BRIC´s bank

BEIJING
In July 2014, nations known as the “BRICS,” Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, announced the creation of a new, $100 billion development bank (NDB). The project is aimed at lending money to developing nations for investments, much like how the American and European-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank operate.

Liu Haifang, a professor at Peking University’s Center for African Studies, said the bank will provide developing countries with more options for financing.


BRICs Bank To Rival World Bank and IMF and Challenge Dollar Dominance

Outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, after just three days ago dismissing the idea of a BRICs created, new global multi lateral bank, has come around and endorsed a BRICs bank in an interview with the FT.

Zoellick had initially said that a BRICs bank and potential rival to the western and U.S. dominated IMF and World Bank, would be difficult to implement given competing BRIC interests.

He acknowledged that a BRICs bank was being created and said that the World Bank supported such a bank. He said that not having Russia and China as part of “the World Bank system” would be a “mistake of historic proportions”.

Leaders of the BRICS nations meeting in India appear to have made much progress in creating a new global bank as the emerging economies seek to convert their growing economic might into collective diplomatic influence.

The five countries now account for nearly 28% of the global economy, a figure that is expected to continue to grow.

On Thursday morning, President Hu Jintao of China, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia , President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India shook hands at the start of the one day meeting in New Delhi.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-02/markets/31272774_1_gold-prices-world-gold-council-world-bank#ixzz1ra85vRk9

BEIJING
In July 2014, nations known as the “BRICS,” Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, announced the creation of a new, $100 billion development bank (NDB). The project is aimed at lending money to developing nations for investments, much like how the American and European-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank operate.

Liu Haifang, a professor at Peking University’s Center for African Studies, said the bank will provide developing countries with more options for financing.


BRICs Bank To Rival World Bank and IMF and Challenge Dollar Dominance

Outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, after just three days ago dismissing the idea of a BRICs created, new global multi lateral bank, has come around and endorsed a BRICs bank in an interview with the FT.

Zoellick had initially said that a BRICs bank and potential rival to the western and U.S. dominated IMF and World Bank, would be difficult to implement given competing BRIC interests.

He acknowledged that a BRICs bank was being created and said that the World Bank supported such a bank. He said that not having Russia and China as part of “the World Bank system” would be a “mistake of historic proportions”.

Leaders of the BRICS nations meeting in India appear to have made much progress in creating a new global bank as the emerging economies seek to convert their growing economic might into collective diplomatic influence.

The five countries now account for nearly 28% of the global economy, a figure that is expected to continue to grow.

On Thursday morning, President Hu Jintao of China, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia , President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India shook hands at the start of the one day meeting in New Delhi.

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-02/markets/31272774_1_gold-prices-world-gold-council-world-bank#ixzz1ra85vRk9

money supply

Published on Apr 23, 2013 Thanks to Grey for his help on this video:http://www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey Thanks to Jack for helping with the intro:http://www.youtube.com/user/jackvslife LINKS AND SOURCES TO LEARN MORE BELOW. music by http://www.youtube.com/JakeChudnow GlobalRichList.com: http://www.globalrichlist.com/ Type currency symbols: http://currencies.typeit.org/ money changing hands [PDF]: http://www.swiftinstitute.org/sites/d… murder … Continue reading

Published on Apr 23, 2013

Thanks to Grey for his help on this video:http://www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey
Thanks to Jack for helping with the intro:http://www.youtube.com/user/jackvslife
LINKS AND SOURCES TO LEARN MORE BELOW.

music by http://www.youtube.com/JakeChudnow

GlobalRichList.com: http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Type currency symbols: http://currencies.typeit.org/

money changing hands [PDF]: http://www.swiftinstitute.org/sites/d…

murder states in the US: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/…

Bank robbery average [PDF]: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/ric/p…

currency left laying around:

http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-ec…
http://highstreetmoney.co.uk/2012/11/…
http://www.nhscleveland.org/blog/post…

cost of Arrested Development on Netflix (one season):http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/0…

Money supply articles:

http://dollardaze.org/blog/
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/r…

Money Supply on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_su…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraction…

amazing fake US money (SUPER DOLLARS):https://blog.hypovereinsbank.de/schoe…

is burning money illegal? http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7148966/ns/…

KLF burns a million quid [videos]:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5mNzO…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6q4n5…

KLF burns a million quid [articles]:

http://blog.fxcc.com/the-klf-were-lig…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_Found…

money burning on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_bu…

burn money the Steve Spangler way:http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/e…

Tyga eats money : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eaaTQ…

Dirty Money:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contamin…
http://www.scientificamerican.com/art…

court case about drugs on money: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-cir…

termite eat money: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

“money” on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money

fiat money:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemm…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_money

“fiat” etymology: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?s…

monopoly money color comparrison to US currency:http://25.media.tumblr.com/927603e8c4…

tinkerbell effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinkerbe…
http://www.reddit.com/r/RedditDayOf/c…
http://www.robbieparks.com/2011/08/26…

RELATED “Thomas Theorem”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_t…

REVERSE tinkerbell effect:

http://www.volokh.com/2003_01_26_volo…
http://www.volokh.com/2009/03/11/tink…

 

Continuar leyendo “money supply”

Zeitgeist

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [ˈtsaɪtɡaɪst] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1]Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

*

2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

*

3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

*

5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

Submission Guidelines & Tips

All submissions should be your original work. Please do not simply copy/paste information (online articles, links, etc.) and submit it as-is. (Excerpts from, or links to, other material may be used within the article, and should be cited appropriately.)
Writing Guidelines (click to see examples):
Announcement — General announcements, major events, procedural or structural changes, etc. concerning the Movement as a whole.
Chapter Update — This should be used by Chapter Coordinators (or those whom they have designated) to submit status reports and announcements related to their specific chapter.
Editorial — An editorial is a written work that generally presents the opinion or view of the author or publishing entity. Technically, there is no minimum length for an Editorial, but it should be long enough to effectively communicate your position to the reader. Try not to make it so long that your readers lose interest before they even get through it. Most editorials are around 1-2 pages long, single-spaced.
Media Project — If you have a work of art such as a comic/ drawing, poem, song, etc. that you’d like to share, please submit it to The Zeitgeist Media Project. Material submitted to that site will be periodically published on the Blog, under this category.
Meeting Minutes — In addition to the recordings, at least one person per meeting should take Notes and post them here in a fairly neat and structured format, sometime after the meeting is over. The basic info should include:
-Date and time of the meeting
-The purpose of the meeting (Agenda)
-Meeting coordinator(s)
-Assigned action items and people assigned
-Any decisions and/or changes made
-A link to the audio and/or video recording (If there is no recording, please specify.)
News Article — A purely factual submission based on news reports and relevant events around the world, as opposed to an Editorial, which includes the opinion/view of the author.
Narrative — An original story based on relevant events, experiences, etc. that may be true or fictional.
Press Release — A general statement, typically in response to a major event, that is published on behalf of the entire Movement. Click here for detailed instructions on how to properly write and format a Press Release.
Project Update — This entry is pertinent for keeping members of the Movement updated on any new projects that are developing, as well as existing projects as they progress. Submit a Project Update any time you or your peers/ teammates begin a new project, or make any progress, breakthroughs, major changes, etc. to an existing one. Be sure to check these entries regularly before starting a new project to ensure that there is not already one in place that you can simply join. This will hopefully help alleviate any scattered or diluted efforts, and instead combine them into strong, streamlined projects and teams. (We may want to consider including an RSS feed that links to all the individual project team PMS sites. That way the people from those teams will only have to update one site, their PMS site, and it will feed onto the newsletter site automatically.)
Participation Guidelines:
Please remain courteous and constructive when posting content or comments.
For information on how your participation affects your karma, please read the Comment moderation FAQ.
—————–Helpful Tips for Getting Your Submission(s) Approved:——————-
Please note that these are by no means requirements, but your careful consideration of these factors will not only assist the Editors in sorting through boat loads of material, but will also give our readers, and ultimately the Movement as a whole, a greater sense of community and rapport, as well as improving the overall Blog experience.
Use your real name: We want to be able to share your content with the world, including third-party organizations when applicable, perhaps even for further publishing on other mediums. It’s more feasible to do that when we are recommending an article by John Smith, Dr. Jane Doe, or Betty Sue, than if we have to recommend an article by “Cupcake” or “JRider” with no background or reliable method to contact him or her, assuming it is a “him,” or assuming it is a “her.”
Update your profile information: It might give Editors (and your readers 😉 a better understanding of your material if they have even a minimal background on who you are. The general blog community might be eager to share an amazing piece of work written by Betty Sue the aquarist, or Bob Jones the carpenter… rather than a random article written by an anonymous stranger. Readers may be more likely to subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed (found on the Site Map) and “follow” you or your activity. You can create a well-deserved presence for yourself and your material in the blog community.
Use your real photo: Same as above. We are trying to build a community and we can’t do that without building relationships. In fact, we’re striving for a social system that will one day facilitate global empathy, meaning the whole world is the community. People generally remember, or at least distinguish, names and faces better than icons and aliases. More importantly, people connect with names and faces better than generic visuals and inanimate labels. The next time someone has an idea for a project, they’ll probably remember to contact “Billy Johnson with the red hat, smiling kind of crooked” for help – much better than they’ll remember “Alex1988 with a sunflower, or was it a rainbow, or a Skittle, or… what was it again? Something with colors. I think twelve other people had the same icon…” (We don’t know anyone who has the same face as you. Do you? 😉
Provide sources: The members of the Newsletter Team, while extremely dedicated, only have but so much time on their hands to fact check everything so that we don’t get burned for publishing something that’s inaccurate. If you provide links and sources to back up whatever it is that you’re talking about, you’ve saved us a lot of work. Not to mention your article will be just plain awesome, and more enjoyable for the reader. People will be saving it in their favorites for future reference… just wait and see. You may also want to provide convenient hyperlinks to any organizations, events, etc. that you may be mentioning in your article. (When possible, don’t forget to use the ‘Insert/edit link’ tool to hyperlink the words themselves, so it looks nice and neat without all of that ugly URL formatting.) For example:
– You can learn more about this by viewing Peter Joseph’s lecture. – OR –
– You can learn more about this by viewing Where Are We Going, a great lecture by Peter Joseph.
…instead of…
– You can learn more about this by watching Peter Joseph’s lecture, Where Are We Going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPPnCW6sMo
(Once or twice is fine, but scattered randomly throughout the entire article, not so much…)
Take pride in your work: Comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, we have a proof-reading team in place for that, but don’t be so sure it will even make it to proofing if we can’t understand it. If the content is unclear or the meaning is lost, due to poor spelling and/or grammar, it may get rejected by Editors beforehand. Most likely, if the content is excellent, but the spelling and grammar needs work, Editors may send it back to you for clarification or improvement. However, the bottom line is, with the amount of submissions that will be coming in, it’s far more productive to publish polished submissions that require the least amount of additional work, and perhaps get to the other stuff later.
Spice it up: Nobody likes a bland article. Don’t forget to upload a thumbnail image for your submission, and feel free to add any images throughout the body that may enhance the reader’s experience. (Okay, don’t get too crazy. Keep the images relevant, and placed neatly (resized if needed) so that we can still read your lovely submission without having a seizure.) You may also add a video if applicable. Granted, the written content itself may be as “colorful” as can be, but it’s usually the imagery that initially draws people in to read it in the first place. Get creative, and remember, images from The Zeitgeist Media Project are available for anyone to use for free. 🙂
(Ooh, look! See what we did there, with the hyperlink? 😉
Carefully categorize your content: When filling out the submission form, don’t ignore the drop-downs. (They’re there for a reason. 😉 Even if you’re stumped, please try your best to accurately choose the submission ‘Type’ that best describes your work, and the ‘Category’ that it most closely relates to. It’s much more difficult (and time-consuming) for Editors to sort through and approve a bunch of generic items submitted as “Other,” than it is for them to pinpoint content for what it is, and go from there. Similarly, if it is in fact an “Other” (something that’s not listed in the drop-down), go ahead and categorize it as “Other” and don’t fudge it to be a “Press Release” or “Project Update,” because if it isn’t one, Editors will probably assume that you don’t actually know how to write a Press Release, or that your so-called “Project” doesn’t make any sense, and reject it. Always choose a Location when applicable, and don’t forget to add tags.
That’s all for now, but we may add more Helpful Tips as they arise. Happy Blogging!
Sincerely,
The Zeitgeist Movement Newsletter/Blog Team

Be sure to check out this 220 page Source Guide below which sources virtually everything. As requested by Zeitgeist creator Peter Joseph, I have replaced the original Zeitgeist movie with well over 1.25 million views with this updated for 2010 version. The meat and potato’s of it are the same, there’s some new information and the quality of it is improved upon.

Link to source guide:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF…

https://signup.netflix.com/Movie/Zeitgeist-Moving-Forward/70225009?country=1&..

Zeitgeist (German pronunciation: [?tsa?t?a?st] ( listen)) is “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” [1] Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.

The term is a loanword from German Zeit – “time” and Geist – “spirit” (cognate with English “ghost”).

The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel‘s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).


-The Zeitgeist Movement, defined:

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an explicitly nonviolent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events.

In short, the Chapters are essentially what define The Movement in operation. Each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, rational, practical solutions we have at our disposal to update (and evolve) our current social system, enabling a truly responsible, sustainable, global society to emerge for the betterment of all the world’s people.

TZM’s education and community projects seek the intermediate goal of obtaining a unified, worldwide movement for social transformation, regardless of country, religion, political party or any such traditionally divisive distinction. TZM recognizes a common, logical value identification pertaining to our survival, sustainability and public health which inherently transcends such culturally divisive issues. Human unification, rationalized out our inalterable, shared “common ground”, is a foundational premise.

From that understanding, a self-organizing Train of Thought with respect to how we can technically (and culturally) accomplish a new social system unfolds. The various stages of this transformation (“Transition”) is not something that can be readily predicted given the uncertain state of the world today and it is not the scope of this document to expand upon the issue. What we do know is that we are experiencing great destabilization in the world due to the inherent flaws of our current social structure and the problems emerging appear to be only getting worse as time goes on. It is from this uncertainty and loss of confidence in the current model that support for a new social system might be achieved, in part.

Therefore, The Movement’s work is to expand upon this Train of Thought and publicly communicate the resulting ideas, structures and methods with the goal of establishing a new cultural “zeitgeist”; hence a new, workable social model and common value system that ensures our socio-evolutionary fitness, our safety, our freedom, our quality of life and our prosperity.

-Your Role:

To become involved in The Movement does not require any monetary contribution, submission of personal information, forms to complete or any such traditional notion of membership. Volunteer organizers and Coordinators keep no databases outside of our simple web-based mailing lists which one is certainly encouraged to register with for updates.

