Do Stock Markets Make Sustainability Impossible? (2017.01)

Some inconvenient truths about stock markets:

  1. Unless stocks are deemphasized and bonds emphasized, it is ludicrous to assume that solar energyor anything elsecan create sustainability.
  2. Protesting stock markets is as important as protesting air pollutionbut nobody is doing so.
  3. The New York Stock Exchange is not an original or necessary institution for capitalism, democracy, Christianity, America or free enterprise.
  4. There is no magical law that requires stock markets to have happy endings.
  5. Overpopulation is not mandated by religion so much as by stock markets.
  6. No movement is making the essential moves against Wall Street to make sustainability possible.
  7. Frequently asked questions and answers.
  8. History of rejection of this article.

In the classic tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” only a child dared to point out that an emperor was naked. Similarly, a denial of obvious truths is often betrayed by our actions, even in personal life-and-death matters such as investing our life savings.

(To discuss this article,  click here for Krystof Huang’s Facebook page. Illustrations from Wikipedia.org.)

1. Unless stocks are deemphasized and bonds emphasized, it is ludicrous to assume that solar energyor anything elsecan create sustainability. Of course, it benefits the environment to develop non-polluting energy sources. However, overall “sustainability” must include financial stability. Otherwise, we face ever-repeating wars and stock market crashes and consequential ever-increasing populist demands to dismantle environmental protections.

From about 1900 to 2000, we had a very inexpensive source of energy called “oil.” The personal computer also increased productivity several times over. All with no net increase in financial stability.

In contrast, the ancient Hawaiians perfected fish farming. Thus, they primarily just needed to eat fish and then go surfing and dancing. Also, ancient Hawaiians were never told that they must eat more fish every year. That would have sounded ludicrous to everyone.

Today however, we so-called modern people are told by most economists and politicians that we constantly face ruination, not only if productivity fails to grow, but even if the rate of growth fails to grow. Nobody seems to ask, “Why?” Or, “How does this possibly make sense?” At the crux of this naked inanity are stock markets.

Once a business joins a stock marketit can no longer survive merely by earning millions of dollars. It must constantly increase those profitsor else its stock price will collapsebecause nobody wants to hold on to a stock that does not increase in value.

Also, the average stock must be profitableor else most investors will sell most stocksand then of course the entire stock-based economy is in peril. Therefore, most economists will assert that the economy requires constant population growth and price inflation. Thus, the majority of stock prices can increase, simply because there are more customers who also are forced to pay more. I.e., the stock market is unworkable unless it is subsidized. Meanwhile, the same economists do not even think to question the stock market because it is assumed to be the core enabler of “progress.” This is as baseless as a huckster selling a used car that always gets you placesjust so long as you get out and push.

In the early nineteenth century, the McCormick Reaper enabled each farmer to feed many people. A hundred years later, the automobile engine further multiplied productivity. In the early 1960′s, housewives did not have to go to work and many people predicted 3-day work weeks for their husbands. Then the computer multiplied productivity again. And yetjust like cave people cringing in fear of a saber tooth tigertoday, after two hundred years of productivity increases, most people live hand-to-mouth and in fear of a man-made monster called “the economy.”

Anyone who thinks about it can see the massive incongruity between the history of “progress” we are taught in school vs. the world’s current meager and ever-precarious economic situation. This is primarily because a stock market is obviously not designed to disburse the fruits of productivity so much as to demand to be fed with productivity which it devours into nothingness. The stock market behaves somewhat like a contagious parasite which sooner-or-later causes financial crashes to devastate every nation that it infects.

Of course, like slot machines, part of the lure of stock markets is huge intermittent bursts of wealth. The 1990′s benefited from the combination of new “technology” companies acquiring huge wealth with minimal hard assets, plus new levels of involvement for China. However, the high level of stock market growth was not sustained. Nor since the 1990′s have China or Europe seen stock market indexes that were even consistently breaking even. Its largely unsuccessful stock market has largely been a clear negative for China, reducing its ability to enjoy its profits in foreign trade. In the USA, the stock market has consistently rebounded, but this has not translated into better salaries for the average person. Nor can these rebounds continue while surrounded by a non-rebounding global situation.

