For Gen X Eyes Only

I am reposting this rather militant article I wrote last year for a local magazine in Los Angeles which has now gone under. Although it was written a while ago, I have to say that I still agree, but now I think that many ‘sleeper agents’ are already awake – watch out multinational corporations!

Printed in Far West Almanac May 2009

To organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence.

Buddhist Economics‘ by E.F. Schumacher in Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.

Clinging to the middle-wayOne of the tactics of the Nazis to keep people thinking they had control in the face of tyranny was to give them a nonsensical choice. When faced with two choices, we have three possible actions. Choose one or the other or none at all.

It is a huge relief that we no longer hear the psychobabble about Generation X that we grew up with – how we are such an apathetic bunch and whatnot. Generation X came to age in a time when the slippery double-talk that underlies every aspect of our society – media, religion, education, health, politics, psychotherapy, food, music – was coming to its peak. Throughout our lives we have intuitively felt that there is something very twisted about the world we have been given.

It has finally become obvious to everyone that the hypocrisy and greed this double-talk attempts to obscure is carrying us quickly towards destruction. The maps our grandparents and parents followed so devotedly are faulty. We have seen George Orwell‘s books Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four play out on our world stage.

You have probably heard of Hassan I Sabbah and his sleeper assassins:

Unable to mount a conventional military army, the Nizari developed a form of asymmetric warfare transforming the act of political assassination into a system of survival and defense against greed, corruption, injustice and foreign domination, they trained highly capable sleeper commandos known as Fedayeen, who would covertly infiltrate enemy positions and remain undercover. -Wikipedia

I submit that Generation X is a generation of sleeper agents who are now in place and are springing into action to the astonishment of all the “experts.” Everyone is hoping we will not realize how much economic power we have. Collectively, Generation X has the most amount of debt for education, medical bills, and credit cards than has yet been seen in our world. We have always been a wild card. Part of the frustration that we have seen in psychoanalysts take on our generation is because they never could figure us out.

I don’t know how many of you have already declared bankruptcy or are just two paychecks away from being out on the street. Obviously it is time to reconsider how our institutions operate. The two authors mentioned above, both spent time in Burma/Myanmar. George Orwell is considered a prophet within Myanmar because of his descriptions of how wrong things can go under a tyrannical regime. E.F. Schumacher, a highly reputed economist, left us with viable alternatives to the massive centralized institutions we are now at war with. He learned these solutions after living in Burma and embodying the Buddhist concept of ‘Right Livelihood.’

Selling Postcards

Take the bill HR 875 as an example of what we are up against. This is a bill allotting $400,000 to establish basically another FDA. What is the definition of insanity again?

Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Another highly centralized administration is not going to solve the problem of salmonella in the peanut butter. Surely that money could be better used in decentralizing our huge agro-businesses and in supporting local solutions. In fact, this is eerily similar to what happened in India when soybean oil displaced traditional mustard oil. Mustard oil was the traditional cooking oil in North India and the soybean industry couldn’t gain a foothold. In 1998 there was a massive adulteration of mustard oil in Delhi. 41 people died. Mustard oil sales were banned, free imports of soybeans were instituted. Shortly after, the sale of unpackaged edible oils was banned, shutting down all local community oil-processors. According to the Health Minister of Delhi such a massive adulteration of the mustard oil industry was not possible without an organized conspiracy and the Rajasthan Oil Industries Association felt that “the invisible hands of the multinationals” (U.S. Soybean Industry and Monsanto) were involved. (See Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply by Vandana Shiva)

I often worry mainstream media will spin the Local movement into another self-righteous fad resulting in more division instead of community. It makes me think of the saying about falling off a horse. We get back on, but lean too far in the other direction and end up falling off again. “Buddhist Economics” is about balance – walking the middle path and finding the point of “enoughness.” One of E.F. Schumacher’s solutions was to keep currency local and community controlled. (Fourth Corner Exchange is a Pacific Coast example.) It is important that the movement back to artisanal living does not get twisted into isolating communities from the successes and struggles other groups are having around the world. Fortunately we have the Open source communities that are doing incredible things to prevent this. Cuba is a thriving example of how to create sustainable cities and Belo Horizonte in Brazil is an incredible example of a city that has made affordable organic food a basic right for everyone.

Nyaung Shwe novices

South America and Asia have been fighting US backed multinationals for decades and there is much we can learn from them. Countries and peoples all over the world need our help, which we can provide with building awareness using social media tools such as facebook and twitter. The AKRockefeller art movement is doing just this and bringing global awareness to the battle the indigenous people of West Papua against the Indonesian military. Burma/Myanmar is another example that needs our support. After twenty or more years of international sanctions and military repression the people are so isolated the regime can do whatever it pleases to them. We need to remain aware of what is going on all over the world and to help spread this awareness.

Us Gen X sleeper agents have a huge amount of power in our hands right now. Many of us are working meaningless, health-robbing jobs just to pay our student loans. There is an online petition to forgive student loans as a more practical economic stimulus than bailing out banks. Insanely high student loans are a debt peonage system and should be illegal. Right now we need to be creating solutions, not feeling suicidal from trying to pay back these debts. A simple coordinated debt re-payment strike would give us a good idea of exactly how much power we have. I suggest we simultaneously refuse to pay our illegal debts for the month of September, 2009 or at the very least threaten to do so. I don’t have solutions to our problems, but I can see what isn’t working. There are many communities that have found solutions and there are many, many ways to get where we want to go. The Ray Kroc cookie cutter days are over.

Masked Chin children

More information about community currency
The E. F. Schumacher Society
Great interactive site about debt:
The Fourth World
Fourth World Journal
Complementary Currency Systems
Living Economies
Practical Action
Transaction Net

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. KingofthePaupers

    “One of E.F. Schumacher’s solutions was to keep currency local and community controlled. (Fourth Corner Exchange is a Pacific Coast example.) ”

    Jct: The great thing about time-based community currencies is that they remain local and community controlled but are usable everywhere else around the world where they value time as money. when the local currency is pegged to the Time Standard of Money (how many dollars/hour child labor) Hours earned locally can be intertraded with other timebanks globally! In 1999, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with an IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours.

    “I suggest we simultaneously refuse to pay our illegal debts for the month of September, 2009 or at the very least threaten to do so.”

    Jct: I suggest converting interest-bearing debt with interest-free debt.
    And if they won’t provide you with a bank to borrow interest-free money to pay off your interest-bearing debt, pay them with an IOU denominated in federal currency and time rather than just stiffing and having them start foreclosure proceedings.
    As Canada’s Bank-Fighter Extraordinaire, I stalled many a bank foreclosure using the strategy in the Parable of the Talents, offering the principal and stiffing for the interest. So after you’ve subtracted any interest you have paid, send them IOUs denominated in the global currency (accept the Time Standard of Money) and see what they do.
    It becomes an argument over whether you have paid them in acceptable currency, not where you paid them at all.

    “There are many communities that have found solutions and there are many, many ways to get where we want to go.

    Jct: There is only one solution to them representing our collateral with their chips for a fee and that is us representing our collateral with our chips for free.
    U.N. Millennium Declaration UNILETS Resolution C6 to governments is for a time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.

    “I don’t have solutions to our problems, but I can see what isn’t working.”

    At least you’re on the right track.
    See my banking systems engineering analysis at

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