TZM is modeled as a “see through” entity which merely represents a Data Set & Train of Thought at its core. It is holographic and decentralized in structure to assure its effect and warrant against historically notable problems of group identification. TZM has no offices, no location, no leaders, no benefactors and no static affiliations. This Movement is really about your personal understanding of the world along with how much you identify with the observations, logical inferences and solution oriented Train of Thought denoted in The Movement’s materials. If you agree with this need to change our system, please join a Chapter, learn, educate and help contribute.

TZM currently has many community projects, events and publications, as will be explained in this document. There is also a great deal of flexibility and creativity in how a person, group or Chapter chooses to engage and develop new ideas. The Movement is emergent in form and while, again, a basic Train of Thought persists, the tactics and specifics of the Movement’s work will inevitably undergo change.

In summery, we all have the same role here: To educate ourselves; educate others; create an organized critical mass and establish tactics to enable a transition to a new social design – a design which is arrived at in form by way of The Scientific Method.

As will be mentioned later in this document, a public, open-source project known as the Global Redesign Institute will exist to create and promote direct technical design changes for social organization, building upon the most advanced understandings in the fields of Science and Technology we have at the time.

-Educational Resources:

Since 2009, a great deal of data has been generated and output through various communication mediums. Radio Shows, PDFs, Films Presentations, Articles & Lectures are the most common (our information is always free). For someone new to TZM, the following list contains suggested references for review:

2012 ORIENTATION GUIDE This is a detailed summation of virtually all relevant points for TZM. It exists in Video and expanded PDF form, the latter of which contains extensive sources and appendices.

[ http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/orientation ]

WEBSITE FAQ TZM Global’s FAQ answers various questions, including Movement Structure specifics.

[ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq#faq1 ]

LECTURES & “TOOL KIT” The Global Website’s ever emerging “Tool Kit” contains many video and text presentations, often with extended sources and references as well. While this content is predominantly in English at this time, many other Non-English presenters operate across the world can be found via the Internet. Please search for your local International Chapter’s Website and review their media as well. http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/tool-kit

Apart from these core sources, community development is large and there is always an ongoing flow of information occurring via the TZM Official Blog, Zeitnews and other participatory mediums that will be discussed in Part 3 of this guide.

-Movement Participation:

A “Member” is loosely defined as one who agrees with the tenets and approach of TZM and in turn participates in their local Chapter’s awareness actions, whether online or local. However, all Members of The Movement have their education about relevant issues as the number one requirement to proceed.

To reiterate, true “Membership” is really a subscription to the Train of Thought at hand. Hence, it is about understanding and supporting The Movement’s logical tenets and working in whatever way one can to bring about awareness and change in a responsible, strategic and nonviolent manner. More specifically, one’s communication and personal skills are important to consider here. Generally speaking, personal specialization of focus has a symbiotic social role as a characteristic of our “Group Mind”, if you will. In other words, some of us are good at some things and others are good at other things. It is the collaboration of our unique skills and interests that creates the larger order realizations. Finding your place in TZM is unique to you and your skill set.

For example, if you feel you have broad organisational skills, working with or becoming a Regional Coordinator for your Chapter might be of interest. If you are technically inclined with a background in Engineering or the like, The Global Redesign Institute might be a comfortable place. If you find your skills are more communicative and artistic, The Zeitgeist Media Project and/or Media Festival might be a good place to contribute. If you are a skilled writer and researcher, joining and contributing focused articles to TZM’s Blog might be of interest. If you are a good public speaker, give presentations at your Monthly Town Halls and/or ZDay in your region on relevant subjects. You get the idea. Focus on what you are good at.

*

2- Joining a Chapter

-Overview:

Very simply, TZM Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement Member Groups, organized in Tiers. From “Top to Bottom”, the current Chapter Tiers are:

International—[ Countries ]
State/Province—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given Country ]
City/Town—[ Next lower degree regional distinctions within a given State or Province ]

As noted before, your involvement with your Regional Chapter is what essentially defines you as a Member of The Movement in form. You can go to the Global Website [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/ ] to see the Current Top Tier Chapter list [ http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters ]. You can access the respective State (USA) or International Website and from there you should be able to locate the closest sub-chapter near you.

If you cannot find a Country, State or City Chapter for your region, it is then suggested you start one. Virtually all chapters have begun not by appointment, but by personal initiative. A simple review process to understand the seriousness and understanding of the applicant is assessed by existing Coordinators on a per case basis.

-Public Actions:

There are three reoccurring Public Actions for Chapters which are encouraged but naturally contingent upon the size and resources of the group: (1) Our annual “Zday” event; (2) our monthly “Town hall” event and (3) the annual Zeitgeist Media Festival. These will be discussed more in Part 4. However, each region also often has different community customs and possibilities. For example, in Los Angeles California, beach tent “vendor” posts are common on the boardwalk.

In Canada, many do street activism on a person to person basis. Some Chapters even host their own internet radio shows and produce their own media/newsletters based on custom research.

Part of working with your Chapter is being creative and explorative. In the end, the basic goal is still the same: Expose the root problems of our current system and then show the logic behind a new one.

-Meetings:

Chapters naturally need to have the ability to enable communication among its Members, along with other Chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic Meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings.

TZM Global provides an Internet-Based Voice/Chat program which can be found here: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/teamspeak

Chapter Meetings typically occur in Tiers with Chapter Coordinators on their respective level. For example, the North Carolina State Chapter, assuming no sub-chapters (city) within it, would have a meeting with all NC Members present. However, in the meetings of the next largest Tier, the Country level (USA in this case), there would only be Coordinators of each State, not all the USA Members. This narrowing is for the sake of comprehension as it would be too difficult to have Global Meetings with tens of thousands of Members at once.

-Questions: If you have a question relating to Chapter Organization which is not answered in the follow links: http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/faq http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/chapters

You may email directly via the Contact Form on this page: (select “Chapters” category): http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/contact-us

*

3- Websites, News & Project Contribution

Apart from signing up with the Global and Regional Mailing lists, there is a wealth of emerging information outlets and interactive mediums. These Websites and Projects are community driven, always free and have proven to be extremely effective. Most items noted below can be found via the Global Website’s home page as well.

-TZM Official Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

Member contribution via TZM Blog is a very effective way to give you, your chapter and important issues exposure. Many categories of interest from Economics, History, Science and Activism enable a tremendous platform for expression as an online newsletter and blog. Relevant articles that gain popularity also are highlighted via our Press Releases.

Please see the How-To Guide to start contributing: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/contribute

-TZM Global Radio: Started in 2009, TZM Global Radio is a Weekly Radio program presented by various coordinators/lecturers of The Zeitgeist Movement in a rotational fashion. It is here where ongoing public updates, news and announcements occur. Each Show occurs at 4pm Eastern Standard time every Wednesday via BlogTalkRadio.com: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

Info and Archive Page: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/radio_shows

Older Archives: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zmglobal

*Note: While the Global Radio Show is the most conclusive, other programs of great merit also exist, including Programs via the “Zeitgeist Broadcasting Network” (ZBN): http://www.stickam.com/zbnlive

-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/ The Zeitgeist Media Project is an online hub for Artistic Media Content which can be uploaded and shared. The media types range from Video, Visual Art, Music/Audio, Literature and more. This content is mostly Creative Commons and is designed to be downloaded and used by other members in their work.

-ZeitNews: http://www.zeitnews.org/

Started in 2010. Zeitnews is an amazing source for advanced Scientific Research. Subjects of interest include Energy, Transportation, Biotechnology, Robotics and other important issues that relate science and technology to human prosperity.

Members may also contribute to the online publication: http://www.zeitnews.org/about/

-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/

The Global Redesign Institute is a Think Tank project currently in development. This advanced concept will create a virtual projection, region by region of what an accurate and up to date social infrastructure would comprise, sidestepping the traditionally inhibiting factors of money and establishment preservation. This project is about designing and expressing what is technically possible – not what is “affordable”. More on this project will be announced when it becomes operational.

-”Why I Advocate” Campaign: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/why-i-advocate

The Zeitgeist Movement’s “Why I Advocate TZM” Media Testimonial Campaign is a video blog project which gives personal perspectives and faces to The Zeitgeist Movement. This is very simple. Members simple make a public video about why they feel the need to change the world and identify with The Zeitgeist Movement. This is also a good way to show community support in general.

Current submissions can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+I+advocate+zeitgeist&aq=f

-Social Networks: TZM Global Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Twitter: http://twitter.com/tzmglobal TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

Apart from the traditional Social Networks listed above, a hybrid project known as “TZM Social” has also emerged: http://www.tzmnetwork.com/

All members are encourage to review and contribute to these social mediums considering how powerful they have become culturally as a whole. Also, Regional Chapters and Projects are encouraged to initiate their own Networks via these medium for their own promotional purposes. ( I.E. a Youtube account assigned to your local chapter for display of your Town Halls, Zday events and the like.)

*

4- TZM Events and Activism

As noted prior, Chapters and hence Members have a few core (Global) periodic actions which are encouraged. These include, ZDay, ZMedia Fest and Monthly Town halls. Paired with these actions is our ZDrive food bank support and similar resource charity programs to help those in need. (more below*)

-Zeitgeist Day (“ZDay”): http://zdayglobal.org/

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDay for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement. A Zeitgeist Day event can take many forms, ranging from a simple showing of DVD media; to full lectures and interactive question-and-answer events with Chapter Organizers in various regions. The 2010 ZDay there were 330 sympathetic events occurred in over 70 countries worldwide.

Each year, there is a “Main Event” which serves as a highlight, with more publicly notable speakers and guests. In 2009 and 2010, the Main event was in NYC; In 2011 it was in London, UK & in 2012 – Vancouver BC.

Please review the Official ZDay Website for more information: http://zdayglobal.org/

-Town Halls: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

The Zeitgeist Movement’s Town Hall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global “Zeitgeist Day” (ZDAY) events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modelled after patterns proven effective by civil right’s movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM’s understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership. To learn more; submit an event for your regions, please see: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/townhalls

-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, “The Zeitgeist Media Festival” engages the artistic community and its power to change values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe or suspect pursuit.

Participating in The Media Festival does not mean each event must meet some strict requirement of focus. However, participation does require that each act understand and agree with a general train of thought with respect to human and social sustainability.

The Zeitgeist Media Festival occurs in the Summer of each year. More info: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/site/index-1.html

-*ZDrive: The Zeitgeist Movement’s Charity Drive or “ZDrive” is a program to engage local social service institutions in conjunction with ongoing awareness events. The most common have been our Food Drives and Clothes Drives. For example, the Zeitgeist Media Festival Globally raised via donation about 12,000 meals for the poor in 2011. Resource donations are encouraged more than monetary contributions to avoid corruption.

How you conduct your ZDrive is contingent upon your region and its needs. Typically, a suggested donation of resources is welcomed upon entry to your event, such as the bringing of canned food for your local Food Bank. Since each region has different programs, it is suggested you contact your local charities to see how your Chapter can help.

So, if possible, every time you have a ZDay, Town Hall or Media Event, please conduct a ZDrive as well and have attendees bring resources for local charity.

In turn, please keep track of the statistical results of your charity work and email it us so we can keep a running global total of its effect. This is not only a wonderful action to help the many communities now in desperate need of support, it gives TZM a layer of traditional identification for those who might otherwise see the social ideas as “too radical” to be practical.

Stats email: media@thezeitgeistmovement.com

*

5- Advice and Summary

The preceding data should give new Members a great deal to think about and work with. It is important to remind the reader that TZM is a movement of ideas and values at its core. It is also Social in its very nature. In many ways, those who understand, volunteer and work with this global community to help improve the world are a proxy of how our society could be if social responsibility and environmental respect finally rose to its needed place.

However, there is no denying that what is sought in this journey is likely the most difficult and controversial undertaking one can have. No one said this would be easy. Yet the level of difficulty at hand means nothing compared to the dire nature of its necessity. This Movement is not for the weak of heart or those without self-confidence. One factor that makes internal community support critical to our success is the reality that we are not likely to see much external support for sometime to come. Historically, those ahead of their time who have sought to change the world have always been deemed subversive, agitators or even terrorists. Society and its established values seems to not look well upon broad social changes regardless of how much it may be needed or the logic of its merit.

Regardless, this changes nothing for those of us who actually care and as time moves forward, the trends of social turmoil and destabilization seem to indicate that a larger and larger subculture is emerging which recognizes this need for this larger scale change and it is the role of TZM to help make sure a viable solution is put forward as this evolution continues.

-Mission Statement: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

the petrodollar

Blood and Oil
Featuring Michael T. Klare

The notion that oil motivates America’s military engagements in the Middle East is often disregarded as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. In Blood and Oil, bestselling author and Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare challenges this conventional wisdom and corrects the historical record. The film unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years — rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable.

In the end, Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates.

Michael T. Klare

Michael T. Klare, one of the world’s most renowned experts on energy and security issues, is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst) and Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS), positions he has held since 1985. He is the author of thirteen books, including, most recently Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (Metropolitan Books, 2008), Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004), and Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (Metropolitan Books, 2001).

Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, global resource politics, and world security affairs. He is the defense correspondent of The Nation magazine and a Contributing Editor of Current History. He also regularly contributes to various publications including Foreign Affairs, ForeignPolicy, Harper’s, International Security, Le Monde Diplomatique, Newsweek, Scientific American, Technology Review, Third World Quarterly, and World Policy Journal. Professor Klare received his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University in 1963 and 1968, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the Union Institute in 1976.


Published on Sep 15, 2013

Canadian billionaire businessman Ned Goodman predicts the end of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency. He says the transition out of the U.S. Dollar will become, “…quite ugly.” He delivered the lecture at Cambridge House’s Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 on Thursday, September 12, 2013.


Published on Jul 24, 2013

Follow us on Facebook:     http://facebook.com/StormCloudsGathering
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Donate: http://StormCloudsGathering.com/donate
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Get weekly email updates:  http://tinyurl.com/naturalrightsnewsl…
—–
When will the economy collapse? Well in order to answer that question we have to first look at the geopolitical variables holding the dollar up, in particular the petrodollar.
—–
The derivatives black hole: http://business.time.com/2013/03/27/w…

America’s economic death spiral: http://moneymorning.com/ob/economist-…

65% of Americans think hard times are ahead:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/159596/ame…

The markets are in a bubble. The mainstream is in denial:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-…

Iraq pulled off of the Dollar in 2000: http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/me…

The real reason for the Libyan war: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr…

Iran pushing to end the petrodollar: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/co…

Russia sending warships to Syria: http://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-s…


Two more countries have joined in the trend started by China and Japan recently, where they bypass the dollar and instead use their own currencies directly in trading. Iran and Russia have made a trade agreement on January 7th which moves the stakes ever closer to the end of the US’s reign as the reserve currency.

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Russia have replaced US Dollar with their own currencies in their trade ties, a senior Iranian diplomat announced on Saturday.