Of course, stock and bond markets both have ups-and-downs. However, when blue-chip stocks fall, we sell. When individually-held investment-grade bonds fall, we hold to maturity. Thusin addition to stocks requiring infinite and impossible growthstocks inevitably magnify instability while bonds generally regenerate stability.

Of course, deemphasizing stock markets will not automatically solve every social, environmental and economic problem. However, deemphasizing stock markets is obviously essential in order to make possible any long-lasting social, environmental and economic solutions.

If you throw sugar on an anthill every daythere will be more antsuntil the sugar runs outthen comes the die-off. It is a natural tendency of any species sooner-or-later to use up all available resources, unless it is stopped by mass starvation, extinction, epidemics, wars or predation. The human race has the intelligence to choose a different patha sustainable path. Stock markets quite simply and quite obviously eliminate this choice by systematically demanding relentless growth from every major corporation. When stock markets are allowed to grow to a size that dominates the economy of every nation, then every nation eventually loses all freedom to question or reject even the most suicidal short-term expectations.

2. Protesting stock markets is as important as protesting air pollutionbut nobody is doing so.

Of course, there has been an “Occupy Wall Street” movement. However, the Wikipedia article on OWS mainly lists protests against some of the inevitable consequences of overemphasis on stock markets: “wealth inequality, political corruption, corporate influence of government.” There seems to be no clear suggestion to deemphasize stock market investing.

With no intellectual leaders speaking out against stock marketsit is obviously not feasible for political leaders to do so. Bernie Sanders, self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” probably is the most harsh critic of Wall Street ever to make it to the US Congress. Every little bit helps. However, his most radical proposal is a small tax on high-frequency trading. Sanders has never proposed to reduce the general tax discount on stock market investingnor proposed a tax discount for bond investingnor criticized our dependence on infinite growth. On the contrary, Sanders supporters have argued that Sanders will deliver more growth. (Nor can Sanders be blamed for not bringing into politics ideas which have not yet been popularized outside of politics.)

There also are left-wing as well as right-wing idealists who imply that corporations should not exist. This, of course, might eliminate both stocks and bonds and might result in sustainabilityif it miraculously happens and then miraculously does not result in chaos. For a sustainable economy without collapsing the economywe can simply begin with a gradual removal of tax deductions for stocksmeanwhile mollifying investors with new tax deductions for bonds. A call to abolish corporations does not support sustainability any more than a call to grow angel wings.

Meanwhile, there are some film documentaries which warn that our global financial system is unsustainable: The Four Horsemen Mother Caring for 7 Billion Hooked on Growth. There are also a number of books and even a Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. However, while usually decrying a “dependence on growth,” they usually conclude with suggestions that are vague, debatable or unreachable. Meanwhile, they usually fail to focus upon the most obvious and insistent engine of growth: the stock market!

Of course, stock markets are often condemned as unsafe or immoral. However, so are gambling and smoking. The net message is not that stock markets are a primary enemy to human survivalbut just another personal choice. As discussed in section 3 below, this denies the obvious factsthere is no “choice” of being unaffected by stock markets.

Unfortunately, the most surprising proponent of such denialism may be the Club of Rome. As discussed in Hooked on Growthprobably the most influential voice for sustainability is the 1972 study, The Limits to Growth. The Club of Rome, which commissioned the study, consequently issues periodic reports, generally including warnings against growth-reliance. Presumably, the Club of Rome must know that stock markets require growth-reliance. Nonetheless, there seems to have been no clear priority for curtailing stock markets. Their major report of 1991, The First Global Revolution, primarily concludes: “All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

Of course, changes in attitude and behavior are needed. However, a higher priority is the freedom to change. Otherwise, this becomes a classic example of blaming the victim. Attitude and behavior can make no difference when chained to the floor. So long as the economy is chained to stock markets, the only directions open to humanity are growth or collapse.

