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International Currencies Increasingly Rejected in the Face of Inflation

International Currencies Increasingly Rejected in the Face of Inflation

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Currency collapse is hardly something new. Especially when that currency is backed by nothing. In G. Edward Griffin’s seminal work, The Creature From Jekyll Island, he states that once the “business of banking” by fiat began:

This led immediately to what would become an almost unbroken record from then to the present: a record of inflation, booms and busts, suspension of payments, bank failures, repudiation of currencies, and recurring spasms o economic chaos. (pg. 184)

Since this story of banking is so oft-repeated, there are also a fair number of examples of how prosperity — or at least stability and self-sufficiency — was restored afterward. In nearly every case, it came from desperate, but determined individuals who shrugged off the shackles of central banking, and either returned to the currency they used previous to government hijacking, restored pre-money barter systems, or created something entirely new.

The modern-day, planet-wide collapse of fiat currencies is providing additional real-time examples of how forsaken citizens are taking matters into their own hands. Let us look at just the two most affected: Greece and Spain.

Greece

It is a travesty that the nation where democracy and gold-backed coinage was first developed should become the poster child of a whirling black hole of debt and dependency brought on by autocratic rule. Regardless, despite the austerity riots filling city streets to make demands, there are indications that some communities are finished with demanding anything from a provably corrupt government that is literally foreign to their best interests.

The video below illustrates the rebirth of diverse means of exchange such as time banks, barter networks, barter currency, and “priceless” commodities in Greece:

Spain

The Daily Mail reports on a town of 3,000 called Villamayor de Santiago, where “rebellious” locals have reintroduced the peseta in a project to thwart the failing euro after inflation has driven up the price of essential goods 43 per cent. The cost of bread is up by 49 per cent, milk 48 per cent, and the price of potatoes is up 116 per cent. All while a third of this small town is out of work.

Around 30 shops in the historic town, 75 miles south-east of Madrid, started accepting pesetas last month after urging customers to dig out any old notes and coins they had forgotten about.

(…)

News quickly spread, and shoppers from neighbouring villages and towns have been flocking there to spend the old currency.

After a one-month field test, the enthusiasm for the plan has ensured its renewal. Meanwhile, four other Spanish towns have reintroduced the peseta, as the country goes through an employment crisis worse than that of Greece, and the country’s credit rating has been knocked down another two notches.

America

The two modern examples of Greece and Spain, echo America’s own colonial history. Following China, America was the second location in the world to test fiat currency at the behest of the British Empire. The story is fully recounted in Chapter 8 of The Creature From Jekyll Island and is well worth a full read, but the salient point is that once colonists were repeatedly subjected to hyperinflation and depression through the overprinting of money, as well as having been subjected to broken promises and tyrannical rule by the Bank of England through the removal of coins, barter became a means of exchange and survival. Tobacco was the first commodity, but nearly anything of intrinsic value served equally well in restoring a semblance of power to individuals as a means for their self-determination.

Later, the colonists who disobeyed government dictates brought out their limited supplies of hoarded coins and re-built from the ground up using sound economic principles. Those colonies which used sound money, such as Massachusetts, won trade from fiat-money colonies like Rhode Island.

As Griffin states:

After the colonies had returned to coin, prices quickly found their natural equilibrium and then stayed at that point, even during the Seven Years War and the disruption of trade that occurred immediately prior to the Revolution. There is no better example of the fact that economic systems in distress can and do recover rapidly if government does not interfere with the natural healing process. (pg. 160)

And Ben Franklin proclaimed that King George III taking away the ability of the colonies to create their own currency was the true reason for the Revolutionary War:

The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction. The inability of colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the prime reason for the Revolutionary War.

And this is the good news: what’s old seems to be new again; citizens within collapsed economies are once again turning their backs on centralized international government, ignoring their unjust policies, and instead are returning to the far simpler and more logical means of self-sufficiency and prosperity — their own inherent community strength built upon real production and trade between individuals. In short, decentralization.

Americans would do well not to forget that the actions taken by individuals in other severely collapsed countries are those also entrenched in America’s history. Let us all observe closely, then, how the first dominoes that have fallen in the latest cycle of depression are choosing to right themselves; for it would be at our peril to ignore history, and the momentum that already has pushed others toward the same foregone conclusion.

Our forgetfulness is perhaps the root cause of our repeated inability to sustain ourselves, until another collapse scenario forces us to take action.