Speaking to FNA, Tehran’s Ambassador to Moscow Seyed Reza Sajjadi said that the proposal for replacing US Dollar with Ruble and Rial was raised by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.
“Since then, we have acted on this basis and a part of our interactions is done in Ruble now,” Sajjadi stated, adding that many Iranian traders are using Ruble for their trade deals.
“There is a similar interest in the Russian side,” the envoy stated, adding that that Moscow is against unilateral sanctions on Iran outside the UN Security Council, specially the recent sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank (CBI).


China and Japan Getting Away From Dollars

By Dec 27, 2011, 5:23 PM Author’s Website 

The run on the dollar that could sink its value and bring surprise hyperinflation to the U.S. has just become a lot more likely. China and Japan are moving to trade each other’s currencies directly rather than use the U.S. dollar as an intermediary. This won’t lead to an immediate shift away from the dollar. After all, the greenback has constituted around 60% or so of central banks’ foreign currency holdings since at least 1995, according to the IMF’s COFER report.

The change does signal to other nations that America’s main trading partners will favor the illiquidity risk of less-traded currencies over the valuation risk of holding dollars tied to unsustainable spending. China and Japan do have debt problems of their own, but they may be wagering that two drunks trying to stand each other up over the Sea of Japan is less tiresome than levitating a much larger drunk off of his back from across the Pacific Ocean. They may even print some more of their own currencies just to have the liquidity to buy each others’ bonds. The Fed isn’t the only player around that can do quantitative easing.

The U.S. financial elite should take a breather from its construction of swap lines for the eurozone to pay attention to this news. America’s deficit spending since 9/11 constituted a transfer of wealth from Asian central banks and sovereign wealth funds to shareholders in U.S. defense contractors and Medicare vendors. Trade partners who opt out of petrodollar recycling will make it harder for the U.S. to peddle dollar-denominated debt outside the U.S., because there will be fewer nations willing to keep an inventory of dollars to buy it.

In any case, China and Japan have just quietly removed a source of demand for dollars. This deal is another sign of higher U.S. interest rates to come, hyperinflation or not.

Blood and Oil
Featuring Michael T. Klare

The notion that oil motivates America’s military engagements in the Middle East is often disregarded as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. In Blood and Oil, bestselling author and Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare challenges this conventional wisdom and corrects the historical record. The film unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years — rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable.

In the end, Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates.

Michael T. Klare

Michael T. Klare, one of the world’s most renowned experts on energy and security issues, is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst) and Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS), positions he has held since 1985. He is the author of thirteen books, including, most recently Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (Metropolitan Books, 2008), Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004), and Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (Metropolitan Books, 2001).

Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, global resource politics, and world security affairs. He is the defense correspondent of The Nation magazine and a Contributing Editor of Current History. He also regularly contributes to various publications including Foreign Affairs, ForeignPolicy, Harper’s, International Security, Le Monde Diplomatique, Newsweek, Scientific American, Technology Review, Third World Quarterly, and World Policy Journal. Professor Klare received his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University in 1963 and 1968, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the Union Institute in 1976.


Published on Sep 15, 2013

Canadian billionaire businessman Ned Goodman predicts the end of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency. He says the transition out of the U.S. Dollar will become, “…quite ugly.” He delivered the lecture at Cambridge House’s Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 on Thursday, September 12, 2013.


Published on Jul 24, 2013

Follow us on Facebook:     http://facebook.com/StormCloudsGathering
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/collapseupdates
Donate: http://StormCloudsGathering.com/donate
Visit our website: http://StormCloudsGathering.com
Get weekly email updates:  http://tinyurl.com/naturalrightsnewsl…
—–
When will the economy collapse? Well in order to answer that question we have to first look at the geopolitical variables holding the dollar up, in particular the petrodollar.
—–
The derivatives black hole: http://business.time.com/2013/03/27/w…

America’s economic death spiral: http://moneymorning.com/ob/economist-…

65% of Americans think hard times are ahead:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/159596/ame…

The markets are in a bubble. The mainstream is in denial:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-…

Iraq pulled off of the Dollar in 2000: http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/me…

The real reason for the Libyan war: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr…

Iran pushing to end the petrodollar: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/co…

Russia sending warships to Syria: http://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-s…


Two more countries have joined in the trend started by China and Japan recently, where they bypass the dollar and instead use their own currencies directly in trading. Iran and Russia have made a trade agreement on January 7th which moves the stakes ever closer to the end of the US’s reign as the reserve currency.

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Russia have replaced US Dollar with their own currencies in their trade ties, a senior Iranian diplomat announced on Saturday.

Speaking to FNA, Tehran’s Ambassador to Moscow Seyed Reza Sajjadi said that the proposal for replacing US Dollar with Ruble and Rial was raised by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.
“Since then, we have acted on this basis and a part of our interactions is done in Ruble now,” Sajjadi stated, adding that many Iranian traders are using Ruble for their trade deals.
“There is a similar interest in the Russian side,” the envoy stated, adding that that Moscow is against unilateral sanctions on Iran outside the UN Security Council, specially the recent sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank (CBI).


China and Japan Getting Away From Dollars

By Dec 27, 2011, 5:23 PM Author’s Website 

The run on the dollar that could sink its value and bring surprise hyperinflation to the U.S. has just become a lot more likely. China and Japan are moving to trade each other’s currencies directly rather than use the U.S. dollar as an intermediary. This won’t lead to an immediate shift away from the dollar. After all, the greenback has constituted around 60% or so of central banks’ foreign currency holdings since at least 1995, according to the IMF’s COFER report.

The change does signal to other nations that America’s main trading partners will favor the illiquidity risk of less-traded currencies over the valuation risk of holding dollars tied to unsustainable spending. China and Japan do have debt problems of their own, but they may be wagering that two drunks trying to stand each other up over the Sea of Japan is less tiresome than levitating a much larger drunk off of his back from across the Pacific Ocean. They may even print some more of their own currencies just to have the liquidity to buy each others’ bonds. The Fed isn’t the only player around that can do quantitative easing.

The U.S. financial elite should take a breather from its construction of swap lines for the eurozone to pay attention to this news. America’s deficit spending since 9/11 constituted a transfer of wealth from Asian central banks and sovereign wealth funds to shareholders in U.S. defense contractors and Medicare vendors. Trade partners who opt out of petrodollar recycling will make it harder for the U.S. to peddle dollar-denominated debt outside the U.S., because there will be fewer nations willing to keep an inventory of dollars to buy it.

In any case, China and Japan have just quietly removed a source of demand for dollars. This deal is another sign of higher U.S. interest rates to come, hyperinflation or not.

Bitcoin

Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin’s sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.


Published on Oct 29, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags – oh so quaint – can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come.”

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term “unit of account”—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering

Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin’s sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.


Published on Oct 29, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags – oh so quaint – can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come.”

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term “unit of account”—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering

Wall Street accountability

Published on May 13, 2012

Rep. Alan Grayson questions the FED inspector General where $9 TRillion dollars went… and Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman hasn’t a clue…Dunno whether to laugh or cry – I am still getting over the shock and have watched 4 times – LISTEN carefully to what she says – THEY HAVE NO JURISTRICTION to investigate the fed!!!


Wall Street banks took down the economy by creating hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities that were toxic and often designed to fail. They knew that it was just a matter of time before mortgage foreclosures would destroy the value of those securities. Yet, all the largest U.S. banks packaged and sold toxic mortgages to investors all over the world, who were told these were sound investments. Sometimes the very same banks joined with hedge funds to profit by betting that the toxic securities would collapse. Meanwhile, they pumped up the housing market until it burst all over us.

Because of this fraudulent activity the entire economy crashed, killing 8 million jobs in a matter of months due to no fault of those displaced workers. It was the biggest, most corrupt and most profitable casino in human history. And now 2012 has passed without a single person responsible for the mess losing his or her job, or forfeiting their outrageous pay packages. As the New York Times recently reported:

Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages.
Estimates of potential costs from these cases vary widely, but some in the banking industry fear they could reach $300 billion if the institutions lose all of the litigation. Depending on the final price tag, the costs could lower profits and slow the economic recovery by weakening the banks’ ability to lend just as the housing market is showing signs of life.
The banks are battling on three fronts: with prosecutors who accuse them of fraud, with regulators who claim that they duped investors into buying bad mortgage securities, and with investors seeking to force them to buy back the soured loans.
“We are at an all-time high for this mortgage litigation,” said Christopher J. Willis, a lawyer with Ballard Spahr, which handles securities and consumer litigation.
Efforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.
Last month, lawyers for some of the nation’s largest banks descended on a federal appeals court in Manhattan to make their case that the agency had waited too long to sue. A favorable ruling could overturn a decision by Judge Denise L. Cote, who is presiding over the litigation and has so far rejected virtually every defense raised by the banks, and would be cheered in bank boardrooms. It could also allow the banks to avoid federal housing regulators’ claims.
At the same time, though, some major banks are hoping to reach a broad settlement with housing agency officials, according to several people with knowledge of the talks. Although the negotiations are at a very tentative stage, the banks are broaching a potential cease-fire.
As the housing market and the nation’s economy slowly recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street is vulnerable on several fronts, including tighter regulations assembled in the aftermath of the crisis and continuing investigations into possible rigging of a major international interest rate. But the mortgage lawsuits could be the most devastating and expensive threat, bank analysts say.
“All of Wall Street has essentially refused to deal with the real costs of the litigation that they are up against,” said Christopher Whalen, a senior managing director at Tangent Capital Partners. “The real price tag is terrifying.”
Anticipating painful costs from mortgage litigation, the five major sellers of mortgage-backed securities set aside $22.5 billion as of June 30 just to cushion themselves against demands that they repurchase soured loans from trusts, according to an analysis by Natoma Partners.
But in the most extreme situation, the litigation could empty even more well-stocked reserves and weigh down profits as the banks are forced to pay penance for the subprime housing crisis, according to several senior officials in the industry.
There is no industrywide tally of how much banks have paid since the financial crisis to put the mortgage litigation behind them, but analysts say that future settlements will dwarf the payouts so far. That is because banks, for the most part, have settled only a small fraction of the lawsuits against them.
JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, for example, agreed last month to settle mortgage securities cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $417 million, but still face billions of dollars in outstanding claims.
Bank of America is in the most precarious position, analysts say, in part because of its acquisition of the troubled subprime lender Countrywide Financial.
Last year, Bank of America paid $2.5 billion to repurchase troubled mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $1.6 billion to Assured Guaranty, which insured the shaky mortgage bonds.
But in October, federal prosecutors in New York accused the bank of perpetrating a fraud through Countrywide by churning out loans at such a fast pace that controls were largely ignored. A settlement in that case could reach well beyond $1 billion because the Justice Department sued the bank under a law that could allow roughly triple the damages incurred by taxpayers.
Bank of America’s attempts to resolve some mortgage litigation with an umbrella settlement have stalled. In June 2011, the bank agreed to pay $8.5 billion to appease investors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Pimco, that lost billions of dollars when the mortgage securities assembled by the bank went bad. But the settlement is in limbo after being challenged by investors. Kathy D. Patrick, the lawyer representing investors, has said she will set her sights on Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo next.


The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported Tuesday that Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, a dogged consumer advocate whose critique of Wall Street excess was a centerpiece of her campaign, will join the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street spent boatloads of money to prevent Warren’s election, but now, as the Center for Responsive Politics noted, she will have oversight of the rules and regulations under which banks operate:


Dear Friend,
Yesterday’s announcement that S.E.C. Chair Mary Schapiro is resigning presents President Obama with a very telling choice and a very important opportunity.
The S.E.C. is one of the top regulators of Wall Street, so the president can and should ensure it’s led by a champion for accountability on Wall Street.
But we shouldn’t at all be confident the president won’t appoint someone more interested in placating Wall Street firms than taking them to task.
For example, the New York Times reported that Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of global wealth management at Merrill Lynch and a former top executive at Citigroup, is being considered for the position.1
President Obama has already named Elisse Walter, a current S.E.C. commissioner originally appointed by George W. Bush, as the new chair of the S.E.C. But Walter, who can serve through 2013 without Senate approval, will in all likelihood be a temporary replacement who serves only until another nominee can be confirmed by the Senate.
So we need to speak out now to push President Obama to name the right kind of person to the job.
M.I.T. economist and New York Times economic blogger Simon Johnson recommends three people to chair the S.E.C.: former TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky; former Senator Ted Kaufman; and the leader of the pro-reform group Better Markets, Dennis Kelleher.2 To Johnson’s list we’d add the former head of the F.D.I.C., Sheila Bair.
As Johnson pointed out in a recent blog post, the historical moment we’re in requires not just someone who will diligently enforce the law, but also someone who will combat the pernicious Wall Street spin that has become part of the conventional wisdom.
Johnson says:
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all big donors to the Obama campaign in 2008 … but they did not make the top 10 list this year. Now would be a perfect time for the president to clean up Wall Street with a strong S.E.C. that is focused on enforcing the law and overturning dangerous parts of the conventional wisdom.3
Wall Street has countless well paid spinmeisters and well funded public relations efforts that have sought to absolve Wall Street crooks of any responsibility for the financial collapse. According to their Orwellian version of history, the people who gambled in the Wall Street casino with taxpayer money didn’t do anything wrong. And according to their vision, the best thing the government can do to get the economy on track is just get out of Wall Street’s way.
That would be a dangerous perspective for one of Wall Street’s top cops.
Neil Barofsky has actually put bankers in jail as both an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York and as Special Investigator General for the TARP program. A career prosecutor, he is one of the only people this decade who have prosecuted complex financial fraud.
Former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware is, according to Simon Johnson, “a consistent advocate for financial-sector reform and was one of the clearest voices during the 2010 legislative process that led to Dodd-Frank.”
Dennis Kelleher is, per Johnson, “a former senior Senate leadership aide with a great deal of political experience, including during the financial crisis and in the negotiations that led to Dodd-Frank, and now runs the pro-reform group Better Markets…No one has been a more effective advocate of implementing substantive reforms.”
Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Elizabeth Warren said that Blair “is a strong voice for Wall Street accountability and financial reform…[whose] leadership during the financial crisis made a real difference for working families…”4
You can bet that Wall Street is already lining up support for their preferred candidates. So we can’t afford to be silent.
Please speak out and help push Obama to appoint a chair of the S.E.C. who will be a real force for Wall Street accountability. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. “Schapiro, Head of S.E.C., Announces Departure,” New York Times, 11-26-12. 
2. “Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street,” New York Times, 11-15-12. 
3. Ibid. 
4. “Sheila Bair, Republican Former FDIC Chairperson, Endorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate,” Elizabeth Warren for Senate Press Release, 10-17-12.


