Invisible Hand Episode 15: Corporate Frankenstein Unveiled

July 4, 2010
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This episode of The Invisible Hand features a special presentation of my essay, “Corporate Frankenstein.”

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

  • A United Nations report has called for an end to the dollar as the international reserve currency. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs concluded that “The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is requisite for a stable reserve currency.” They argued that countries that have been holding large volumes of US dollar reserves, such as China and Japan, are suffering from undervalued domestic currencies as a result, and therefore have much less buying power to import foreign goods. The report predictably recommended a switch to a global reserve currency controlled by the International Monetary Fund, known as the SDR, the Special Drawing Right.

    As CNN explained in their report on the story, under the proposed system, nations would “accumulate the right to claim foreign currencies … rather than the currencies themselves.” The SDR would be backed by a basket of currencies, and the value set by the IMF, which would have sole discretion over how that value is adjusted over time. So not only could they adapt the value of the SDR to accommodate changes in the values of the member currencies, but conceivably, the IMF could also inversely set the value of those currencies through these adjustments. The UN report also expressed concern that the world’s aging population needed to be supported with “sustainable” government pension programs.

  • Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio has called for raising the official retirement age in the US from 65 to 70. This, he said, would make social security more “solvent” because, of course, the government would be paying out much less in benefits. However, the people who have been paying into Social Security throughout their working years did so with the understanding that they would receive those benefits at age 65, not five years later. But it is easier to pretend that you haven’t broken the social contract, and aren’t stealing entitlements that people already paid for, if you just change the rules to substantially reduce the number of people who receive those benefits, and the number of years in which they get to enjoy them.

    Boehner says this is necessary because, “We’re all living a lot longer than anyone expected.” However, in 2008, a Harvard University study concluded the opposite, showing that life expectancy in the US had declined by about 1.3 years on average since 1980 due to lowered quality of life, and that we are the only industrialized nation to exhibit such a trend. Worse, in some areas of the country, mainly in the South, average lifespan declined in the same time period by 11 years for men, and 7.5 years for women. It is likely that these people will never reach age 70, and that will save the federal government lots of money.

  • The so-called Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was approved by the US Congress on Thursday. Not included was Ron Paul’s proposal to audit the Federal Reserve, which had at one point been part of the bill, but was later removed. The Republicans had made a motion to recommit this provision, but that had failed earlier in the week by a vote of 220 to 198. This included 114 Democrats who had originally cosponsored the Fed audit, but switched their votes at the last minute. Below, Ron Paul explains what happened.

To learn more about alchemy and economics, buy the book Money Grows on the Tree of Knowledge, by Tracy R. Twyman:

This book is printed in an exclusive limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies autographed by the author, and comes with a DVD with the first 26 episodes of Tracy R. Twyman’s notorious podcast about esoteric economics and psycho-politics, The Invisible Hand, compiled in a DVD in mp3 format. SHIPPING IS FREE TO THE US AND CANADA, $7 to all other countries. BUY IT HERE.

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