For an instructive case study in the risks imposed on nations by international banking interests, as well as how anyone can survive the inevitable aftermath, please view the story of Argentina below:

SOURCE

Doctors unsure why thyroid cancer cases on the rise

Doctors unsure why thyroid cancer cases on the rise

By Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star

– Thyroid cancer, which affects about 11 people per 100,000 each year, seems to be on the rise. It’s a trend that baffles medical researchers.

Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez, recently had her thyroid removed for what doctors thought was a cancerous nodule. After the operation, they learned the mass was not cancer.

National Cancer Institute statistics suggest that in recent years the number of cases of this often curable cancer has increased by about 6.5%. Over a decade, that has added up to make thyroid cancer the fastest-increasing cancer, says Tod Huntley, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon with the Center for Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy in Indianapolis.

“Ten years ago, if I saw four new thyroid cancer patients a year, it would have been a lot,” says G. Irene Minor, a radiation oncologist with Indiana University Health Central Indiana Cancer Center. “Now sometimes I see that many in a month, and I have seen three in a week.”

Thyroid cancer is more common in women younger than 45, Minor said. Doctors don’t know why that’s the case, but thyroid problems in general — such as hyper- or hypo-thyroidism — are more common in women.

The thyroid helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than men.

Why is it more prevalent?

Experts remain divided on the cause of the increase.
By the numbers

56,460: Estimated new U.S. cases
of thyroid cancer in 2012

1,780: Estimated deaths

Source: National Cancer Institute

Some attribute it to better screening. Many smaller tumors are picked up on ultrasounds or scans done for other reasons, says Michael Moore, a head and neck surgeon with Indiana University Simon Cancer Center.

Autopsies conducted on people who died for non-thyroid-related reasons reveal that as many as 80% of people older than 60 have a thyroid lump or malignancy that went undiagnosed, Moore says.

Some think that better screening alone can’t explain the increase in thyroid cancer. A recent study showed that the increase is not just in smaller tumors, which might have to do with detection, but also in larger ones, Huntley says.

“There is definitely something going on,” he says. “How much is due to increased surveillance and detection and how much is due to an actual biological change in disease prevalence, we don’t know, but we know it’s both.”

Obesity, radiation exposure and diets low in fruits and vegetables are three potential culprits, Huntley says. People who are overweight have a 20% increase in thyroid cancer; those who are obese have a 53% increase. The more dental X-rays a person has, the higher the risk, studies show.

Often, thyroid cancer has no symptoms but is diagnosed when a person or his physician notices a lump in the neck. When symptoms do occur they can include difficulty swallowing or the sensation of a lump in the throat or voice changes.

Amber Skipper, 29, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, had felt something in her neck but thought it was a swollen lymph node. She had been prone to bronchitis and fatigue, but she attributed that to being a working mother with two small children.

When she learned she had cancer, she vowed to fight it. Numbers were on her side. The five-year survival rate for thyroid cancer is 97%.

In October 2010, Skipper, of Westfield, Ind., had her thyroid and many lymph nodes removed and underwent treatment with radioactive iodine. She now takes a daily replacement thyroid hormone pill.

Separated from family

Because the iodine is radioactive, Skipper had to be isolated from her family for seven days. She ached to see her two young daughters, now 4 and 2, as well as her husband, Ryan, who would leave her food outside her door.

Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez, recently had her thyroid removed for what doctors thought was a cancerous nodule. Only after the operation did they decide the mass was not cancer.

In the year since her operation, Skipper started eating more organic foods and taking vitamins. Doctors may not be able to tell her why she got cancer, but she wants to make sure she stays healthy. She also decided to become a medical assistant to help others who are sick.

Her second iodine isolation, which lasted two days, was harder than the first. Her daughters were old enough to miss her.

At the end, she got the answer she wanted: She is cancer-free.

Says Huntley: “If you had to pick a cancer, this is what you would pick.”

SOURCE

Oil and the Falklands – the Saga Continues


Oil and the Falklands – the Saga Continues

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Written by John Daly

Like some dimly remembered Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, pitting Hardy British tars against perfidious foreigners, the Falklands periodically recycles into the gaze of bemused international observers every decade or so.

Since the brief 1982 war between Argentina and Britain, the issue of sovereignty of the Falklands has lurked beneath the internationals diplomatic surface, an irritant but hardly threatening to reignite a new round of hostilities. Three decades on from that unfortunate confrontation the issue of the Falklands is again roiling Argentinean-British relations over the possibility that the archipelago contains beneath its surrounding waters something of value – oil.