Dear Friend,
Elizabeth Warren’s victory over Scott Brown means that Massachusetts will soon be represented by the strongest voice for Wall Street accountability in the Senate.
But Wall Street-friendly politicians and lobbyists in DC have started a whisper campaign to keep Warren off of the Senate Banking Committee — the one Senate committee that would most directly empower her to fight for consumers and stand up to Wall Street banks.
Don’t let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.
We’ve seen this before. Elizabeth Warren was effectively blocked from heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which she conceived of, advocated for and ultimately helped start up — by DC insiders who didn’t want such a strong advocate of banking reform in charge of the Wall Street watchdog she helped create.
She then ran for Senate and won. Now it’s up to us to have her back and ensure that when she gets to the Senate she can be the fierce and effective advocate we so desperately need.
Elizabeth Warren is a clear choice for the Senate Banking Committee. She is a respected Harvard professor and one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law who spent her career focused on the financial struggles of middle class families.
What’s more, she has proven time and again that that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to keep her off the Senate Banking Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hearing from banking industry lobbyists and conservative Democrats who don’t want Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee. Now he needs to hear from us.
Put simply, there are far too few people in power who are as ready, willing and able to stand up to Wall Street banks as she is.
And whether it’s speaking out against a secret bailout of AIG or demanding Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, resign from the Board of the New York Fed, she has continued to carry the torch to this day.
Warren accomplished all of this before she was elected to the Senate. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do if she’s allowed to fully leverage the legislative and oversight powers of a sitting senator on the main committee for Wall Street legislation.
Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


The lobbies write the bills. More people get in bankruptcy than graduate from college.

 To support her Massachusetts Senate Campaign, visit http://www.ElizabethWarren.com 

Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class. Series: “UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures” [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Business] [Show ID: 12620]

Published on May 13, 2012

Rep. Alan Grayson questions the FED inspector General where $9 TRillion dollars went… and Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman hasn’t a clue…Dunno whether to laugh or cry – I am still getting over the shock and have watched 4 times – LISTEN carefully to what she says – THEY HAVE NO JURISTRICTION to investigate the fed!!!


Wall Street banks took down the economy by creating hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities that were toxic and often designed to fail. They knew that it was just a matter of time before mortgage foreclosures would destroy the value of those securities. Yet, all the largest U.S. banks packaged and sold toxic mortgages to investors all over the world, who were told these were sound investments. Sometimes the very same banks joined with hedge funds to profit by betting that the toxic securities would collapse. Meanwhile, they pumped up the housing market until it burst all over us.

Because of this fraudulent activity the entire economy crashed, killing 8 million jobs in a matter of months due to no fault of those displaced workers. It was the biggest, most corrupt and most profitable casino in human history. And now 2012 has passed without a single person responsible for the mess losing his or her job, or forfeiting their outrageous pay packages. As the New York Times recently reported:

Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages.
Estimates of potential costs from these cases vary widely, but some in the banking industry fear they could reach $300 billion if the institutions lose all of the litigation. Depending on the final price tag, the costs could lower profits and slow the economic recovery by weakening the banks’ ability to lend just as the housing market is showing signs of life.
The banks are battling on three fronts: with prosecutors who accuse them of fraud, with regulators who claim that they duped investors into buying bad mortgage securities, and with investors seeking to force them to buy back the soured loans.
“We are at an all-time high for this mortgage litigation,” said Christopher J. Willis, a lawyer with Ballard Spahr, which handles securities and consumer litigation.
Efforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.
Last month, lawyers for some of the nation’s largest banks descended on a federal appeals court in Manhattan to make their case that the agency had waited too long to sue. A favorable ruling could overturn a decision by Judge Denise L. Cote, who is presiding over the litigation and has so far rejected virtually every defense raised by the banks, and would be cheered in bank boardrooms. It could also allow the banks to avoid federal housing regulators’ claims.
At the same time, though, some major banks are hoping to reach a broad settlement with housing agency officials, according to several people with knowledge of the talks. Although the negotiations are at a very tentative stage, the banks are broaching a potential cease-fire.
As the housing market and the nation’s economy slowly recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street is vulnerable on several fronts, including tighter regulations assembled in the aftermath of the crisis and continuing investigations into possible rigging of a major international interest rate. But the mortgage lawsuits could be the most devastating and expensive threat, bank analysts say.
“All of Wall Street has essentially refused to deal with the real costs of the litigation that they are up against,” said Christopher Whalen, a senior managing director at Tangent Capital Partners. “The real price tag is terrifying.”
Anticipating painful costs from mortgage litigation, the five major sellers of mortgage-backed securities set aside $22.5 billion as of June 30 just to cushion themselves against demands that they repurchase soured loans from trusts, according to an analysis by Natoma Partners.
But in the most extreme situation, the litigation could empty even more well-stocked reserves and weigh down profits as the banks are forced to pay penance for the subprime housing crisis, according to several senior officials in the industry.
There is no industrywide tally of how much banks have paid since the financial crisis to put the mortgage litigation behind them, but analysts say that future settlements will dwarf the payouts so far. That is because banks, for the most part, have settled only a small fraction of the lawsuits against them.
JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, for example, agreed last month to settle mortgage securities cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $417 million, but still face billions of dollars in outstanding claims.
Bank of America is in the most precarious position, analysts say, in part because of its acquisition of the troubled subprime lender Countrywide Financial.
Last year, Bank of America paid $2.5 billion to repurchase troubled mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $1.6 billion to Assured Guaranty, which insured the shaky mortgage bonds.
But in October, federal prosecutors in New York accused the bank of perpetrating a fraud through Countrywide by churning out loans at such a fast pace that controls were largely ignored. A settlement in that case could reach well beyond $1 billion because the Justice Department sued the bank under a law that could allow roughly triple the damages incurred by taxpayers.
Bank of America’s attempts to resolve some mortgage litigation with an umbrella settlement have stalled. In June 2011, the bank agreed to pay $8.5 billion to appease investors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Pimco, that lost billions of dollars when the mortgage securities assembled by the bank went bad. But the settlement is in limbo after being challenged by investors. Kathy D. Patrick, the lawyer representing investors, has said she will set her sights on Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo next.


The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported Tuesday that Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, a dogged consumer advocate whose critique of Wall Street excess was a centerpiece of her campaign, will join the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street spent boatloads of money to prevent Warren’s election, but now, as the Center for Responsive Politics noted, she will have oversight of the rules and regulations under which banks operate:


Dear Friend,
Yesterday’s announcement that S.E.C. Chair Mary Schapiro is resigning presents President Obama with a very telling choice and a very important opportunity.
The S.E.C. is one of the top regulators of Wall Street, so the president can and should ensure it’s led by a champion for accountability on Wall Street.
But we shouldn’t at all be confident the president won’t appoint someone more interested in placating Wall Street firms than taking them to task.
For example, the New York Times reported that Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of global wealth management at Merrill Lynch and a former top executive at Citigroup, is being considered for the position.1
President Obama has already named Elisse Walter, a current S.E.C. commissioner originally appointed by George W. Bush, as the new chair of the S.E.C. But Walter, who can serve through 2013 without Senate approval, will in all likelihood be a temporary replacement who serves only until another nominee can be confirmed by the Senate.
So we need to speak out now to push President Obama to name the right kind of person to the job.
M.I.T. economist and New York Times economic blogger Simon Johnson recommends three people to chair the S.E.C.: former TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky; former Senator Ted Kaufman; and the leader of the pro-reform group Better Markets, Dennis Kelleher.2 To Johnson’s list we’d add the former head of the F.D.I.C., Sheila Bair.
As Johnson pointed out in a recent blog post, the historical moment we’re in requires not just someone who will diligently enforce the law, but also someone who will combat the pernicious Wall Street spin that has become part of the conventional wisdom.
Johnson says:
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all big donors to the Obama campaign in 2008 … but they did not make the top 10 list this year. Now would be a perfect time for the president to clean up Wall Street with a strong S.E.C. that is focused on enforcing the law and overturning dangerous parts of the conventional wisdom.3
Wall Street has countless well paid spinmeisters and well funded public relations efforts that have sought to absolve Wall Street crooks of any responsibility for the financial collapse. According to their Orwellian version of history, the people who gambled in the Wall Street casino with taxpayer money didn’t do anything wrong. And according to their vision, the best thing the government can do to get the economy on track is just get out of Wall Street’s way.
That would be a dangerous perspective for one of Wall Street’s top cops.
Neil Barofsky has actually put bankers in jail as both an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York and as Special Investigator General for the TARP program. A career prosecutor, he is one of the only people this decade who have prosecuted complex financial fraud.
Former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware is, according to Simon Johnson, “a consistent advocate for financial-sector reform and was one of the clearest voices during the 2010 legislative process that led to Dodd-Frank.”
Dennis Kelleher is, per Johnson, “a former senior Senate leadership aide with a great deal of political experience, including during the financial crisis and in the negotiations that led to Dodd-Frank, and now runs the pro-reform group Better Markets…No one has been a more effective advocate of implementing substantive reforms.”
Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Elizabeth Warren said that Blair “is a strong voice for Wall Street accountability and financial reform…[whose] leadership during the financial crisis made a real difference for working families…”4
You can bet that Wall Street is already lining up support for their preferred candidates. So we can’t afford to be silent.
Please speak out and help push Obama to appoint a chair of the S.E.C. who will be a real force for Wall Street accountability. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


1. “Schapiro, Head of S.E.C., Announces Departure,” New York Times, 11-26-12. 
2. “Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street,” New York Times, 11-15-12. 
3. Ibid. 
4. “Sheila Bair, Republican Former FDIC Chairperson, Endorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate,” Elizabeth Warren for Senate Press Release, 10-17-12.


Dear Friend,
Elizabeth Warren’s victory over Scott Brown means that Massachusetts will soon be represented by the strongest voice for Wall Street accountability in the Senate.
But Wall Street-friendly politicians and lobbyists in DC have started a whisper campaign to keep Warren off of the Senate Banking Committee — the one Senate committee that would most directly empower her to fight for consumers and stand up to Wall Street banks.
Don’t let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren.
We’ve seen this before. Elizabeth Warren was effectively blocked from heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which she conceived of, advocated for and ultimately helped start up — by DC insiders who didn’t want such a strong advocate of banking reform in charge of the Wall Street watchdog she helped create.
She then ran for Senate and won. Now it’s up to us to have her back and ensure that when she gets to the Senate she can be the fierce and effective advocate we so desperately need.
Elizabeth Warren is a clear choice for the Senate Banking Committee. She is a respected Harvard professor and one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law who spent her career focused on the financial struggles of middle class families.
What’s more, she has proven time and again that that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to keep her off the Senate Banking Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hearing from banking industry lobbyists and conservative Democrats who don’t want Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee. Now he needs to hear from us.
Put simply, there are far too few people in power who are as ready, willing and able to stand up to Wall Street banks as she is.
And whether it’s speaking out against a secret bailout of AIG or demanding Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, resign from the Board of the New York Fed, she has continued to carry the torch to this day.
Warren accomplished all of this before she was elected to the Senate. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do if she’s allowed to fully leverage the legislative and oversight powers of a sitting senator on the main committee for Wall Street legislation.
Speak out to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give Elizabeth Warren a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


The lobbies write the bills. More people get in bankruptcy than graduate from college.

 To support her Massachusetts Senate Campaign, visit http://www.ElizabethWarren.com 

Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class. Series: “UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures” [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Business] [Show ID: 12620]

THE MONEY MASTERS

THE MONEY MASTERS is a NON-FICTION, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure. The modern political power structure has its roots in the hidden manipulation and accumulation of gold and other forms of money. The development … Continue reading

THE MONEY MASTERS is a NON-FICTION, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure. The modern political power structure has its roots in the hidden manipulation and accumulation of gold and other forms of money. The development of fractional reserve banking practices in the 17th century brought to a cunning sophistication the secret techniques initially used by goldsmiths fraudulently to accumulate wealth. With the formation of the privately-owned Bank of England in 1694, the yoke of economic slavery to a privately-owned “central” bank was first forced upon the backs of an entire nation, not removed but only made heavier with the passing of the three centuries to our day. Nation after nation has fallen prey to this cabal of international central bankers.

Iraq was a bottomless pit of money for grabs

Budget Cuts?? Hell, We’ve Lost More Money Than That.July 31, 2011 By Krell Here is a picture showing the size of a billion dollars in 100 dollar bills, relative to a person. Those smaller stacks in front of the huge pallets of bills are 100…

Budget Cuts?? Hell, We’ve Lost More Money Than That.

Here is a picture showing the size of a billion dollars in 100 dollar bills, relative to a person. Those smaller stacks in front of the huge pallets of bills are 1000 dollars and 1 million dollars, again in 100 dollar bills.



During the earlier part of the Iraq war, seems the operation was “cash strapped” so to speak because they needed some money to throw around. But this is not the kind of cash strapped that you or I could just go the ATM machine a couple of times for. This was SERIOUS CASH STRAPPED.

So the U.S. government decided to send off some money to Iraq in some military cargo planes. Pallets and pallets of 100 dollar bills loaded up into c-130 Hercules transport planes. Now I don’t know if everyone has seen the size of a C-130 plane but it is HUGE! They put tanks and helicopters in these things, no problem.

The amount of cash sent over? Around 12 billion dollars in 100 dollar bills, 361 tons of 100 dollar bills for a total of 21 loaded C-130 planes of cash. The largest transfer of cash in the history of the United States by far!

Do you want to know something crazier? They don’t know where most of it went.

Poof… gone… disappeared. As Rep. Waxman asked in 2007:

“Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone?”

12 Billion dollars! 

Let’s add up some numbers to show just how large 12 billion dollars can be.

How about we use the new deficit reduction bill and add up all the cuts to various agencies. I mean… it was so important to get these cuts in that the government basically shut down from doing anything else for weeks.
List of some cuts in the  Continuing Resolution Discretionary Budget Bill

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

The Department of Labor is set to lose $870 million for the rest of the fiscal year from job training and creation programs,community college curriculum for dislocated workers and a fund that aims to prepare workers for new green jobs.

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The Women, Infants and Children program – which provides food and infant formula to low-income families- would receive $504 million less than it did last year.

THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation would take a cut of $53 million which means it would fund 134 fewer grants to outside researchers than it did in fiscal year 2010. That cut would translate to a loss of NSF support for 1,500 researchers and support personal.

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

The resolution would cut $942 million from the funds enacted in fiscal 2010 for the Community Development Fund, which includes block grants designed to help rehabilitate housing and invest in primarily low-income neighborhoods.

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Ha Ha… made you look. You don’t think any cuts are going to come from here did you? The Defense Department would be allocated $513 billion, a $5 billion increase from 2010 levels.
Okay, what does that add up to? WHAT? We’re only 2.37 billion and that’s only 4 C-130 transport planes worth. We still got lots more to equal those 20 planes.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

$148 million would be cut from programs to help juveniles avoid the criminal justice system

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

The measure would cut about 15 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency budget, decimating a program that provides money to states to reduce water pollution for a total of 1.35 billion dollars

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

The Department of the Interior could soon be prohibited from enforcing rules that protect animals such as wolves. Also a program that helps recover endangered species was slashed by $25 million, a 31 percent cut. And a wildlife grant that helps states manage at-risk species before they become endangered would be sliced by $28 million, also a 31 percent cut. Total of 53 million.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Cuts of $16.5 million from programs developing technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and $6.3 million from nuclear energy programs. Apparently those “Carbon Emission Free” nuclear plants take priority over…carbon emissions.
So that brings the total of the amount of cuts to 3.92 billion dollars. But still not even close to that Iraq cash flotilla of 12 billion

THE SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION

This well oiled machine is not going to receive any cuts at all. The Securities and Exchange Commission would receive a 7 percent increase in its budget or 1.185 billion to the agency, an increase of $74 million above the 2010 levels.

