I’m planning to make this my last post in this series discussing Catherine Austin Fitts’ Solari concept. Though it’s an issue I care very much about, it is a bit far afield from where I prefer to keep Mythodrome as a general rule.
That’s not to say I consider it off-topic. Economic and finance issues tie directly in to the Fall mythology. I care about it as much as I do because I think any understanding of how to realign ourselves with Elohim is incomplete without it. I’ll start with this to see if I can’t pull it all together.
Some Theoretical Context
I’ve written previously that I think the Genesis concept of Elohim is more akin to Native American’s wakan tanka than to the Greeks’ Zeus; and in fact, the Judeo-Christian god, as widely understood, is in fact Zeus rebranded as capital-G “God.” Dispensing with Zeus preconceptions and reading Genesis on its own terms reveals that Elohim is more properly understood as the underlying force that animates everything in the universe; and moreover, this force is not something abstract, like gravity, but rather is something that expresses itself as consciousness and that humans can engage directly. Eastern spiritual traditions would articulate this as: consciousness is the ground of being.
Here on our planet, Elohim manifests as a riot of life and life-driven processes. Millions of species together contribute to the carbon cycle, the water cycle, various oceanic cycles, weather patterns, and everything else that comprises the single, living organism Earth. From vanishingly small bacteria to trees as tall as small mountains, everything is one.
This is the context in which humans evolved. Our cultural ancestors back in the Paleolithic had no concept of “other” as we do. Everything was one big life process. And that process, at its most fundamental, consisted of what ecologists today call energy flow: the sun causes plants to grow; these are consumed by herbivores, which concentrate the sun’s energy in their muscles and organs; the herbivores are consumed by carnivores, which further concentrate the sun’s energy; carnivores sit atop any given food web until they die, at which point they become food for scavengers, who consume what’s left of the sun’s energy superconcentrated in carnivores’ bodies; and when the remainder of the sun’s concentrated energy is picked clean, the rest returns to the soil, providing nutrients for the plants that the sun causes to grow. This cycle goes around again and again, forever. Humans, like all species, are physiologically hard-wired to exist in this context. It is literally in our DNA.
The Fall mythology describes our cultural forebears’ experience of first perceiving that they had been cut out of the big giant Everything. Of course this is not actually possible, but to their thinking, they no longer had access to the sun-based energy flow. And so they set about trying to create their own “one” and their own energy flow simply because nothing else is possible for humans. I believe this effort was and is largely unconscious, stemming from our biology. It’s completely genetic. Their efforts to recreate a separate “one” was the city; their efforts to recreate a separate energy flow was economy.
All ancient cultures of which I am aware venerated gold as either a representation of the sun or as pieces of the sun itself (and to a lesser extent silver, as a representation of the moon). Gold became the separated, substitute sun in their separated, substitute energy flow. Within the context of the city, gold came to function in economies just as the sun functions in an ecosystem: workers mine gold from the ground and make it available to goldsmiths; goldsmiths concentrate the gold among themselves, fashioning it into jewelry, coins, or what-have-you; and the ruling elites super-concentrate the gold as apex predators of the city economy. This is of course terribly oversimplified, but hopefully it illustrates my point.
Gold-based economies were inherently limited, because there is only ever so much gold to be had. A gold-based economy cannot grow beyond a certain point. Psychopathic conquest could only be carried out so far until there just wasn’t enough money to pay for it anymore.
Debt-based fiat currencies are an insidious break from the gold-as-sun economies of the past, while still obeying our genetic requirement for an energy flow type system. In this case, a central bank makes currency available to workers and small business (among other entities) through loans; these are consumed by distributors, mid-sized banks the like, which concentrate the currency into a middle tier; and the psychopaths at the top feed off these, superconcentrating the currency into their own hands. The ultimate apex predator in this system is the central bank, which owns all the money in circulation plus the interest. Nowhere in this equation is any recognition of hard physical limits, as there was with gold economies and ecological energy flow before them. This means two things: first, a currency system that has no physical limit built-in can, theoretically, spread to encompass the whole universe; second, the psychopaths at the central bank can essentially buy everything that exists in the universe. The entire “one” of the Paleolithic can thereby be usurped by the separated, substitute “one,” and Elohim can be usurped by those who feed the separated, substitute energy flow. In other words: they would make themselves God.
The way things are set up economically right now, it is impossible to opt out; impossible to move backwards to a gold standard and then to the real ecological energy flow; and any forward movement within the current system can only hasten the planet’s demise, and ours along with it.
The solari concept offers an absolutely ingenious alternative. Fiat currencies were dissociated from natural resources and attached to debt in order to make profit — a thoroughly extractive process — more efficient at concentrating wealth-energy-gold into the hands of the psychopathic would-be apex predator gods. But that dissociation-and-debt scheme also means there’s nothing to stop ordinary people extracting profit from those at the top. That is what a solari does. And moreover, the profit it extracts from the top gets reinvested in increasing natural resources and quality of life, and it counts these as wealth and value on par with, or even surpassing, the wealth and value of hoarding currency notes.
An ordinary corporation turns living systems into profits, thereby causing widespread death. A solari turns profits into living systems, thereby healing death neighborhood by neighborhood.
For me, solari represents a step toward realigning economics with Elohim. It gives life and life systems, and people who value these, a tool to out-compete death systems within the context of civilization. Followed to its ultimate conclusion, capitalism in its current form can only lead to death. Solari’s ultimate conclusion would be so much life we’d find ourselves reintegrated with nature, with Elohim, just by default.
