what has heretofore been presumed to be the primary leak. These, scientists speculate, may result from separate leaks in the same area of the Gulf of Mexico, although the points of origin for the others have not yet been identified due to the lack of available information.
  • So with a dearth of information comes conspiracy theories about just what “they” may be trying to hide, and why this disaster has been ongoing for so long. Protecttheocean.com charges that BP is using the chemical dispersants because they are trying to cover up the undersea plumes, rather than allow them to rise to the surface where they can be removed manually with a lesser effect on wildlife. And Mike Adams at NaturalNews.com charges that they might not be trying to cap the leak at all right now, but are letting it flow so that they can capture the oil from it and sell it. Adams thinks they intend to do this to “buy more time until they can lower a capture containment device onto the well head that can direct all the outflowing crude oil to BP’s awaiting tanker ships.”
  • The imminent collapse of the Eurozone is still being predicted by many in spite of enormous bailout promises from the European Union and International Monetary Fund approved in May. The Times of London reports that some British economists working for The Centre for Economics and Business Research have urged Greece to leave the Euro and default on its sovereign debt in order to save itself. This would involve a natural devaluing of Greece’s domestic currency, which would obviously be impossible if they remain tied to the Euro. This idea echoes suggestions that have been made by Max Keiser, Ellen Brown, and people on this podcast, including myself, who support the notion of default on fraudulent bank debt not only in Greece, but throughout the globe. The Times suggests that such actions by Greece would be the beginning of a potentially rapid end for the Euro currency as a whole. But economist Doug McWilliams of the CEBR said that a Greek default, and the resultant collapse of the Eurozone, is “virtually inevitable. … The only question is the timing… Spain would probably be forced to follow suit, and probably Portugal and Italy. … Could this be the last weekend of the single currency? Quite possibly, yes.”
  • Last week Václav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, wrote a piece for the Libertarian think tank The CATO Institute entitled “When Will the Euro Zone Collapse?” In it he states the the Euro has failed to bring any increased growth to Europe as promised, pointing out that the economic growth rate in Europe since adopting the Euro in 2001 has been a paltry 1.1%. Yet he predicted that those with vested interests would continue to prop up the Euro, for better or worse, for many years to come.
  • ZeroHedge.com reports that Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs is openly speculating about the IMF’s international unit of currency known as the Special Drawing Right or the SDR , suggesting that it may soon replace the US dollar as the de facto reserve currency of the world. O’Neill recently published a paper in which he stated that “The issue of the ‘international reserve currency’ and the possible role of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) has moved from obscurity to the centre of discussions about the future.” However, he also added that while the dollar will “lose dominance” over the next ten years, it is “far from clear” that its status as reserve currency needs to be replaced. Special Drawing Rights have been issued by the International Monetary Fund since the 1960s for lending purposes, but their use has increased dramatically over the last two years as the IMF has made many billions of dollars worth of loans to bankrupt countries in the form of SDRs. The bailout of Greece, and to a larger extent, Europe as a whole, will also contribute greatly to the total volume of SDRs in existence, perhaps paving the way to a future reserve currency status.

Also included in this edition of the show is an allegorical commentary piece by me, an alternative ending to the story of Dr. Faustus called “Special Drawing Rights and the Bank of Hades.”

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