Nonetheless, the Club of Rome must be commended for working ceaselessly to become both pragmatic and readable. A 2016 summary report is currently posted on ClubofRome.org: A Finer Future Is Possible. (Click to read, it is brief and highly recommended.) The following excerpts are chosen to highlight the agreements and disagreements with this article.

To avoid collapse, we need to embrace a new cultural story, one where humanity lives in harmony with nature and where social tensions are drastically reduced… As this new story will take several years to implement we need a strategy to survive in the short-term and buy time… Buying time will work only if it is accompanied by reforms in the sectors of finance and business, agriculture, energy and the nature of work…

The dominant economic system is built on the notion of growth in GDP, which, as presently organised, requires an ever-higher throughput of energy and materials… To maintain economic growth, and so output, modern society seeks to meet non-material needs with material goods, celebrating consumerism. Conversely, if humanity stops consuming, the economy falls into a recession, with rising unemployment and even wider inequality…

For there to be a change to a better system, social and political leaders throughout would need to demand change. To do this they need to understand that change is both possible and desirable, that it would lead to a better outcome. They need to see a better way forward. New power bases and political movements operating at all levels of society, would also be needed – local, national, regional and, eventually, global. These would consist of collaborating networks from civil society, from research and policy communities, from business, from faith groups, from cultural groups, and from new economics practitioners. Such groups are needed to fuel and sustain change…

The key elements of a better economic system… ‘Quarterly Capitalism’ drives continuous growth and ecological overshoot. It contributed to the financial crisis too, as banks took on too much debt to boost returns. Shift from a shareholder to a stakeholder economy (one that includes employees, society and the environment, for example)… New investment methods (rather than just debt and equity) and the ending of tax exemptions for debt…

As stated above, this article does not claim that deemphasizing stocks vs. bonds will solve every problem. The Club of Rome seems to be working hard to detail many other steps, but nonetheless seems off-target on this all-important core issue.

One reason for this disagreement might be that the Club of Rome has simply not considered making a strong distinction between stocks and bonds (a.k.a. equity and debt). They also do not seem to distinguish between investment-grade bonds and speculative debt instruments and the illegal abuse of those instruments by banks in 2007due to competitive grow-or-die demands created by stock markets! Thus, the Club of Rome seems to wish to deemphasize equally stocks and bonds, in favor of unspecified “new methods.” This will be exponentially more difficult than merely favoring bondsalready familiar to all and favored by many. Most strangely, they seem to suggest ending tax deductions for bonds but not for stocks–the opposite of what anyone who protests stock markets would propose.

More fundamentally, the Club of Rome seems to imply that emphasizing growth-dependence is a choice made by corporate executives and investors, and which choice is merely facilitated by the two relatively passive and slightly naughty methods of stocks and bonds. If so, this is amazingly naïve.

An individual investor who buys a bond, a.k.a. “fixed-income security”unlike the stock investoris not demanding eternal infinite growth but a one-time fixed return. Bond investments can be reinvested, thus possibly achieving constant growth for investors. However, as for corporations, nations and the planet earth, the differences between bond and stock markets could not be greater.

