Early December Newsletter

Here is my latest newsletter which went out to my list yesterday. It has elicited a number of good comments which I have asked people to post here, so watch for them to be added. – t.h.g.

What’s Happening

Yup, still on Koh Phangan, but not for long. Many of you are probably wondering about the political turmoil that has been in the news. The trouble seems to have been confined to Bangkok, a long way from here, where things go on as usual. Anyway, it seems all that was resolved yesterday (Wednesday) with the fall of the government and protestors leaving the airports and government buildings they had occupied for some time. Whether trouble might flare up again seems to depend on what kinds of political changes take place over the next couple weeks and who becomes the new prime minister. One must admire the Thais for their restraint in dealing with that crisis. If it had been the U.S. or Europe, or China, or ____, SWAT teams would have been sent in and lots of blood would have spilt in clearing the place out. After all, profits are more important than people. (Don’t call me cynical, you know it’s true).

We had quite a monsoon season. I was stuck inside my house for three nights and two days because of heavy rains and wind. When the rain stopped the roads were impassable in some spots because of flooding and mud slides. There was a two week stretch with no chance to get to the beach or catch some sun. Over the past week the weather has gradually been improving starting with several days of unsettled weather — lots of wind and clouds — to warmer and clearer weather. Today was the first mostly sunny day in a long time. Maybe that signals an end to this year’s monsoon.

All of that was just as well because I’ve had my nose to the keyboard slaving over the second round edits of my book. My editor at Chelsea Green, Jonathan Teller-Ellsberg, finished his developmental edit of my manuscript and returned it to me with some good suggestions for improvement. I’ve been hammering away at it almost continuously since and I’m feeling good about the results. There’s nothing like the assistance of a professional editor to improve one’s writing.

Recent Publication

Daniel Pinchbeck is the publisher of an online magazine, Reality Sandwich. At his request I provided an article titled, Toward a New Economic Order, which was published a few days ago. You might want to have a look. I’ve been asked to provide some additional articles with specific how-to-do-it advice, which I’ll be preparing over the coming weeks. Much of that material will be drawn from my new book. The title of the book? Oh, it’s to be called The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

With the book task competed I got inspired this afternoon to do some maintenance on my website, ReinventingMoney.com. I had to learn some new tricks to manage it but I’m proud to say the mission has been accomplished. I’ve put up a new “welcome” statement and fixed some links to the Worgl case documents that had been broken.

Information

I recently discovered that Hartley Withers’ classic book, The Meaning of Money, has been republished by Kessinger Publishing, LLC and is available through Amazon.com. They might also have cheaper copies available. My copy of the seventh edition, published in 1947, is a treasured part of my personal library. I strongly recommend that any serious student of money and banking should read this book.

On a more general topic, you might want to watch this 16-minute YouTube video by Stefan Molyneux that will coax you further to “take the red pill” and escape the “matrix.” One blogger calls it “the most dangerous video on the internet.” At the conclusion of this polemic against statism, ideology, and religious establishments, Molyneux tells us that it is reason and courage that will set us free. You can find it embedded in this blog below.

Feeling Deprived

While to cost of living here is pretty cheap, imports, as you might expect, are quite expensive, even more costly than the same items are back home. Olive oil, for example, a staple of my diet and necessary ingredient for both salad dressing and cooking, costs almost double what I pay at home; same for blue cheese. And I haven’t had a glass of wine since I left California, 5 months ago. The cheapest bottle of wine here runs about $10. Oh, how I miss Trader Joe’s. I’d gladly pay five dollars even for a bottle of “two buck chuck,” if I could find it.

Sex and Islamic Suicide Terrorism

One of my German correspondents sent me a link to a site called the SexParty. No, it’s not an erotic site filled with porn. It’s a political site. The tag line is “Politics for a sex-positive future.” It’s an analysis of the link between Sex and Islamic Suicide Terrorism, which, I think is absolutely correct. The repression of sexuality that was foisted upon me as I was growing up in Catholic schools provides the background from which my own present understanding stems. The article argues (I’m paraphrasing) that when testosterone-driven young males (who constitute the vast majority of suicide bombers) are prevented from expressing their natural sexual urges, they become enraged, unbalanced and inclined to fight. You can read the whole one-page article here. As the Hippies were wont to say, “Make love, not war.”