British oil group Rockhopper Exploration has unveiled optimistic plans for a $2 billion oil infrastructure investment in the Falkland Islands announcing on 14 September that it expected to start pumping oil in 2016 from its four licensed Sea Lion concessions totaling 1,500 square miles, with a projected production rate of roughly 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2018. Rockhopper Exploration said the fifth well in the Sea Lion complex “had found a high quality reservoir package and oil column.”

This roseate picture is somewhat clouded by several facts, including that currently Rockhopper Exploration has on hand a mere $170 million, enough to pay for two more scheduled wells. Nevertheless, Rockhopper Exploration shares, which have outperformed the European index of oil and gas companies by 14 percent since August, were up 1.1 percent in early trading after the company’s announcement.

A second element in this picture is a sobering fact that while both British and Argentinean companies have drilled a handful of exploratory wells in the water surrounding the Falklands, only Rockhopper Exploration has discovered petroleum.

And thirdly last but certainly not least is the issue of the islands sovereignty, contested by both Argentina and Britain for the last 198 years.

While various City pundits excitedly speculate that the Falklands is to become another North Sea, the above facts taken together indicates at the very least a far greater degree of risk in underwriting Rockhopper Exploration’s ambitious program.

So if the Falklands oil potential is so promising, then why are the international major oil companies not involved? The answer is in brief that they have looked at the islands’ potential and given a pass.

According to a US embassy cable dating from February 2010 and leaked last year by Wikileaks, “ExxonMobil International chairman Brad Corson told us he does not believe there is enough oil on the Falkland Islands continental shelf to be profitable, citing Shell’s earlier oil exploration attempts which they abandoned.”

Argentina is not taking the news lightly, declaring its intention following Rockhopper Exploration’s to both file an official complaint against Britain for oil exploration activities in Falklands/Malvinas disputed waters before the United Nations Decolonization Committee along with inviting the U.N. Special Committee of the 24 on Decolonization Chairman Francisco Carrion-Mena of Ecuador to visit Argentina to hold a meeting on the issue in Buenos Aires.

The Falklands now have the dubious distinction of joining the list of contested offshore maritime oil and natural gas concessions spewed by two or more countries.

These include a growing dispute in the eastern Mediterranean between Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Turkey, the final disposition of the Caspian’s offshore waters currently contested by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan Russia and rising confrontation in the East China Sea over the region’s offshore waters which involves the Spratly island’s more than 750 islands, islets, atolls and cays, whose various portions of offshore waters are claimed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

What makes the Falklands Argentinean-British dispute unique however is the fact that in 1980 to the countries actually fought a brief vicious war over the archipelago and its surrounding waters. At the time oil exploration of the Falklands waters had yet to begin, and the node and Argentinian writer Jorge Borges famously compared the dispute to “two bald men fighting over a comb.” The stakes are much higher now.

Common sense would seem to indicate that the best way for might be a possible joint venture between the two nations to explore their offshore waters oil potential hand, if any significant reserves are found jointly to develop them with an agreed-upon program of profit sharing, but given the increasingly strident claims sole sovereignty over the archipelago this seems increasingly unlikely.

If therefore Rockhopper Exploration’s drilling programs prove successful, a number of developments seem increasingly clear. First is that, depending on the political temperature in Buenos Aires, future activities may well need the protection of the Royal Navy.

Secondly is Latin America’s increasingly lining up behind Argentina’s claims to the islands, and Brazil recently stated that it would not allow British exploration vessels to use Brazilian ports to exploit any possible oil developments in the Falklands, Rockhopper Exploration will need to source virtually all of the necessary equipment from the other side of the Atlantic as well as possibly Britain, both major expenses for a company which states it has only $170 million of available cash. Furthermore should development go forward, then a total lack of access to Latin American hydrocarbon infrastructure support means that Rockhopper Exploration will probably be forced to use a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to store and transport its output.

Last but not least, the de facto boycott by Latin America of any future Falklands oil production means that the oil at the very least will have to transit South Atlantic before reaching potential markets, further increasing both development costs and shrinking potential profits.

In light of the above, a joint venture would seem to be the most common sense way to proceed, but given the rising jingoistic nationalism flaring over the issue in both London and Buenos Aires, don’t count on any time soon.

While in history is rife with examples of daring oil explorers making fortunes, the number of examples shrink dramatically when major oil companies give a pass on projected production and you future output is situated in a contested site which less than 30 years ago was a “hot” war zone.

By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

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