  • Firstly–bond markets are viable at lower growth rates. From about 1920 to 2010, average annual growth was 5-5.8% for US Corporate Bonds and 7-11.8% for US stocks. It requires about 490 years at 5.8% annualized growth to use the same level of resources as in 100 years at 11.8%. A phase-out of stocks will obviously “buy time” for the planet.
  • Above all–with bond markets, there is nothing that relentlessly requires the corporation to grow or the investor to invest! In terms of “sustainability”–this is a core difference between stock markets and almost every other form of investment which screams out for recognition. And yet, no “pro-sustainability” expert ever seems to acknowledge this. Stock markets require “grow-or-die” with a life of their own. This article does not criticize the stocks of “private” corporations, not listed in stock markets, which are merely divisions of ownership, closely tied to the actual incomes of those corporations. In contrast, stock markets combine the corporations with a sort of ponzi scheme, such that the stocks generally sell at ten times above their true values. As any stock broker or economist will confirm, this scheme does not allow corporations the choice of slowing or ceasing growth. To do so is to risk the crash of the stock markets, of the corporations and of the national and global economy–so long as the economy remains tied to stock markets. This is often termed the “grow-or-die” imperative of stock markets and of stock market based economies. I.e., so long as there are large stock markets, every nation and corporation is required to give absolute priority to growth–and thus forbidden to pay attention to the long-term realities of the environment or of society, where these conflict with unrealistic growth. In contrast–bonds, which always have the potential to “hold to maturity,” are closely tied to their face values. When combined with common-sense regulation, investment-grade bond markets can strictly limit any ponzi-like activity
  • Thirdly–unlike stock markets–bond markets do not require population growth or price inflation. Therefore less of a vicious cycle for more industrial growth to sustain more people. Also, less pressure for people to invest in order to “keep ahead of inflation.”
  • Fourthly–stock markets make huge gaps in economic inequality inevitable. In addition simply to being able to invest a much larger proportion of their wealth, the wealthiest investors and their hedge fund managers are also able to buy stocks at special prices and to receive advance notice of market movements. Everyone who watches the news knows the inevitable consequence: a stock market that effortless generates more billions for billionaires and their children and grandchildren. Meanwhile the average workers are considered lucky if their children are not shot or drugged in school, if they are not poisoned by the public water supply, if they are able to afford to pay for college, or if they are able to hold on to a home and a job with wages stagnating for decades.

Advocates of social justice perennially lament the huge and increasing gaps in social and political inequality–meanwhile failing to say a word about stock markets which obviously make this inevitable.

It is childishly obvious that stock markets both require growth and are the major engines of growth addiction. This should especially not need to be argued with world-renowned economists who specialize in “sustainability.” To top this off, because of not having a broker’s license or a PhD in economics, the author is having extreme difficulty in finding a well-known website to publish this article where it might be discussed by influential people or even by a significant number of ordinary people. The history of this article itself is rather analogous to “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in which the most sophisticated experts and ministers remained silent, while only a child was able to say the obvious.

This article also disagrees with the Club of Rome’s reliance on laborious “collaborating networks” or convincing John Q. Public to see the “long-term” or “benefit to society” view. (As on page 36 of A Finer Future.) For John Q. Public, “long-term view” equals “moral persuasion.” This just might be possible. If so, however, all the more reason to find ways to appeal to a short-term view. This might be equally difficult but can not be more difficultand once achieved, becomes far more relentless and fast-acting. Also, if only John Q. Public can be won over based on short-term views, then the resulting impetus might be so great that “collaborating networks” might be superfluous.

Section 6 below briefly outlines one slight possibility for winning over the government of China to a sustainable paradigmfollowed by two strong possibilities for winning over John Q. Publicby appealing only to their short-term self-interest.

3. Contrary to popular assumption: the New York Stock Exchange is not an original or necessary institution for capitalism, democracy, Christianity, America or free enterprise.

This article merely points out that modern society is dominated by corporationswhich are funded by stock and bond marketsand that long-term stability and peace are possible if and only if we merely deemphasize the stock markets!

Some people will instinctively respond that to deemphasize stock markets is somehow to advocate “communism” or “totalitarianism.” This is obviously not true. Here are the facts.

  • Bonds are not communist. The US government and most US corporations sell bonds.
  • You can buy books on the “all-bond portfolio.” This is a respected investing method.
  • China and Russia are communist or totalitarian or bothand have stock markets.
  • Washington, Jefferson and Franklin were not communistsand had no stock market.
  • Adolf Hitler was propelled to power by the stock market crash of 1929. Stock markets cause totalitarianism. They are not a cure for it.

Others will respond, “This is a free country. If you do not like stocks, you are free not to buy them.”

Ironically, this is exactly what this article argues should be true. If the stock market game were deemphasized to the level of a Las Vegas casino, then we might all choose to play it or ignore it. Unfortunately, that is clearly not our situation.

