Third Paradigm is an out-of-the-box thinktank on community sovereignty and regenerative economics.
We look at how to take back our cities, farmland and water; our money, production and trade; our media, education and culture, our religion and even our God.
We present a people's history of the Bible and a parent's view on how to raise giving kids in a taking world.
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New World Notes
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Next we'll go from the richest .000001% or one in 100 million to the mere top .001% or one in 100 thousand. This includes (who'd a thunk it?) the chidren's author, Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket.Adjusted Income. After that lighter moment from the king of dismal, we'll ask , 'Is the world bankrupt?' But first, let's hear some poems to keep things in perspective. This is one of Ranier Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus, a poem of Anna Akhmatova, and a Native American story. The music is Moonflower by Keiko Matsui.
In the Native American story, we each have the potential for good and evil. Which side does the system feed? When we look at the principles of capitalism, it's easy to see why a psychopath would rise to the top. The system isn't personal. It doesn't pick and choose. But someone who operates without a conscience is unencumbered, while the rest of us are busy keeping the wolves fighting in our hearts at bay.
But we, as a society, also feed the system that determines which wolf will win. With the help of the website Visual Economics, I assembled a list of the wealthiest families in the world. The Waltons top the list with $72.4 billion altogether. Robson, the #1 son, spoke at the Climate Change Conference about sustainability as a key issue to Wal*Mart. Democracy Now tried to ask him how Wal*Mart affects the sustainability of local businesses. Or, I'd add, the sustainability of sweatshop factory workers. He dodged the question.
The wealthiest individual, who's now overtaken Bill Gates, is Carlos Slim Helu. He generated a wave of privatizations in Mexico starting with Tel-Mex, the telecom monopoly. In the UK Guardian, Paul Harris writes that his controlling stakes in 222 companies and minority stakes in countless more add up to a third of Mexico's stock market index. Although he lives a modest life, his tentacles have turned Mexico into Slimlandia.
Next are two sibling pairs - Mukesh and Anil Ambani who rule India, and Karl and Theo Albrecht of Germany. A "banned in India" biography called The Polyester Prince touts itself as "the real story of [Anil] Ambani." He sued his brother Mukesh and the New York Times for writing that he oversaw an intelligence agency that tracked the activity of bureaucrats and competitors. Carlos Slim just put in $250 million to prop up the New York Times, so this would be suing his neighbor on the list. The Albrechts made their fortune with the Aldi supermarket chain. Theo, who just died at 88, started Trader Joe's, which swaddles vegetables in plastic and sells unsustainable seafood to the crunchy granola set.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, next on the list, have a reputation for philanthropy. Although Gates' investments in the Green Revolution and Monsanto seem self-serving, Buffet's quote that he wants to pay more taxes is everyone's favorite sound bite, it seems. He also suggests that we read When Money Dies by Adam Fergusson, about Weimar Germany in the 1920's, and suggests that the same hyperinflation is around the corner. He doesn't, however, tell us what to do about it.
The Koch Brothers are next up, whose nefarious dealings need no elaboration. Then the Mars siblings, Jacqueline, Forrest and John, who inherited the candy and pet food dynasty. Along with Hershey and the chocolate industry, M&M Mars has manipulated the price of cocoa beans to be under the cost of production, making child slavery prevalent in the Ivory Coast. Other brand name billionaires include Larry Ellison of Oracle, Ingvar Kamprad of IKEA, and Hans and Birgit Rausing, whose father invented the TetraPak you know from your school milk carton. Then comes Bernard Arnault, who made his money with Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, Li Ka-shing of Hong Kong, and Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, where information technology scams that embezzled taxpayer funds have been making the news lately.