What could they possibly need more money for? Certainly not for audit forms or criminal investigations. Keep up the good work, you eagle eyed guardians of the wealthy.


U.S. Iraq inspector general report that concluded this week that $6.6 billion in shrink-wrapped cash the U.S. government previously feared had gone missing in the chaotic early days of the Iraq occupation has in fact been safely accounted for.
“The mystery of $6 billion that seemed to go missing in the early days of the Iraq war has been resolved, according to a new report,” CNN national security producer Charles Keyes reported Wednesday. “New evidence shows most of that money, $6.6 billion, did not go astray in that chaotic period, but ended up where it was supposed to be, under the control of the Iraqi government, according to a report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction or SIGIR.”
Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, had previously testified that as much as $6.6 billion of the $10 billion the United States shipped to Iraq had disappeared due to “weaknesses in [the Department of Defense’s] financial and management controls,” Keyes wrote, citing the bureaucratese from a previous SIGIR report.

The cash had in part been drawn from Iraq’s own international assets, accrued during the pre-war, UN-run Oil for Food program. It was flown to Iraq in the wake of the U.S. 2003 invasion; the idea was that it would help pay for the Iraq reconstruction and development efforts under the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S.-led occupation outfit that dissolved in 2004. The original idea was to store most of the money in accounts in the Central Bank of Iraq; U.S. occupation authorities also apparently stored a few hundred million in a vault at one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces they used as their headquarters for various cash needs.
After the Coalition Provision Authority dissolved in 2004, however, it wasn’t clear where the funds had gone, the previous SIGIR report said. But apparently, the money was properly transferred to accounts held at the Central Bank of Iraq, the new SIGIR report found.

“But the inspector general’s new report says almost all the $6.6 billion was properly handed over to Iraq and its Central Bank,” Keyes writes. “‘SIGIR was able to account for the unexpected [Development Fund of Iraq] funds remaining in DFI accounts when the [Coalition Provisional Authority] dissolved in June 2004,’ the new report says. ‘Sufficient evidence exists showing that almost all of the remaining $6.6 billion remaining was transferred to actual and legal [Central Bank of Iraq] control.'”

This is not to say that the mystery of all the billions and billions the U.S. spent in Iraq has been entirely resolved. The SIGIR report says that inspectors are still trying to piece together the fate of some of the few hundred million that U.S. officials stowed at one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces.

“While the bulk of the money was transferred to the Central Bank of Iraq, $217 million remained in a vault in a former presidential palace and was held by the U.S. Defense Department and most was doled out for a variety of projects and payrolls, the report says,” Keyes reported. A February 2008 SIGIR audit found that $24.45 million of the $217 million stored at the palace vault remained, and was later turned over to Iraq.

The next SIGIR report on DoD spending on contracting projects in Iraq is expected in January 2012–after the formal withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from the country.

190,000 weapons ‘missing in Iraq’

The US military cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to the Iraqi security forces, an official US report says.The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Pentagon cannot track about 30% of the weapons distributed in Iraq over the past three years.
The Pentagon did not dispute the figures, but said it was reviewing arms deliveries procedures.
About $19.2bn has been spent by the US since 2003 on Iraqi security forces.
GAO, the investigative arm of the US Congress, said at least $2.8bn of this money was used to buy and deliver weapons and other equipment.
Correspondents say it is now feared many of the weapons are being used against US forces on the ground in Iraq.
Discrepancies
The GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005.
MISSING IN IRAQ
AK-47 rifles: 110,000
Pistols: 80,000
Body armour pieces: 135,000
Helmets: 115,000
During this period, security training was led by Gen David Petraeus, who now commands all US forces in Iraq.
The GAO reached the estimate – 111,000 missing AK-47s and 80,000 missing pistols – by comparing the property records of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq against records maintained by Gen Petraeus of the arms and equipment he ordered.
Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary Mark Kimmitt told AFP the Pentagon was “reviewing policies and procedures to ensure US-funded equipment reaches the intended Iraqi security forces under the Iraq program”.
Weapons delay
The report comes as a political battle rages in Washington over the progress of the war in Iraq.
Gen Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are scheduled to report to Congress by mid-September on the success of efforts to halt sectarian violence and return Iraq to viable self-governance.
Meanwhile, at the end of July, the US Defence Department admitted that the US-led coalition in Iraq had failed to deliver nearly two-thirds of the equipment it promised to Iraq’s army.
The Pentagon said only 14.5m of the nearly 40m items of equipment ordered by the Iraqi army had been provided.
The US military commander in charge of training in Iraq has asked for help in speeding up the transfer of equipment.
Iraq’s ambassador to the US said the delays were hindering the fighting capacity of its armed forces.

http://www.trueworldhistory.info/ | A documentary on the privatisation of the Iraq war and the problems such policies have led to not least of all the creation of the militrary industrial complex. 

Democracy, Equality, and Redistribution

Democracy, Equality, and Redistribution

Adam Przeworski
Department of Politics
New York University
October 31, 2007

1 Introduction

Democratic citizens are not equal but only anonymous, indistinguishable by any traits they may possess. Democracy only places a veil over distinctions that exist in society. Even the one sense in which equality that can be said to characterize democracy equality before the law is derivative from anonymity: the law has to treat all citizens equally because they are
indistinguishable.

This norm of anonymity was circumvented in most early representative systems by an elaborate intellectual construction that justified… restrictions of suffrage. The argument held that the role of representatives is to promote the good of all, yet the intellectual capacity to recognize the common good and the moral qualities necessary to pursue it are not universal. These traits can be recognized by using some indicators, such as wealth, age, and gender.

Hence, relying on such indicators to restrict suffrage does not violate democratic norms. The logic of the argument is unimpeachable, but it is easy to suspect that it rationalized interests. This is the way it was perceived by those excluded, poor males and women, as they fought for political rights.

Yet even if political rights are universal, to ignore distinctions is to not to obliterate them. Democracy was a political revolution, but not an economic one. Should we be surprised that democracy turned out to be compatible with economic inequality? From its inception, representative institutions were haunted by the specter of the poor using their political rights to redistribute property. Should we be surprised that democracy did not undermine property, that the democratic revolution was never completed by being extended to the economic realm?

These three themes are developed below.

2 Aristocracy and Democracy

How did democracy reappear on the historical horizon and what did it mean to its proponents and opponents?

Since the emergence of modern democracy is the topic of Palmer’s (1959, 1964) monumental treatise, no more than a brief summary is necessary.

Palmer’s main point is that democracy was not a revolution against an existing system but a reaction against the increasing power of aristocracy. It was aristocracy that undermined monarchy; democracy outflanked it following in its footsteps. Palmer argues that (1) By the early eighteenth century, the aristocratic system of government was institutionalized in assemblies of
various forms, the participation in which was reserved to legally qualified… groups (constituted bodies) that always included hereditary nobility but in different places (countries, regions, principalities, cantons, city republics) also clergy, selected categories of burgers, and in Sweden even peasants. In all cases these bodies were politically dominated by hereditary nobility. (2) In the course of the century, these estate-based bodies increased their political influence. (3) At the same time, access to nobility, however it was de…nied in different places, became increasingly closed: nobility turned into
aristocracy. (4) The resulting aristocratic system suffered from several tensions, of which one was between birth and competence. (5) Politically crucial conflict was due to the exclusion from privilege of those who possessed all the qualifi…cations to participate wealth, talent, bearing except for birth. (6) Democracy emerged as a demand for access to these bodies, not as a movement against monarchy.

Hence, by the end of the eighteenth century, democracy was a slogan directed against legal recognition of inherited distinctions of social status.

Democrats were those who agitated against aristocrats or aristocracy.. As Dunn (2003: 10) observes, democracy was a reaction, above all, not to monarchy, let alone tyranny, but to another relatively concrete social category, initially all too well entrenched, but no longer plausibly aligned with social, economic, or even political or military, functions the nobility or aristocracy…. Democrat was a label in and for political combat; and what that combat was directed against was aristocrats, or at the very least aristocracy.”2 Thus, in 1794 a young Englishman described himself as being of that odious class of men called democrats because he disapproved of hereditary distinctions and privileged orders of every species (Palmer 1964: 22).

Could any further proof be required of the republican complexion of this system, wrote Madison in The Federalist # 39, the most decisive might be found in its absolute prohibition of titles of nobility. In France, the Constituent Assembly decided that aristocratic privilege was in conflict with the very principle of popular sovereignty (Fontana 1993: 119). The Batavian (Dutch) Republic established in 1796 required voters to swear an oath to the belief that all hereditary offices and dignities were illegal (Palmer 1964: 195). In Chile, General O’Higgins, the …first Director of the State, abolished
in 1818 all outward and visible signs of aristocracy (Collier and Sater 1006: 42).

Here is a puzzle. While democrats fought against aristocracy, either as a system of government (the original meaning of the word) or as a legal status (nobility), this struggle did not have to result in abolishing other distinctions. One distinction could have been replaced by another. The flagrant case is the Polish Constitution of 3 May 1791, which was directed against
aristocrats de…fined as large landowners, magnates, under the slogan of equality for the gentry at large (szlachta, which constituted about 10 percent of the population), while preserving a legal distinction of the latter. More generally, social traits that could serve as basis for legal distinctions were many: property owners and laborers, burgers and peasants, inhabitants of different localities, clergy and army, whites and blacks. Yet democrats turned against other distinctions. All the privileges, Sieyes (1979 [1788]: 3) declared, are thus by the nature of things unjust, despicable and contradictory to the supreme goal of all political society. From aristocracy, the enemy became any kind of particularity (Rosanvallon 2004: 37 and throughout). Thus, in far away Brazil, the four mulattoes who were hanged and quartered after the failure of the Citade da Bahia Republicana in 1798 were accused of desiring the imaginary advantages of a Democratic Republic in which all should be equal … without difference of color or condition(Palmer 1964: 513). The French Revolution emancipated Protestants and Jews and freed slaves, not only Catholic peasants.

Rosanvallon (2004: 121) claims that The imperative of equality, required to make everyone a subject of law and a full citizen, implies in effect considering men stripped of their particularistic determinants. All their differences and all their distinctions should be placed at a distance…. Yet where did the imperative of equality come from? Thinking in the rational choice terms of modern political science, one would suspect that democrats instrumentally turned against other social distinctions just to mobilize the masses against aristocracy: to gain support against aristocracy. Finer (1934: 85), for example, accuses Montesquieu of deliberately juxtaposing the Citizen to all the powers that be, either the King or the aristocracy: it was a convenient, a striking and useful antithesis; nothing could be better calculated to win the support of every man. There are facts that support this hypothesis: Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Poland made vague promises to peasants to induce them join the anti-Russian insurrection in 1794; the members of the French Convention flagrantly played up to the gallery …filled by the ordinary people of Paris; Simon Bolivar made interracial appeals to recruit for the war against Spain.

Yet it is also easy to believe that democrats truly believed that all men are equal, as the Declaration of Independence declared or that men are born equal, as the Declaration of the Rights of Man would have it. The idea of innate equality certainly preceded the actual political conflicts. It could be found already in Locke’s Second Treatise (1690) as the principle that equal Right that every Man hath, to his Natural Freedom, without being subjected to the Will or Authority of any other Man. We do not have a theory of action in which people are moved by logic, in which they do things because they cannot tolerate logical contradictions. Yet if one is willing to accept that people can be moved by ideas, democrats would have turned against other distinctions by the sheer logic of their ideology: Aristocrats are not distinct because all men are born equal; because all men are born equal, they cannot be treated differently. Abolishing other distinctions would then be a logical
outcome of the struggle against aristocracy.

The fact is that democrats turned against all distinctions. The only attribute of democratic subjects is that they have none as such. The democratic citizen is simply without qualities.6 Not equal, not homogeneous, just anonymous. Even the one sense in which equality does apply as a democratic norm, namely, before the law, is just a consequence of the principle that democratic citizens cannot be distinguished in any way. As Rousseau (1964: 129) said, the sovereign [the people united] knows only the body of the nation and does not distinguish any of those who compose it. Since citizens are indistinguishable, there is nothing by which law could possibly distinguish them. The democratic citizen is simply an individual outside society. One can say an aristocrat, a wealthy person, and male, but not an aristocratic citizen, a wealthy citizen, or a male citizen. As Sieyes (1979: 183) put it, On doit concevoir les nations sur terre comme
des individues hors de lien social.

3 Democracy and Equality

In spite of its egalitarian pedigree, I am about to argue, there is no sense in which equality could or does characterize democracy. One should not let oneself be trapped by words, Pasquino (1998: 149-150) warns, the society
without qualities
is not a society of equals; it is simply a society in which privileges do not have a juridical-institutional status or recognition.
In a scathing critique of bourgeois rights, Marx (1844: no page) characterized
this duality as follows:

The state abolishes, in its own way, distinctions of birth, social rank, education, occupation, when it declares that birth, social rank, education, occupation, are non-political distinctions, when it proclaims, without regard to these distinctions, that every member of the nation is an equal participant in national sovereignty…. Nevertheless the state allows private property, education, occupation to act in their way -i.e., as private property, as education, as occupation, and to exert the influence of their special nature.

Why then political emancipation is not a form of human emancipation, as Marx would have put it? Speci…cally, in what ways is the veil over distinctions compatible with various kinds of inequality?

Consider the different meanings in which equalityappeared in democratic ideology. Why are or would be people equal? They could be because God or nature made them so, because society makes them so, or because the law makes them so. Equality can be innate or generated by spontaneous social transformations, but it can also be instituted by law or by the use of laws.

Democratic equality may thus be a reflection of equality pre-existing elsewhere or it may be imposed by laws.

To return to the Declarations one last time, the point of departure of democrats was innate equality of human beings. Democratic equality is but a reflection of a pre-existing, natural, equality. Yet the implications of a pre-existing equality are indeterminate. As Schmitt (1993: 364) observed, From the fact that all men are men it is not possible to deduce anything specifi…c either about morality or about religion or about politics or about economics.

Even if people were born equal, they may distinguish themselves by their merits and their merits may be recognized by others. More, to maintain order, some people must at each moment exercise authority over others. As Kelsen (1988 [1929]: 17) put it, From the idea that we are all equal, ideally equal, one can deduce that no one should command another. But experience
teaches that if we want to remain equal in reality, it is necessary on the contrary that we let ourselves be commanded.