  • Unlike casino games, every news show frets about stocks. Because they affect everyone.
  • The stock market crashes of 1929 and 2008 caused millions to lose their jobs and possibly their life savingsregardless of whether they bought stocks.
  • Walk in to any office of any stock broker and ask what will happen if you do not invest? The answer is that more than 1/2 the value of your savings will be lost to inflation.
  • Walk in to any university and ask any economist, why do we have inflation? The answer is that we must have inflation to support the stock market.
  • If a prostitute is forced to pay 1/2 her income to a pimp, she is said to be “owned” by the pimp. Similarly, everyone is somewhat “owned” by the stock market.
  • For more thoughts in this direction, Google the phrase, “inflation is invisible taxation.”

4. Contrary to most financial experts: there is no magical law that requires stock markets to have happy endings. Most financial gurus will advise a never-sell buy-and-hold strategy for stocks. Also, for those who desire greater safety, large investments in corporate or municipal bonds. This is in spite of the ubiquitous refrain by the same people: “past performance does not predict future performance.”

Buy-and-hold is like a religious faith based entirely on the performance of US stocks in the previous century. This ignores what happened in 2008 and what has happened to most non-US stock indexes since 2008. (See the 2006-2016 performance graph below.)

Also, we saw numerous bankruptcies and near-bankruptcies of US blue-chip corporations, insurers and regional governments in 2008: California, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, etc., etc. This has proven that corporate and municipal bonds are now like wooden fire escapes: only safe just so long as there is no great need to be safe. Investment-grade corporate bonds should be safe. If not for our over-emphasis on stock markets, most bonds would be safe. Currently howeverso long as the stock market has the power to trigger a cascade of blue-chip bankruptciesthen allocating anything for corporate or municipal bonds primarily means that you can allocate less for maximum-safety gold or US Treasury TIPS.

Meanwhile, buy-and-hold is working badly for the Eurozone and Chinazone stock marketswhich have not regained the losses from 2008 nor even from the dip in 2011. (See EZU and FXI in the graph below.) It is reasonable to hope that, for a good while, US-based investments may continue in a solo flight that defies global gravity. However, it is not reasonable to assume that this is a certainty. It is not reasonable to advise any investors to entrust substantial portions of their life-line either to corporate bonds or to buy-and-hold stock positions.

My simulation results below suggest that if you simply use ETF investing at low-fee brokersand do not hesitate to rebuy on the upturnStops could save your life savings. Therefore, I hope to post future articles with detailed suggestions for Stop-and-go strategies. However, this can not save the planet, nor is it certain to work, but might only mitigate recessions for some investors.

5. Overpopulation is not mandated by religion so much as by stock markets.

Overpopulation and stock markets are the two most destructive factors facing the human race. So long as we have either one of these factors, the human race obviously cannot achieve long-term peace and security. They are also closely related. As mentioned in section 1 above, any economist will confirm that, in addition to the “invisible tax” of price inflation, stock markets must also be subsidized via eternal population growth. This is primarily why, after switching from hardcore communism to a stock market economy, China eventually was forced to abandon its world-renowned population control efforts. Ironically, China currently is also cash-rich, and therefore could instead add insurance programs for a superior bond market which is not growth-dependent. Nonetheless, this alternative never seems to be considered by anyone, whether socialist or capitalist, and whether progressive or conservative.

Fareed_Zakaria,_receiving_Peabody_Award_2012As a typical example of being blinded by short-term economic reasoning, Fareed Zakaria is a leading “progressive” icon, a participant of the Davos World Economic Forum and strongly in favor of environmental protection. Fareed Zakaria has nonetheless applauded China for abandoning its population control efforts, on the grounds that eternal population increase is supposedly essential for economic success. Meanwhile, increasing China’s population is obviously not going to help to stabilize its stock markets. Firstly, China obviously has no room for population growth without severe social and environmental degradation. Secondly, stock markets are globally competitive. The USA has numerous strategic advantages–including that it is far less overpopulated. If China were to rid itself of the destabilizing factor of its stock markets, China could attract investors to a new type of nationally-insured corporate bond game. Conversely, China has no chance of winning the stock market game and is foolish to try. In insisting on maintaining a major stock market, China is also thus destroying the potential security advantage of its corporate bond markets.