|Jim, Alice, Christy
& Robson Walton
|Carlos Slim Helu||$60,600,000,000||TelMex - telecom||Mexico|
|Mukesh & Anil Ambani||$42,700,000,000||Petro & Investments||India|
|Karl and Theo Albrecht||$40,300,000,000||Aldi & Trader Joe's||Germany|
|David & Charles Koch||$28,000,000,000||Energy & Manuf.||US|
& John Mars
|$27,000,000,000||Candy & Pet Food||US|
|Hans & Birgit Rausing||$19,900,000,000||TetraPak - liquid pkg||Sweden|
|Bernard Arnault||$16,500,000,000||Dior, Louis Vuitton||France|
|Li Ka-shing||$16,200,000,000||Diverse Sources||Hong Kong|
|Michael Bloomberg||$16,000,000,000||Media Owner||US|
|Stefan Persson||$14,500,000,000||Fashion Retail||Sweden|
Fin Talal Alsaud
|Michael Otto & Family||$13,200,000,000||Retail||Germany|
|David Thomson & Family||$13,000,000,000||Media Owner||Canada|
|Donald Bren||$12,000,000,000||Real Estate||US|
|Larry Page||$12,000,000,000||Real Estate||US|
|George Soros||$11,000,000,000||Hedge Funds||US|
|Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor||$11,000,000,000||Real Estate||UK|
|Kwok Family||$10,500,000,000||Real Estate||Hong Kong|
|Jack Taylor & Family||$9,500,000,000||Automotive||US|
|Anne Cox Chambers||$9,000,000,000||Media Owner||US|
|Lee Shau Kee||$9,000,000,000||Real Estate||Hong Kong|
|George Kaiser||$9,000,000,000||Oil & Gas||US|
In Unwelcome Guests episode #528, Robin Upton asks
"Why have royalty, heads of political, economic, financial, and military organizations met up in secret annually since 1954?"
He plays a reading of David Southwell's Secrets and Lies, and then an interview with Tony Gosling, who set up the website http://Bilderberg.org, followed by two radio reports about Bilderberg from BBC world service. The second hour is Daniel Estulin's speech to the EU parliament on the Bilderberg Group, in which he suggests that their main function is to undermine national sovereignty and set up "one world company limited." Robin then examines the 'conspiracy theory' label, with a quick sketch by Bill Hicks and a section of Michael Parenti's talk at the 2010 Santa Cruz Deep Politics conference. The show concludes with Adrian Salbuchi, the Argentinean political commentator and economist. Adrian's conclusion is that national government is used to put an acceptable face on the reality that a small coterie of corporate and financial leaders rule the world out of self-interest, unhampered by considerations of public welfare.
The show is well-worth a listen, to understand the structure of Bilderberg, at unwelcomeguests.net. But for the functionalists among you, here's a character study of the Bilderberger: a youtube video called The Banker.
Now let's go from wealth at the level of global carnage to wealth that's been earned and is only charmingly obscene. This is an article in The New York Times called Adjusted Income by Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket. He writes:
"Let's start by saying I have a lot of money. I've acquired it by writing children's books about terrible things happening to orphans, and this seems like such a crazy and possibly monstrous way of acquiring money that I give a lot of it away. I mean, I guess it's a lot. Let me put it like this: My wife and I recently became obsessed with a Web site where you plug in the amount of money you made in a year and find out where you stand. If your salary equaled the amount of money my wife and I gave Planned Parenthood one year, you'd be in the richest 1 percent in the world, which is pretty great. Still, there would be 60 million people richer than you, and that's a lot. They wouldn't fit in your home, for example, even though you'd have the sort of home that only the top 1 percent of people in the world can afford."
Handler then agrees to lunch with a friend who wants funding to repair a historical building in San Francisco. His wife asks how much money, and he replies “I don't know,” and guesses a number that, had it been your yearly salary, would put you with those 60 million people outside your home. “That seems like a lot of money,” his wife says.
They have lunch and the guy asks for five million dollars. He writes,
"I had my checkbook with me, but I never brought it out. I felt suddenly as if someone had proposed marriage and I'd countered with an offer of a beer. I stuttered something. He explained that I wouldn't have to give all of it at once. I stuttered something else, and we talked about gay marriage a little more, and then I went home and lay down on the rug, which is what I do when things like this come up...