Moreover, even if all human beings are born only as such, society generates differences among them. Indeed, if their parents are unequal, they become unequal at the moment they are born. To make them equal again, a recourse to laws is necessary. Montesquieu (1995: 261) would thus observe that In the state of nature, men are born equal but they do not know how to remain so. Society makes them lose equality and they do not return to be equal other than by laws.

Yet must society make people unequal? Rosanvallon (1995: 149) documents that when the term democracy came into widespread usage in France after 1814, it connoted modern egalitarian society, not the political regimes associated with the classical Greek or Roman republics, what Tocqueville would refer to as equality of conditions. The tendency toward social equality was inevitable. Taking a theme of Marquis d’Argenson (1764), Tocqueville (1961, vol I: 41) observed that The gradual development of equality of conditions … is universal, it is durable, it escapes human intervention every day;
every event, like every man, furthers its development.
J.S. Mill noted the same in 1859: There is confessedly a strong tendency in the modern world towards a democratic constitution of society, accompanied or not by popular political institutions. Note that while Tocqueville saw political equality in the United States as a natural consequence of the equality of conditions, for Mill the fact of social equality did not have unique political consequences.

Whether modern societies must become more equal is a complex question.

What matters here is that not everyone was willing to rely on the spontaneous evolution of society to generate political equality. Robespierre thought that Equality of wealth is a chimera. (Palmer 1964: 109). Madison (Federalist #10) listed all kinds of social differences and gradations, assuming they were there to stay. Most democrats believed against Tocqueville that citizenship creates equality, rather than equals become citizens. Pasquino (1998: 109) summarizes this belief: Citizens are not simply equal before the law, in the sense in which the law does not recognize either special rights or privileges,
but they become equal by the grace of law and by law itself.

Democrats adhered to what Beitz (1989: 4) calls a simple conception of political equality, namely, the requirement that democratic institutions should provide citizens with equal procedural opportunities to influence political decisions (or, more briefly, with equal power over outcomes). Criticizing this notion, he points out that equality of the abstract leverage that procedures provide to each participant does not imply equality of the actual influence over the outcomes: the latter depends also on the distribution of the preferences and of the enabling resources. This disjunction between formal and effective political equality was a central concern in the United States and continues to be debated today. The social palliative to this divergence between formal and real influence is pluralism. The political answer, at least for Madison, was large districts.

As Mill would remark several decades later, without decent wages and universal reading, no government of public opinion is possible. Education was one instrument that would equip people to exercise their citizenship rights. Several early constitutions (of the Italian republics between 1796 and 1799, the Cádiz Constitutions of 1812) established systems of universal and free, although not compulsory, education. In the meantime, most solved the problem by restricting political rights to those who were in condition to exercise them. Yet when suffrage became universal and democracy found roots in
poorer countries, the problem reappeared with a vengeance: masses of people acquired equal procedural opportunities without enjoying the conditions necessary to exploit them. Citizenship without the conditions to exercise it is a monster that haunts contemporary democracies. The absence of the effective capacity to exercise formal political rights remains at the heart of
criticisms of the really existing democracy. To return to Marx, can people be politically equal if they are socially unequal?

But political equality is vulnerable not just to social inequality but also to speci…fically political distinctions. Democracy, according to Schmitt (1993: 372), is the identity of the dominating and the dominated, of the government and the governed, of he who commands and he who obeys. But the issue is whether the very faculty of governing does not create a distinction, a
political class. Political aristocracy was seen as much of a danger as social aristocracy. The Anti-Federalists feared that if the rulers were other than the ruled, Corruption and tyranny would be rampant as they have always been when those who exercised power felt little connection with the people.

This would be true, moreover, for elected representatives, as well as for kings and nobles and bishops… (Ketcham 1986: 18). Hence, democrats were preoccupied with duration of terms, as short as six months in New Jersey at one time, term limits, restrictions on representatives to determine their own salaries, and censuring procedures.

Yet these are palliatives. The distinction between the representatives and the represented is inherent in the representative system: parliaments seat representatives, not the people. And the very method of choosing representatives through elections, rather than by lot, is based on the belief that all people are not equally quali…fied to rule. Elections, Manin (1997) argues, are based on the assumption that the qualities necessary to govern are not universally shared and that people want to be governed by their betters. These qualities need not be associated with distinctions of birth, so that elections are not aristocratic in the eighteenth century sense. But elections are a method for selecting one’s betters and, as Manin amply documents, they are and were seen as a way of recognizing a natural aristocracy of talent, reason, or whatever else voters would see as the index of the ability to govern.

Moreover, to be represented people must be organized and organization demands a permanent apparatus, a salaried bureaucracy, a propaganda machine. Hence, Michels (1962: 270) bemoaned, some militants become parliamentarians, party bureaucrats, newspaper editors, managers of the party’s insurance companies, directors of the party’s funeral parlors, and even Parteibudiger party bar keepers. As a disillusioned French communist would write many years later, The working class is lost in administering
its imaginary bastions. Comrades disguised as notables occupy themselves with municipal garbage dumps and school cafeterias. Or are these notables disguised as comrades? I no longer know(Konopnicki 1979: 53).

To summarize, the idea that political equality reflects some pre-existing state, either of nature or society, is untenable on both logical and empirical grounds. Logically, equality pre-existing in other realms does not imply political equality.

Empirically, even if all human beings were born equal, they become unequal in society, and even if societies experienced an inevitable tendency toward equality, the existing inequalities were and are sufficient to call for political remedies. In turn, political equality instituted by law is effectively undermined by social inequality. Political equality is equality in the eyes of a third party, the state, but not in the direct relation between any two persons. In no meaning then is equality the correct way to characterize democracy. If the founders used the languages of equality, it was to justify something else, better described as anonymity, generality, or oblivion to social distinctions.

4 Do Suffrage Restrictions Violate Democratic Ideology?

Yet there is one fact that appears to undermine anonymity: restrictions of suffrage. Indeed, the French Declaration qualified… its recognition of equality in the sentence that immediately followed: Men are born equal and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good. While some early constitutions made male suffrage nearly universal, during most of the nineteenth century the right to vote and the right to be elected was con…fined to adult men who owned property, earned some amount of income, or paid some amount of taxes.

The prevalence of suffrage censitaire may appear to contradict the norm of suppressing all distinctions in society and to be incompatible with the principle of political equality. Yet, even if the arguments were convoluted, franchise restrictions were not portrayed as such by their proponents.

Consider …first the justi…cation by Montesquieu (1995: 155), who starts from the principle that All inequality under democracy should be derived from the nature of democracy and from the very principle of democracy. His example is that people who must continually work to live are not prepared for public office or would neglect their functions. As barristers of Paris put
it on the eve of the Revolution, Whatever respect one might wish to show for the rights of humanity in general, there is no denying the existence of a class of men who, by virtue of their education and the type of work to which their poverty had condemned them, is … incapable at the moment of participating fully in public affairs(cited in Crook 1996: 13). In such cases, Montesquieu goes on, equality among citizens can be lifted in a democracy for the good of democracy. But it is only apparent equality which is lifted…. The generic argument, to be found in slightly different versions, is that: (1) Representation is acting in the best interest of all. (2) To determine the best interest of all one needs reason. (3) Reason has sociological determinants: not having to work for a living (disinterest), or not being employed or otherwise dependent on others (independence). As a Chilean statesman put it in 1865, to exercise political rights it is necessary to have the intelligence to recognize the truth and the good, the will to want it, and the freedom to execute it. (A speech by Senador Abdón Cifuentes, cited in Maza Valenzuela 1995: 153). In turn, the claim that only apparent equality is being violated was built in three steps: (1) Acting in the best common interest considers everyone equally, so that everyone is equally represented. (2) The only quality that is being distinguished is the capacity to recognize the common good. (3) No one is barred from acquiring this quality, so that suffrage is potentially open to all.

The last two points are crucial. Legal distinctions of social status are valid only as indicators of the ability to govern and there are no barriers of any kind to prevent people from acquiring this ability and being relevantly indicated.

The Polish Constitution of 3 May 1791 illuminates the distinction between the democratic regime censitaire and non-democratic regime of legal distinctions. The Constitution asserts in Paragraph VI that deputies to the local parliaments … should be considered as representatives of the entire nation(italics in the original). Yet to become a deputy to the local parliaments (sejmiki, which, in turn elect deputies to the national legislature, the sejm) one had to be a member of a legally de…fined group, the gentry (szlachta). In turn, only members of the hereditary gentry could own land entitling to political rights. Hence, this was not a regime censitaire in the sense defi…ned above: (1) it barred access to politics to everyone who was not a member of a legally recognized group, the landed gentry, and (2) it barred access to the landed gentry.

In fact, the Polish justi…cation for privileging gentry was not reason but
Respect for the memory of our forefathers as founders of free government….
(Article II). Simon Bolivar used the same principle in 1819 when he offered positions of hereditary senators to the liberators of Venezuela, … to whom the Republic owns its existence(1969: 109). His celebrated speech, known
as the Discurso de Angostura, merits attention because its combination of appeals to reason with an acceptance of inequality became the hallmark of anti-democratic postures in Spanish America. Bolivar observed that most people do not know their true interests and went on to argue that Everything cannot be left to the adventure of elections: the People errs easily…. His solution was the institution of a hereditary Senate: future Senators Would learn the arts, sciences, and letters which adorn the spirit of a public man; from infancy would know to what Providence destined them…. And he had the gumption to claim that The creation of a hereditary Senate would in no way violate political equality.

Restrictions of political rights based on religion were also couched in a universalistic language, but the appeal was not to reason but to common values. From Rousseau and Kant to J.S. Mill, everyone believed that a polity can function only if it is based on common interests, norms, or values. In Latin America (indeed, also in the Spanish Constitution of 1812), the cement
holding societies together was to be Catholicism: of the 103 Latin American constitutions studied by Loveman (1993: 371), 83 proclaimed Catholicism as the official religion and 55 prohibited worship of other religions. While many arguments for restricting political rights to Catholics were openly directed against the principle of popular sovereignty it is not for people to change what God willed quite a few were pragmatic. For example, the Mexican thinker Lucas Alamán maintained in 1853 that Catholic religion deserves support by the state, even if we do not consider it as divine, because it constitutes the only common tie that connects all Mexicans, when all others are broken(cited after Gargarella 2005: 93, who provides other examples).

Restrictions on female suffrage present the most difficult issue. While early proponents of female suffrage observed that reason is not distributed along gender lines after all, some rulers had been queens (Sieyes according to Pasquino 1998: 71) the main argument against giving the right to vote to women was that, like children, they were not independent, had no will of their own. Women were already represented by the males in their households and their interests were to be represented through a tutelary, rather than an electoral, connection. Thus the justifying criterion was dependence, not sex.

Indeed, when a study in England in the 1880s discovered that almost one half of adult women lived in households in which there was no adult male, this justi…fication collapsed, and only pure prejudice retarded extending suffrage to women.

Yet why were women not independent in the same way as some men were? If women could not own property, they were legally barred from qualifying for suffrage, so this would violate the democratic ideology. But where they could and did own property in their own name, why would property ownership not be a sufficient indicator? Condorcet (1986 [1788]: 293), who defended property qualifi…cations, thought it should be: The reason for which it is believed that they [women] should be excluded from public function, reasons that albeit are easy to destroy, cannot be a motive for depriving them of a right which would be so simple to exercise [voting], and which men have not because of their sex, but because of their quality of being reasonable and sensible, which they have in common with women. And Chilean suffragettes claimed that Wives and mothers, widows and daughters, we all have time and money to devote to the happiness of Chile. (An article in El Eco, 3 August 1865, cited in Maza Valenzuela 1995: 156).

Since this is an issue about which it is easy to fall into anachronisms, let me process it through an example. Suppose that it is in the best interest of each and all people to evacuate a coastal town if a hurricane is impending and not to evacuate it if the danger is remote. A correct decision is good for everyone: all men, women, and children. The correct decision can be
reached only by people who can interpret weather forecasts. This excludes children, so that the decision should be made by parents in the best interest of children. I suspect that with some quibbles about where to draw the age line most people today would accept this reasoning: all contemporary democratic constitutions do. But why should only men participate in making
this decision? If the reason is that women are barred from taking meteorology courses in school, then we are back to the 1791 Poland. But suppose they do take such courses. Now the argument must be that even if they had the same capacity to exercise reason, women would always follow the views of their male protectors, independently of their own opinions. This is then
another sociological assumption, in addition to those that tied reason to property, income, or education.

Now, Schumpeter (1942: 244) argued that if any distinction is accepted, then the principle of making such distinctions must be as well: The salient point is that, given appropriate views on those and similar subjects, disquali…cations on ground of economic status, religion and sex will enter into the same class with disquali…cations which all of us consider compatible with
democracy.
Yet each distinction is based on a speci…c assumption for example, that 12-year olds are not prepared to vote tying it to the capacity to exercise reason. Obviously, today we would and do reject most such assumptions, although not those based on age or legally certi…fied sanity. Moreover, as we will see below, some such assumptions were driven by
only thinly veiled self-interest. But if these assumptions are accepted, then restrictions of suffrage do not violate the principles of democracy.

To put it abstractly, theories of representation differed in whether they took as the input the actual or ideal preferences, the latter being restricted by some normative requirements, such as they be other-regarding, consider
common good, etc. As Montesquieu (1995: 325; italics supplied) would say, political liberty does not consist of doing what one wants… liberty cannot be other but to be able to do what one ought to want and not to be obliged to do what one ought not want. Obviously, this distinction disappears if people naturally hold such ideal preferences. If they do not, the burden is placed on institutions, either to promote such preferences by educating citizens a common theme from Montesquieu to Mill or to treat such preferences in some privileged manner, by restricting su¤rage or weighting votes. As Beitz (1989: 35) observes, the latter solution defended by Mill is not unfair if those without such ideal preferences or without the conditions to develop
such preferences are willing to accept it. Moreover, while inegalitarian, such a system can be justifi…ed in universalistic terms if everyone can acquire such preferences or the conditions to acquire them.

Yet whatever one thinks of this logic, the …final outcome was that birth was replaced by wealth, aristocracy by oligarchy. Still only a select few were to rule in the best interest of all. The society was to be divided into the rich, the few, the rulers and the poor, the many, the ruled: which a Connecticut representative, Samuel Dana, thought was quite proper (Dunn S. 2004: 23).