Along similar lines, but not specifically related, here’s a mini-lesson in “compassionate communication.”

The basic NVC approach to communicating has these basic components:

Observation

Feeling

Need

Request

This avoids making judgments or demands. The dialog process is:

Describe the situation,

Describe how it makes you feel,

Let the other person know what you need,

Make a request (but be ready to accept “no.”)

You can find good information on the websites I gave in my last newsletter or do a search on “Non-violent Communication.”

Enough for now.

Tom

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3 responses to “Early December Newsletter

  1. I read that ‘interesting’ article on “Sex and Islamic Suicide Terrorism” but don’t quite agree with the views presented.

    On the contrary Islam actually encourages marriage and sex. In Islam sex among married couple is regarded as an act of worship for which rewards from God can be expected. In fact a lot of people try to find fault with Islam for allowing four wives : )

    But its ‘uncontrolled’ loose sex that is prohibited in Islam … pre-marital, extra-marital, homo, lesbian etc. These are recognized in most societies, as in Islam, as counterproductive to achieving social goals and are indeed destructive. Hence In Islam, with sex comes responsibility.

    For example, when marriage within the same sex was allowed in the US recently, we Muslims recognized that as sowing the seeds of self destruction. In the long run, this would destroy the institution of marriage, which in turn would destroy the institution of family and ultimately that civilization. I would attribute the general shrinking of population in the West to the destruction of the institution of family.

    Indeed suicide bombers within the Islamic circle is a new phenomenon. Islam is fourteen centuries old. We have seen battles, martyrs etc in the past but not suicide fighters. In fact in one instance the Prophet classified a suicide fighter who wished for martyrdom as a Hell-dweller. Suicide is a crime in Islam and the one who commits it might even not enter Paradise.

    In the case of suicide bombers I see them as people who have lost everything – family, home, work etc – and who have nothing else to lose. They are like wounded tigers pushed to a corner, who would simply strike back in whatever means they can. They are basically reacting to a worldly oppression … fighting to regain their land etc and not for Islam. Since this is a new phenomenon, Islamic scholars differ in their views regarding suicide bombers.

    Since testosterone and Islamic teachings have existed for at least fourteen centuries, I would not attribute a relatively new phenomenon to either of them. Additionally we also observe female suicide bombers. What about them? Lack of progesterone?

    In my opinion, the young age group of suicide bombers simply suggests that in that age they are physically and mentally most capable, i.e. suitable age for soldiers of any army. Recently, I heard of an eighty-year old man (in fact my friend’s grandfather) fathering a son. I think that is a work of testosterone 🙂

  2. Hi Tom

    I jst read your article and the problem, as I see it, for LETSes, etc, after the initial enthusiasm relates to critical mass.
    How this manifests, is that the mantra of open money is too open.
    Individuals are each trying to survive as best they can, and if they have some pressing bills, where legal tender is required for payment, they have to prioritise money jobs.
    Unless we can find some rich benefactors, prepared to convert alternate currency units into legal tender, we are stuck, at least until the banks collapse in tote.

    For individuals, even without pressing needs, who have access to alternate means of exchange, there is an additional task involved in spending, due to the limited utility of the alternate currency, due to a smaller number of service providers.

    Given the tax treatment for employers paying employees part wages in LETS that is unfavourable, at least in Australia, LETS remains a peripheral activity.
    Until we can evolve beyong the lord/serf model of industrial relations, at least.

    Hope this helps,
    Graeme T

  3. Hi

    Very interesting site.

    With respect to your comments about the restraint shown by the Thai government towards the “anti-government” protestors… I suggest you look into details a bit more. The “anti-government” protestors have the explicit support of the army, the courts and the monarchy. They wish to return the country to elite control. Hence they are not only tolerated, they are encouraged. The current government is entirely legitimate but has the unfortunate habit of restricting elite power. No, they are not perfect but they are a huge step forward for the interests of the average person on the street or in a village. It’s interesting to see the Western media tacitly accept the view that anything “anti-government” must be against elite and authoritarian control.

    Sorry to nit-pick on this one as I love what you are trying to achieve in your work.

    Cheers.

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