"It's not the first time. People know I have a lot of money — there's no way to hide it, and I'm irritated by those people who have a lot of money but pretend they don't have a lot of money, not really, not when you compare them to some other people. But still, I don't have all the money. ... a friend estimated that my home is worth $20 million, which it would be, if after lunch I lay down on a stack of gold bars instead of a rug.
"Still, though, it's a nice rug. If the rug cost your annual salary, and I were a noble cause, I wouldn't ask you for money, because you wouldn't have any to give. Your income would, however, still be in the top 15 percent in the world. This is why, maybe, there are so many noble causes and so few of them are well financed: we all want other people to write the checks — they're richer than we are. I wrote the guy a check anyway, of course, and it was for a lot of money. At least, I think it was a lot of money. You'd have to ask those other people, the hundred thousand who make more than I do and the 60 million who make more than I gave to restore the historic building: isn't this a lot of money? Then why does it feel as if I bought him a beer?"
That was an article in the 2007 New York Times by Daniel Handler. So how much is a lot of money? From an article at Jakarta Updates, I read:
"The Global Pyramid of Wealth breaks down the number of people in each wealth bracket. More than 3 billion people or 64% of the world population have wealth of less than $10,000. A little bit more than a billion people or 23% have wealth up to $100,000. 334 million people or 7% have wealth over $100,000. 24 million or 0.5% have wealth over $1 million.
And so, working backwards, I came up with this. For 1 in 100 million families, their average assets are worth $19 billion. For 1 out of 100,000 families who are in Lemony Snicket's shoes, I'm guessing they have about $200 million. 1 out of 200 has over a million, while one in 100 has over $500,000. One in 10 has $72,000 in assets, and every other person has $4000 or more.
|Range of Net Assets Worldwide|
|1 out of 100 million families||$19,318,918,919||Year 2006||Worldwide|
|1 out of 100,000 families||Lemony Snicket||Year 2007||Worldwide|
|1 out of 200 families||$1,000,000||Year 2009||Worldwide|
|1 out of 100 families||$588,000||Year 2009||Worldwide|
|1 out of 10 families||$72,000||Year 2009||Worldwide|
|1 out of 2 families||$4,000||Year 2009||Worldwide|
But it's the combination that makes these strategies magic. Debt pressure on the bottom half keeps them working for starvation wages to supply the products, which are then sold to the other indebted 50%. Only 10% of the world's population has any chance to escape the Wal*Mart chains, but what are the chances of that? The entire net assets of that 10% are less than it costs to be out of work for one year, or send a kid to college for four.
But that's not even the full absurdity of this concept of money that rules the world. I was posting on the discussion board for Wikipedia's List of Countries by External Debt, when I noticed an interesting section asking, "If all countries are in debt, who is the creditor?" Shouldn't some of these debts cancel each other out between nations? Someone posted their opinion that many of these debts are owed to private institutions. I googled, "What is the net worth of the whole entire world?" and it sent me to getmoneyenergy.com, which informed me that the world owed more than it had. Total world debt in the form of bonds equals $82 trillion dollars, but the total value of world equity markets amounts to only $44 trillion. Therefore, the world owes $38 trillion more than it has. This begs the question, to whom?
These bonds are so much money "printed," and most of it belongs to the US. As we know, however, these are really debt obligations owed to the Federal Reserve, which is majority-owned by the Rothschilds...as are 165 other "national" banks out of 195 nations. So if your plan to change the world involves a redistribution of money, think again. Money exists to concentrate power in the fewest hands possible, and it's doing a damn fine job of it.
This has been Tereza Coraggio with Third Paradigm. Thanks to Robin Upton and to Daniel Handler for my excerpts from their work. Thanks to Mike Scirocco for the thirdparadigm.org website, where this and all previous transcripts can be found embellished with photos, links, and videos. We go out with The Jayhawks from their Rainy Day Music CD, which is appropriate for this blustery pre-Christmas day. The song is Stumbling Through the Dark, appropriate to this blustery era.
Thank you for listening.