Real_Time_with_Bill_Maher_2017While on the other hand, political humorist Bill Maher, another progressive icon and often a collaborator with Fareed Zakaria, can claim the unusual distinction of consistently denouncing population growth. However, Bill Maher seems to claim that the answer to most such problems lies primarily in abandoning religion in favor of “human reason.” Evidently within his idea of human reason, Bill Maher also advocates routine drug intoxication. Also, even though well beyond a struggling comic on the rat pack circuit, Maher continues to schedule events at Las Vegas casinos–which are certainly the equal of the Vatican in promoting irrationality and apathy. In order for humanity to abandon tradition in favor of reason, it is first necessary for a few reason-based people to exist. Meanwhile, as discussed in section 2 above, no progressive leader has ever followed human reason far enough to denounce unlimited stock market growth. Which is certainly the equal of population growth in causing the inevitable annihilation of global resources.

Obviously, reproduction is essential for any species. Obviously, nature must create an off-switch for reason wherever reproduction is concerned. It is therefore understandable that even the most rationally-trained people are often bizarrely self-contradictory concerning the clear mathematical imperative to stabilize the global human population.

Also, art, music, humor and religion all speak more profoundly to humans than science because — like humans ourselves — art, music, humor and religion are sublime and inexplicable fusions of the rational with the nonrational.

Unfortunately, there are no large institutions representing art, music or humor relating directly to the improvement of human behavior. In contrast, the following categories of organized religion each directly influence about one billion or more people: Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, Islam. All have also influenced one another away from warmongering and towards instruments of peace. Furthermore, at the heart of all these religions are moral codes—which can be defined as rules for doing right while directly disagreeing with natural instinct. I.e., the very purpose of religion can be defined as traditions developed to check against the ultimately self-destructive instincts of nature, which always result from an unchecked following of nature’s constructive purpose.

Logically, it is only with the help of large organized religions that large numbers of people might permanently be influenced to stabilize the global human population. Also, the traditional purpose of organized religion can be aligned toward doing so. However, only Roman Catholicism is unified enough to spearhead significant changes. And unfortunately, Roman Catholicism was originally aligned with nations which required high birth rates in order to maintain defensive armies — and today is aligned with nations which have stock markets. Consequently, Roman Catholicism continuously teaches that couples are obliged to procreate and that condom usage is a mortal sin on a level with murder. Which obviously is nonsense.

Religion alone is obviously not entirely to blame for the continuation of such nonsense. The Roman Catholic church has often gradually been persuaded by scientific reasonsuch as that the earth is not the center of the universe. However, a religion can not be expected to abandon tradition for reasonwhen those supposedly representing “reason” are fanatics for tradition. It is not priests so much as the mathematically-trained economists who maniacally insist on infinitely more children. (Of whom Fareed Zakaria is only a typical example.) Even though the non-mathematical ignorance required to believe in “infinite population” is far more obvious than required to believe in an earth-centered universe.

In contrast, the Bible teaches that God created every species. Therefore, to destroy any species is to declare war against God. Not to mention the extinction of dozens of species every decade due to human overpopulation.

Also, if all Christians are one family and all Muslims are one family — as both of their scriptures teach — then before having a second child, all parents should at least pay for the education of another child who is living among garbage.

In order to have any hope to stabilize human population, we obviously must respect and ally with traditional religious disciplines and family values while only correcting one destructive and ungodly hypocrisy. Such as does not seem to be the current direction of any popular movement.

Meanwhile, even hardcore environmentalists are split into two camps: those who acknowledge that human population must be stabilized vs. those who blindly follow conventional economists. Those who suggest that we stabilize the population are of course basically correct but generally fail to see that we cannot stabilize population without causing economic collapse unless we unplug the economy from the stock market!