The drafter of the French Constitution of 1795, Boissy d’Anglas, declared that We must be ruled by the best… a country governed by property-owners is within the social order, that which is dominated by non-property owners is in a state of nature (cited in Crook 1996: 46). The consensus in mid-nineteenth century Colombia was that We want enlightened democracy, a democracy in which intelligence and property direct the destinies of the people; we do not want a barbarian democracy in which the proletarianism and ignorance drown the seeds of happiness and bring the society to confusion and disorder(Gutiérrez Sanin 2003: 185). The right to make laws belongs to the most intelligent, to the aristocracy of knowledge, created by nature, a Peruvian constitutionalist, Bartolomé Herrera, declared in 1846 (Sobrevilla 2002: 196); the Peruvian theorist José María Pando maintained that a perpetual aristocracy … is an imperative necessity; the Chilean
Andrés Bello wanted rulers to constitute a body of wise men (un cuerpo de sabios)”; while the Spanish conservative thinker Donoso Cortés juxtaposed the sovereignty of the wise to sovereignty of the people (Gargarella 2005: 120). Still by 1867, Walter Bagehot (1963 [1867]: 277) would warn that It must be remembered that a political combination of the lower classes, as such and for their own objects, is an evil of the first magnitude; that a permanent combination of them would
make them (now that many of them have the su¤rage) supreme in the country; and that their supremacy, in the state they now
are, means the supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge.

It was perhaps not a full circle but a circle it was. And it left a legacy that gave rise to conflicts which in many countries lasted over a hundred years.

These new distinctions were soon perceived as evidence that democracy did not ful…lfil its own ideals. Neither the poor nor women thought that their best interests were being represented by propertied men. They would struggle for suffrage, and suffrage was a dangerous weapon.

5 Democracy and Property

In a society that is unequal, political equality, if it is effective, opens the possibility that the majority would by law equalize property or the bene…fits of its use. This is a central theme in the history of democracy, as alive and controversial today as it was at the inception of representative government.

Since, as distinct from liberty or happiness, property, the kind of property that can be used to generate incomes, always was and continues to be held by a minority, the right to protect property would have to hurl itself against the interest of majorities. Hence, a tension between democracy and property was predictable, and it was predicted.

To sketch the history of this tension, one must begin with the Levellers, who are identi…fied by Wootton (1993: 71) as the …first democrats who think in terms, not of participatory self government within a city-state, but of representative government within a nation-state. While they persistently and vehemently denied it, Levellers were feared by their opponents as wanting
to make everyone equal by redistributing land:15 in Harrington’s (1977: 460) words, By levelling, they who use the word seem to understand: when a people rising invades the lands and estates of the richer sort, and divides them equally among themselves. Some among them those calling themselves True Levellers or Diggers did set a commune on common land.

The demand for economic equality appeared during the French Revolution in Babeuf’s Plebeian Manifesto of 1795. Until then, while the revolutionary government confi…scated the lands of the Church and of the emigrant nobility, those were not redistributed to peasants but sold to rich commoners (Fontana 1993: 122). Babeuf did not want to equalize property, but to abolish it: we do not propose to divide up property, since no equal division would ever last. We propose to abolish private property altogether. Claiming that stomachs are equal, Babeuf wanted every man to place his product in a common pool
and receive from it an equal share. Hence, no one could take advantage of greater wealth or ability. He motivated his communist program by a moral principle, le bonheur commun, which must lead to the communauté, comfort for all, education for all, equality, liberty and happiness for all. (All citations are from Palmer 1964: 240-241.)

The demand for economic equality by the Babeuvists was derived from moral principles. Babeuf claimed that both legal and economic equality were only the natural outcome of the Enlightenment and both within the spirit of the French Revolution. Why should the fact or the postulate that all men are born equal justify political equality but not economic one? Why should
reasons be treated as equal but stomachs not? If logic does not dictate this distinction, one can suspect that only interests did. Even if the ultimate value is to be free from domination by another, the right to Natural Freedom, without being subjected to the Will or Authority of any other Man, does not economic compulsion to sell one’s services to another bind as much as the political subjugation to the command of another? Rousseau (1964: 154), at least, thought that no Citizen should be so opulent as to be able to buy another, and none so poor as to be constrained to sell himself.

But one can also think not on moral but on purely logical grounds that democracy, via legal equality, must lead to economic equality. Indeed, at some moment, legal and economic equality became connected by a syllogism: Universal suffrage, combined with majority rule, grants political power to the majority. And since the majority is always poor,16 it will con…fiscate
the riches. The syllogism was perhaps …first enunciated by Henry Ireton in the franchise debate at Putney in 1647: “It [universal male suffrage] may come to destroy property thus. You may have such men chosen, or at least the major part of them, as have no local or permanent interest. Why may not these men vote against all property?” (In Sharp 1998: 113-4). It was echoed
by a French conservative polemicist, J. Mallet du Pan, who insisted in 1796 that legal equality must lead to equality of wealth: Do you wish a republic of equals amid the inequalities which the public services, inheritances, marriage, industry and commerce have introduced into society? You will have to overthrow property(cited by Palmer 1964: 230).

Note that, contrary to frequent misquoting, of which I am guilty as well, Madison (Federalist #10) thought that this consequence applied to direct, but not to representative democracies. Having identifi…ed a pure Democracy as a system of direct rule, Madison continues that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been
found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths
(italics supplied). Yet A Republic, by which I mean a Government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Still, he seems to have been less sanguine some decades later: the danger to the holders of property can not be disguised, if they are undefended against a majority without property. Bodies of men are not less swayed by interest than individuals…. Hence, the
liability of the rights of property….
(Note written at some time between 1821 and 1829, in Ketcham 1986: 152).

Once coined, this syllogism has dominated the fears and the hopes attached to democracy ever since. Conservatives agreed with socialists that democracy, speci…fically universal suffrage, must undermine property. The self-serving nature of the convoluted arguments for restricting suffrage to the propertied became apparent. The Scottish philosopher James Mackintosh predicted in 1818 that if the laborious classes gain franchise, a permanent animosity between opinion and property must be the consequence (Cited in Collini, Winch and Burrow, 1983: 98). David Ricardo was prepared to extend suffrage only to that part of them which cannot be supposed to have an interest in overturning the right to property (In Collini, Winch and
Burrow, 1983: 107). Thomas Macaulay in the 1842 speech on the Chartists pictured the danger presented by universal suffrage in the following terms:
The essence of the Charter is universal suffrage. If you withhold that, it matters not very much what else you grant. If you
grant that, it matters not at all what else you withhold. If you grant that, the country is lost…. My …rm conviction is that, in our country, universal suffrage is incompatible, not only with this or that form of government, and with everything for the sake of which government exists; that it is incompatible with property and that it is consequently incompatible with civilization. (1900: 263)

Eight years later, from the other extreme of the political spectrum, Karl Marx expressed the same conviction that private property and universal suffrage are incompatible:

The classes whose social slavery the constitution is to perpetuate, proletariat, peasantry, petty bourgeoisie, it puts in possession of political power through universal suffrage. And from the class whose old social power it sanctions, the bourgeoisie, it withdraws the political guarantees of this power. It forces the political rule of the bourgeoisie into democratic conditions, which at every moment jeopardize the very foundations of bourgeois society. From the ones it demands that they should not go forward from political to social emancipation; from the others they should not go back from social to political restoration. (1952: 62).

According to Marx, democracy inevitably unchains the class struggle:
The poor use democracy to expropriate the riches; the rich are threatened and subvert democracy, by abdicating political power to the permanently organized armed forces. The combination of democracy and capitalism is thus an inherently unstable form of organization of society, only the political form of revolution of bourgeois society and not its conservative form of life (1934: 18), only a spasmodic, exceptional state of things … impossible as
the normal form of society
(1971: 198).

The fundamental contradiction of the Republican constitution identifi…ed by Marx would not materialize either if property ownership would expand spontaneously or if the dispossessed for some reasons abstained from using their political rights to con…scate property. On the other hand, Maier (1993: 127) notes, if the observer feared that social levelling would con-
tinue toward proletarianization, then the advance of democracy must appear an alarming trend. For this would suggest … that all democracy must in effect tend towards social democracy. That is, the advent of popular government and expanded electorate would ineluctably lead to programmes for further social equalization and redistribution on wealth.
Indeed, the idea
that democracy in the political realm must logically lead to social and economic equality became the cornerstone of Social Democracy. For Jean Jaures (1971: 71), The triumph of socialism will not be a break with the French Revolution but the ful…lfilment of the French Revolution in new economic conditions. Eduard Bernstein (1961) saw in socialism simply democracy brought to its logical conclusion. As Beitz (1989: xvi) observed, historically a main goal of democratic movements has been to seek redress in the political sphere for the effects of inequalities in the economy and society.
Socialists entered into elections with ultimate goals. The Hague Congress of the First International proclaimed that the organization of the proletariat into a political party is necessary to insure the victory of social revolution and its ultimate goal the abolition of classes.The …first Swedish socialist program specifi…ed that Social Democracy differs from other parties in that it aspires to completely transform the economic organization of the bourgeois society and bring about the social liberation of the working class….(Tingsten 1973: 118-9). Even the most reformist among socialists, Alexandre Millerand, admonished that whoever does not admit the necessary and progressive replacement of capitalist property by social property is not a socialist. (Cited in Ensor 1908: 51). Yet on the road to these ultimate goals, socialists saw numerous measures that would reduce social and economic inequalities. The Parti Socialiste Français, led by Jean Jaures, proclaimed at its Tour Congress of 1902 that The Socialist Party, rejecting the policy of all or nothing, has a program of reforms whose realization it pursues forthwith, and listed …fifty-four specifi…c measures (Ensor 1908: 345¤).

Swedish Social Democrats in 1897 demanded direct taxation, development of state and municipal productive activities, public credit, legislation concerning work conditions, old age, sickness, and accident insurance, as well as purely political rights (Tingsten 1973: 119-20).

The question that haunted social democrats was whether, as Hjalmar Branting posed it in 1886, the upper class [would] respect popular will even if it demanded the abolition of its privileges (cited in Tingsten 1973: 361). Were there limits to popular sovereignty, as exercised by electoral majorities? Would revolution not be necessary, as August Bebel feared in 1905, as a purely defensive measure, designed to safeguard the exercise of power legitimately acquired through the ballot? (cited in Schorske 1955: 43).

Yet there is a prior question which they did not consider. Can any political arrangement generate economic equality? Can equality be established by laws, even if the upper class would concede to the abolition of its privileges?

Or is some extent of economic inequality inevitable even if everyone would want to abolish it? Did egalitarian democrats fail or did they accomplish all that was within the reach?

6 By What Should We Be Surprised?

According to Dunn (2003: 22), democracy surprisingly turned from a revolutionary project into a conservative one Where the political force of the idea of democracy came from in this new epoch was its combination of formal social equality with a practical order founded on the protection and reproduction of an increasingly dynamic system of economic inequality….

No one at all in 1750 either did or could have seen democracy as a natural name or an apt institutional form for the effective
protection of productive wealth. But today we know better. In the teeth of ex ante perceived probability, that is exactly what
representative democracy has in the long run proved.

Should we share his surprise?

My argument has been that the sin was original. While, as Dunn (2005) emphasizes, in the second part of the eighteenth century democracy was a revolutionary idea, the revolution it offered was strictly political. Morally based arguments for redistribution or abolishment of property were marginal and ephemeral. In my reading, in its inception democracy was a project
simply blind to economic inequality, regardless how revolutionary it may have been politically. Moreover, by restricting suffrage, democracies replaced aristocracy by oligarchy.

Hence, I do not think that the surprise can be dated to 1750. In turn, viewed from the perspective of 1850, the coexistence of democracy with unequal distribution of property is hard to fathom. The syllogism according to which the poor would use their majority status to expropriate the rich was after all almost universally accepted. And it still makes logical sense today.

Just consider the favorite toy of political economists, the median voter model (Meltzer and Richards 1981): Each individual is characterized by an endowment of labor or capital and all individuals can be ranked from the poorest to the richest. Individuals vote on the rate of tax to be imposed on incomes generated by supplying these endowments to production. The revenues generated by this tax are either equally distributed to all individuals or spent to provide equally valued public goods, so that the tax rate uniquely determines the extent of redistribution. Once the tax rate is decided, individuals
maximize utility by deciding in a decentralized way how much of their endowments to supply. The median voter theorem asserts that there exists a unique majority rule equilibrium, this equilibrium is the choice of the voter with the median preference, and the voter with the median preference is the one with median income. And when the distribution of incomes is right-skewed, that is, if the median income is lower than the mean, as it is in all countries for which data exist, majority rule equilibrium is associated with a high degree of equality of post-…sc (tax and transfer) incomes, tempered only by the deadweight losses of redistribution. Moreover, the demand for social and economic equality persists. While elites see democracy in institutional terms, mass publics, at least in Eastern Europe and Latin America, conceive of it in terms of social and economic equality. In Chile, 59 percent of respondents expected that democracy would attenuate social inequalities (Alaminos 1991), while in Eastern Europe the proportion associating democracy with social equality ranged from 61 percent in Czechoslovakia to 88 percent in Bulgaria (Bruszt and Simon 1991). People do expect that democracy would breed social and economic equality. Hence,
the coexistence of democracy and inequality continues to be tense.

Yet income distribution appears to be amazingly stable over time. The strongest evidence, albeit for a relatively short period, comes from Li, Squire, and Zou (1997), who report that about 90 percent of total variance in the Gini coefficients is explained by the variation across countries, while few countries show any time trends. Longer time-series show that while income distribution became somewhat more equal in some democratic countries, redistribution was quite limited. These assertion are not contradictory: the main reason for equalization was that wars and major economic crises destroyed large fortunes and they could not be accumulated again because of progressive income tax. Earned incomes show almost no variation during the twentieth century. (For long-term dynamics of income distribution, see Piketty 2003 on France, Piketty and Saez 2003 on the United States, Saez and Veall 2003 on Canada, Banerjee and Piketty 2003 on India, Dell 2003 on Germany, and Atkinson 2002 on the United Kingdom.) It appears that there are no countries which equalized market incomes without some kind of cataclysm.

The cataclysms come in two kinds: (1) destruction of large property as a result of foreign occupation (Japanese in Korea, Soviet in Eastern Europe), revolution (Soviet Union), or war (France according to Piketty 2000), or (2) massive emigration of the poor (Norway, Sweden).

Since the issue is burning, explanations abound. Most assert that for a variety of reasons those without property, even if they constitute a vast majority in all known societies, either do not want to or cannot use their political rights to equalize property, incomes, or even opportunities. For reasons of space, I can only list the explanations of why the poor would not want to redistribute: (1) false consciousness due to a lack of understanding of the distinction between productive and non-productive property, (2) ideological domination due to the ownership of the media by the propertied, (3) difficulty of the poor to coordinate when they have some non-economic heterogeneous tastes, such as religion or race, (4) expectations that the poor would become rich, (5) the fact that taxes are palpable, while public spending is amorphous.

I am not taken by the idea that in general the poor would not want to lead better lives at the expense of the rich, but several arguments to the e¤ect that political rights are ineffective against private property make eminent sense.

Wealth holders enjoy disproportionate political influence, which they use to successfully defend themselves from redistribution (Benabou 2000).21 Nominally equal political rights do not seem to be enough to bar the privileged access of the rich to politics. Put differently, oblivion to economic differences is not sufficient to protect politics from the influence of money.