Q&A, As Best I Can
Trust. Vera brought up the question of trust: how do people know their money is safe if they lend to and/or invest in their neighbors locally, without a bank intermediary to protect their investments?
Catherine used to refer to this issue as “building financial intimacy.” Her groundwork for this assumed a greater level of starting wealth than I certainly have, and probably most people reading this blog have, so I think for us it would mean starting at a lower level. Personally, I envision a group of people sharing their whole financial picture with each other, absolutely everything, and working together to not only figure out ways to help each other out of debt, but to hold each other accountable for not diverting income into things that will be detrimental.
The example I used in my previous post was that of savers getting .5% interest on their CDs reinvesting some of that money to help credit card debtors pay down their debts faster. The debtors pay the savers 10% interest, or half what the bank charges; and in that way the debtors get out of debt faster while the savers earn massively greater interest on their savings investment. In this particular instance, it would be entirely appropriate for the debtors to demonstrate a solid history of repayment, while the saver-investors need to demonstrate ways they are moving out of participating in tapeworm economics — for example by banking and shopping locally, boycotting egregious corporations, or what-have-you.
Over time as people work together they will build trust, and as more people join the ranks more trust will be created among community members. It’s an ongoing process that may start small, but has really powerful potential for real change.
Money availability and local alternatives. Shawn wrote in with the comment:
Given the weakness of the economy as a whole and the direction it is going in I don’t believe there are enough funds to get the pattern really rolling… I much prefer the LETSystem which requires only record keeping and communication. I’ve been building a model that will work within a local food growing operation but have yet to come close to perfecting it.
For the time being there is still plenty of money in the system. The Fed has been printing money at a ghastly, frightening pace the last couple of years, so much so that many people more knowledgeable than I fully expect hyperinflation and/or massive asset bubbles (like the housing bubble) in the not-too-distant future. My own view is that there is still time to make solari principles happen. Catherine’s view was that local investment offers one of the safest places to park one’s money in light of changing economic conditions, because the less dependent a community is on the global economy, the better it will be able to weather economic storms.
A LETSystem is certainly compatible with solari. I personally think it’s an awesome idea, particularly because it manages to almost totally divorce whole chunks of its local economy from the sinking globalization ship. But I think it doesn’t go far enough, because people still need money to pay taxes and to conduct trade with other communities. The same holds true for any kind of local scrip — as long as it does not pin its value to that of the national currency.
On a side note, I know a lot of people are gung-ho about Berkshares, but I think its a poorly designed system. It is pinned directly to the dollar, which means it ultimately serves to concentrate the dollar’s problems in the community; and, it is designed to be worth 10% less than the dollar, which means anyone using Berkshares is automatically operating at a 10% loss over currency notes. From a financial and business standpoint Berkshares do more harm than good.
How The Stock Structure Works. Vera asks another pertinent question:
“The solari raises money for its various projects by selling stock against the value of its database”… What does it mean? Does facebook sell its info, and would a solari sell the data gathered?
First, stocks work by making whoever buys them partial owner of whatever they represent. That’s why they’re also called “shares” — a stockholder shares ownership of whatever asset the stocks are issued against. So, the purchase of one solari stock would give the stockholder one share of ownership over the database. When someone gets a dividend check, that is his/her share of the profit generated by the asset.
Facebook does indeed sell its information, and that is one of the major ways it makes money. It sells the information to marketers, the CIA, whoever has use for it. But the solari’s database would be completely transparent, so there wouldn’t be any way of making money on the sale of information directly. Instead, the solari would have to package the information in a way that people would be willing to buy. So for example, it could put together a case study of some particular investment scheme that analyzes its success and weaknesses; it could write an annual forecast detailing areas of investment opportunity; it could write another annual report detailing various spending habits of the community that would be of interest to retailers and local farmers (e.g., “our community’s love of heirloom tomatoes leveled off last year, but interest in goat cheeses continued to grow”); it could charge for preparing specific subsets of data (e.g., only the information pertaining to schools or to black market activities). Those are just examples, but the information could be packaged up in any way that’s useful.
Those kinds of reports, by the way, sell for hundreds if not thousands of dollars each. It is not at all unusual for a business or an investor to drop $500 on a market report.
Private investors’ trust of public investment. Laurent from France comments:
a) the “private money” is always reluctant to link a potential profit to “public” decisions, espacially if they have no right to vote.
b) this type of “solari” exist in France. They are called ” Societe d’economie mixte” . Some of them work well and have contributed to rebuilding communities after wars or crises. But most of them don’t work well because private investors have run away from “public managers” who are not honest or not efficient…
The main thing to remember is that even though a solari may be investing in projects that benefit the community, it is in no way linked to any government agency or initiative. So therefore investment money comes in on the strength of the solari’s ability to generate profits — it just happens that the solari’s profits come from doing things that help, not harm.
I didn’t know the French already had corporations like this up and running in France. I will definitely research this thank you so much for the tip!
Okay that’s a hella lot of writing for one day, but hopefully I’ve been able to illuminate the solari concept, at least as far as I understand it, somewhat better.
I have to say I’m a little bit surprised by the level of interest. I’ve been slowly but surely trying to get my own wee biz back up and running, after having the opportunity to hear some feedback I plan to continue blogging about this stuff more directly over there. Hopefully I’ll have that site live in the next couple of weeks — for sure, I will post about it when it’s up.
Finally, thanks everyone for a great conversation!