While on the other hand  those who suggest that we blithely prepare for 14 billion people have no suggestions on how we consequently prepare for 28 and 56 billion. Some will even argue, with no evidence whatsoever, that it is “simply impossible” or “must violate human rights” to convince 7 billion people to stabilize the global population. Soa Mars landing is possible, solar powered electricity is possible, artificial intelligence is possiblebut population control is automatically impossible? Will population control be easier if we wait until there are 14 billion or 28 billion to control? It is ludicrous to allow a massive problem to become more massive, in the expectation that this will somehow make a solution easier. Meanwhile, the fact isaffluent countries with more educated people naturally tend to have negative population growth. This trend might or might not continue. However, instead of nurturing this trend through educationgovernments usually invoke incentives for more births for the sake of “the economy”regardless of how crowded the people or stressed the environment. Obviously  no matter how many soda cans we recycle or how seldom we flush the toilet  this endless-growth thinking (or, speaking more plainly, this rabbit-like non-thinking) is at some point going to devolve into war or chaos.

If a person has 7 dozen cats, everyone will label that person as pathological for “animal hoarding.” Somehow however, if a person has 7 billion dollars or a planet has 7 billion people, most of our most respected scientists and economists will cheer this on, thinking only about how to facilitate an increase to 14 and 28 billion. This is beyond pathological. This can not end well.

6. No movement is making the essential moves against Wall Street to make sustainability possible.

  • There is what I call the “High Plains Drifter” initiative. This means firstly, for one reputable economist to write one book arguing that capitalism has a future if and only if stock markets are deemphasized. Secondly, for the leaders of one underdeveloped or “outsider” nation to read said book and thus to start one new game on their own terms: encourage corporate bonds with national insurance programs and low tax ratesmeanwhile discourage stocksand thus become increasingly admired and imitated after each new, ever-inevitable global stock market crash. Russia, China, India, Greece, Cuba, Venezuela and Indonesia obviously should encourage bonds over stocks. Currently however, every nation stubbornly bellies-up to be fleeced at the anachronistic Wall Street gameregardless of whether they are a naïve novice, an atheistic anti-capitalist, a religious fundamentalist or even a chronic loser.
  • Or, a “Newman Age” could be upon us if some new promotional strategy somehow enabled stock market corporations in every sphere to be eclipsed by for-charity corporations à la Newman’s Ownwith a similar ferocity as My Space was eclipsed by Facebook. Currently however, there seems little significant interest in such projects. (To support the Vermocracy.Org “Pro-Sustainability Social Network” click here for Krystof Huang’s Facebook page.)
  • Or, a “Fight Fire With Fire” initiative might mean for some nonprofit foundation to manage “socially responsible” brokerages, autotrading systems, trust funds and mutual funds. If 1/3 of the foundation’s resulting income were used to finance pro-environmental politicians and organizationswhile 2/3 were hoarded and reinvestedthis eventually might build up a war chest with which to enable environmentalists to cross swords with billionaires and corporations. Currently however, environmentalists must forever act like the Dutch boy with a finger in a dyke.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been a vital first step. Just as it is often vital for the victims of child abuse to meet in group therapy. Thus to nurture the courage to vocalize violations by people who they were taught to awe and revere.

However, group therapy cannot fully be successful until the abusers are meaningfully confronted. Occupy Wall Street has produced little attempt to blueprint a non-abusive financial system.

It remains to be seen whether internet-based “social networking” is perhaps responsible for destabilizing the Middle East and is perhaps enabling thuggish populists to gain power worldwide. Nonetheless, we thus have proof that technology has enabled a few people to create dramatic changes. What remains to be proven is only whether there are people with the inspiration to make changes for the better?

Ebay, Google and Facebook all had humble beginningsand yet, soon eclipsed stock market giants, even before joining the stock market. For the first time in history, it is no longer necessary to own steel mills in order to challenge the likes of Carnegie and Mellon. What is lacking today is only the will, not the capability. Each of the above “non-Wall Street initiatives” obviously could be accomplished within fewer than a dozen years by fewer than a dozen inspired individuals. This is probably a narrow window of opportunity and to which almost nobody is yet responding.

(To discuss this article, click here for Krystof Huang’s Facebook page.)

7. Frequently asked questions and answers.

[under construction]

8. History of rejection of this article.

[under construction]

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