Yet this entire way of thinking confronts an awkward fact that many governments were elected with the support of the poor, wanted to equalize incomes, and tried to do so. Hence, to the extent to which they failed, it must have been for reasons other than not wanting or not trying. Here are some possible reasons:

(1) Redistributing productive property or even incomes is costly to the poor. Confronting the perspective of losing their property or not being able to enjoy its fruits, property owners save and invest less, thus reducing future wealth and future income of everyone. As Machiavelli observed, everybody is eager to acquire such things and to obtain property, provided that he be convinced that he will enjoy it when it has been acquired (Discourses on Livy. II.2, cited after Holmes 2003). Prospects of redistribution reduce investment. This structural dependence on capital (Przeworski and Wallerstein 1988) imposes a limit on redistribution even on those governments that want to equalize incomes. Hence, while some democratic governments do correct distributions of income generated by the unequal ownership of assets, equalizing assets ends up being a cataclysmic event, occurring only under exceptional circumstances.
(2) What are the assets that can be equalized in modern societies? Note that when the idea of equal property …rst appeared productive assets meant land. Land is relatively easy to redistribute. It is enough to take it from some and give it to others. Hence, agrarian reforms were frequent in history of the world: according to data collected by Thomas (2005), there were at
least 175 land reforms entailing redistribution between 1946 and 2000 alone. But today the distribution of land plays a relatively minor role in generating income inequality. In turn, other assets resist such a simple operation. Communists redistributed industrial capital by turning it into the hands of the state and announcing that the uninvested pro…ts would be equally distributed to households. This solution engendered several negative consequences that need not be discussed. Alternatively, one could redistribute titles to property in the form of shares. But this form of redistribution has problems
of its own.22 Finally, one could, and many countries did, equalize human capital by investing in education. But people exposed to the same educational system acquire very di¤erent income earning capacities as a function of their social and economic background. Moreover, since people are born with different talents and since the use of these talents is socially bene…ficial,
we would want to educate talented people more. In sum, redistributing productive assets seems to be di¢ cult for purely technological, not just political or economic, reasons.
(3) Asking How laws establish equality in a democracy? the title of Chapter 5 of Book 5 Montesquieu takes as the point of departure equality of land. Then he goes on, If, when the legislator makes such a division, he does not give laws to maintain it, he only makes a passing constitution; inequality will enter from the side the laws do not defend, and the republic
will be lost.
Therefore, although real equality would be the soul of the state, it is so difficult to establish that an extreme rigor in this respect is not always convenient. It is sufficient, he continues, to reduce differences to some point, after which, it is for particular laws to equalize, to put it this way, the inequalities, by the charges they impose on the rich and the relief they accord to the poor. (1995: 151-5)

Remember that Babeuf believed that redistribution of property would not solve the problem of inequality, “since no equal division would ever last.

Suppose productive assets had been equalized. But individuals have different and unobservable abilities to transform productive assets into incomes.

Moreover, they are subject to vicissitudes of luck. Assume that particular individuals (or projects they undertake) are subject to slightly different rates of return: some lose at the rate of -0.02 and some gain at the rate 0.02. After 25 years, the individual who generates a 2 percent return will be 2.7 times wealthier than the individual who loses 2 percent per year, and after 50 years (say from the age of 18 to 68) this multiple will be 7.4. Hence, even if productive assets were to be equalize, inequality would creep back in. (The classical statement of this argument is by Pareto 1897, investigated recently by Mookherjee and Ray 2003 as well as Benhabib and Bisin 2007).

7 Judging Democracy

Analyzing the Thatcher era, Dunn (2000: 147) observes that “the state at this point is more plausibly seen as a structure through which the minimally participant citizen body (those prepared to take the trouble to vote) select from the meagre options presented to them those they hope will best serve their several interests. In that selection, the meagreness of the range of options is always important and sometimes absolutely decisive.” The issue is to what extent these choices are tightly circumscribed because the logic of electoral competition pushes political parties to o¤er and pursue similar policies and to what extent there is just little else they could do. The question is important because it affects our political judgment of democracy (On political judgment, see Dunn 2000 and the Introduction to this volume). Suppose that economic inequality could be diminished below the levels prevailing in developed democracies without reducing future incomes and that it is not being
diminished only because of the institutional features of democracy, however one thinks about them. Obviously, judging this trade-o¤ would depend on other values we would have to give up opting for equality. But there is no such trade-off.

Some degree of economic inequality is just inevitable. Democracy is impotent against it, but so is every other conceivable political arrangement.

Think of Brazil: during the past two centuries it was a royal colony, an independent monarchy, an oligarchical republic, a populist military dictatorship, democracy with a weak presidency, a right-wing military dictatorship, and democracy with a strong presidency. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, income distribution did not budge. Even the communists, who were out to
uravnit everything, and who did equalize assets in the form of public ownership, had to tolerate the inequality arising from different talents and motivations. Indeed, it turns out that the average household/individual income inequality is almost exactly the same in democracies and in non-democracies at each level of per capita income.

The quest for equality in the economic and social realm has been perpetual in democracies. The original blinders that modern representative institutions placed on economic and social standing of citizens could not effectively cover the glaring inequality of their life conditions. At least since Babeuf, not to speak of Marx, limiting equality to the political realm always seemed “illogical.” Moreover, if the right always feared that effective political equality would threaten property, the left knew that equality limited to the political realm cannot be sustained in the face of economic and social inequalities.

“Extending democracy from the political to the social realm” was not just a call for social justice but for making democracy effective in the political realm itself. But this quest may have its limits and the knowledge of these limits is essential to judge democracy.

This is not to say that all democracies are the same. I am not arguing in support of Pareto’s “law,” according to which income distribution remains the same whatever the institutional framework and in spite of progressive taxation. Among contemporary democracies, the ratio incomes of the top to the bottom quintile, which is perhaps the most intuitive measure of inequality, ranges from about 33 in Brazil to less than 6 in Finland, Belgium, Spain, and South Korea. Hence, we can compare and judge the choices parties offer to voters, as well as policies of particular governments. Moreover, since conflicts over distribution of opportunities, employment, and consumption are the bread and butter of democratic politics, we must be vigilant. But even
the best governments operate under limits not of their making. The ratio of 6 is still very large: it means that in a country with per capita income of $15,000 (about average for these countries in 2002, counted in 1995 PPP dollars), a member of the top quintile would have the income of $27,000, while a member of the bottom quintile $4,500. Most survey respondents in Spain and South Korea see such inequality as excessive. Yet perhaps this is just the extent to which any political system can equalize assets or incomes.

My point, thus, is that perhaps Dunn, and we all, put too much burden on democracy.

8 References

Aguilar Rivera, José Antonio.
Alaminos, Antonio. 1991. Chile: transición politica y sociedad. Madrid:
Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas.
Atkinson, A.B. 2002. Top Incomes in the United Kingdom over the Twentieth Century. Unpublished.
Banerjee, Abhijit and Thomas Piketty. 2003. Top Indian Incomes, 1922-2000. Unpublished.
Bagehot, Walter. 1963. The English Constitution. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press.
Beitz, Charles R. 1989. Political Equality. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Bénabou, Roland. 2000. Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract. American Economic Review 90: 96-129.
Benhabib, Jess, and Alberto Bisin. 2007. “The distribution of wealth: Intergenerational transmission and redistribute policies.”Working paper, Department of Economics, New York University.
Bernstein, Eduard. 1961. Evolutionary Socialism. New York: Schocken.

Bolivar, Simon. 1969. Escritos politicos. Edited by Graciela Soriano,
Madrid: Alianza Editorial.
Bruszt, László, and János Simon. 1991. Political Culture, Political and Economical Orientations in Central and Eastern Europe during the Transition to Democracy. Manuscript. Budapest: Erasmus Foundation for Democracy.
Burda, Andrzej. 1990. Charakterystyka postanowie´n konstytucji PRLz 1952r. In Konstytucje Polski: Studja monogra…czne zdziejów polskiego
konstytucjonalizmu. Warszawa: Pa´nstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. Vol. 2, Pages 344-376.
Collier, Simon and William F. Sater. 1996. A History of Chile, 1808-1994. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Collini, Stefan, Donald Winch and John Burrow. 1983. That Noble Science of Politic

Democracy, Equality, and Redistribution

Adam Przeworski
Department of Politics
New York University
October 31, 2007

1 Introduction

Democratic citizens are not equal but only anonymous, indistinguishable by any traits they may possess. Democracy only places a veil over distinctions that exist in society. Even the one sense in which equality that can be said to characterize democracy equality before the law is derivative from anonymity: the law has to treat all citizens equally because they are
indistinguishable.

This norm of anonymity was circumvented in most early representative systems by an elaborate intellectual construction that justified? restrictions of suffrage. The argument held that the role of representatives is to promote the good of all, yet the intellectual capacity to recognize the common good and the moral qualities necessary to pursue it are not universal. These traits can be recognized by using some indicators, such as wealth, age, and gender.

Hence, relying on such indicators to restrict suffrage does not violate democratic norms. The logic of the argument is unimpeachable, but it is easy to suspect that it rationalized interests. This is the way it was perceived by those excluded, poor males and women, as they fought for political rights.

Yet even if political rights are universal, to ignore distinctions is to not to obliterate them. Democracy was a political revolution, but not an economic one. Should we be surprised that democracy turned out to be compatible with economic inequality? From its inception, representative institutions were haunted by the specter of the poor using their political rights to redistribute property. Should we be surprised that democracy did not undermine property, that the democratic revolution was never completed by being extended to the economic realm?

These three themes are developed below.

2 Aristocracy and Democracy

How did democracy reappear on the historical horizon and what did it mean to its proponents and opponents?

Since the emergence of modern democracy is the topic of Palmer’s (1959, 1964) monumental treatise, no more than a brief summary is necessary.

Palmer’s main point is that democracy was not a revolution against an existing system but a reaction against the increasing power of aristocracy. It was aristocracy that undermined monarchy; democracy outflanked it following in its footsteps. Palmer argues that (1) By the early eighteenth century, the aristocratic system of government was institutionalized in assemblies of
various forms, the participation in which was reserved to legally qualified? groups (constituted bodies) that always included hereditary nobility but in different places (countries, regions, principalities, cantons, city republics) also clergy, selected categories of burgers, and in Sweden even peasants. In all cases these bodies were politically dominated by hereditary nobility. (2) In the course of the century, these estate-based bodies increased their political influence. (3) At the same time, access to nobility, however it was de?nied in different places, became increasingly closed: nobility turned into
aristocracy. (4) The resulting aristocratic system suffered from several tensions, of which one was between birth and competence. (5) Politically crucial conflict was due to the exclusion from privilege of those who possessed all the qualifi?cations to participate wealth, talent, bearing except for birth. (6) Democracy emerged as a demand for access to these bodies, not as a movement against monarchy.

Hence, by the end of the eighteenth century, democracy was a slogan directed against legal recognition of inherited distinctions of social status.

Democrats were those who agitated against aristocrats or aristocracy.. As Dunn (2003: 10) observes, democracy was a reaction, above all, not to monarchy, let alone tyranny, but to another relatively concrete social category, initially all too well entrenched, but no longer plausibly aligned with social, economic, or even political or military, functions the nobility or aristocracy…. Democrat was a label in and for political combat; and what that combat was directed against was aristocrats, or at the very least aristocracy.?2 Thus, in 1794 a young Englishman described himself as being of that odious class of men called democrats because he disapproved of hereditary distinctions and privileged orders of every species (Palmer 1964: 22).

Could any further proof be required of the republican complexion of this system, wrote Madison in The Federalist # 39, the most decisive might be found in its absolute prohibition of titles of nobility. In France, the Constituent Assembly decided that aristocratic privilege was in conflict with the very principle of popular sovereignty (Fontana 1993: 119). The Batavian (Dutch) Republic established in 1796 required voters to swear an oath to the belief that all hereditary offices and dignities were illegal (Palmer 1964: 195). In Chile, General O’Higgins, the ?first Director of the State, abolished
in 1818 all outward and visible signs of aristocracy (Collier and Sater 1006: 42).

Here is a puzzle. While democrats fought against aristocracy, either as a system of government (the original meaning of the word) or as a legal status (nobility), this struggle did not have to result in abolishing other distinctions. One distinction could have been replaced by another. The flagrant case is the Polish Constitution of 3 May 1791, which was directed against
aristocrats de?fined as large landowners, magnates, under the slogan of equality for the gentry at large (szlachta, which constituted about 10 percent of the population), while preserving a legal distinction of the latter. More generally, social traits that could serve as basis for legal distinctions were many: property owners and laborers, burgers and peasants, inhabitants of different localities, clergy and army, whites and blacks. Yet democrats turned against other distinctions. All the privileges, Sieyes (1979 [1788]: 3) declared, are thus by the nature of things unjust, despicable and contradictory to the supreme goal of all political society. From aristocracy, the enemy became any kind of particularity (Rosanvallon 2004: 37 and throughout). Thus, in far away Brazil, the four mulattoes who were hanged and quartered after the failure of the Citade da Bahia Republicana in 1798 were accused of desiring the imaginary advantages of a Democratic Republic in which all should be equal … without difference of color or condition(Palmer 1964: 513). The French Revolution emancipated Protestants and Jews and freed slaves, not only Catholic peasants.

Rosanvallon (2004: 121) claims that The imperative of equality, required to make everyone a subject of law and a full citizen, implies in effect considering men stripped of their particularistic determinants. All their differences and all their distinctions should be placed at a distance…. Yet where did the imperative of equality come from? Thinking in the rational choice terms of modern political science, one would suspect that democrats instrumentally turned against other social distinctions just to mobilize the masses against aristocracy: to gain support against aristocracy. Finer (1934: 85), for example, accuses Montesquieu of deliberately juxtaposing the Citizen to all the powers that be, either the King or the aristocracy: it was a convenient, a striking and useful antithesis; nothing could be better calculated to win the support of every man. There are facts that support this hypothesis: Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Poland made vague promises to peasants to induce them join the anti-Russian insurrection in 1794; the members of the French Convention flagrantly played up to the gallery ?filled by the ordinary people of Paris; Simon Bolivar made interracial appeals to recruit for the war against Spain.

Yet it is also easy to believe that democrats truly believed that all men are equal, as the Declaration of Independence declared or that men are born equal, as the Declaration of the Rights of Man would have it. The idea of innate equality certainly preceded the actual political conflicts. It could be found already in Locke’s Second Treatise (1690) as the principle that equal Right that every Man hath, to his Natural Freedom, without being subjected to the Will or Authority of any other Man. We do not have a theory of action in which people are moved by logic, in which they do things because they cannot tolerate logical contradictions. Yet if one is willing to accept that people can be moved by ideas, democrats would have turned against other distinctions by the sheer logic of their ideology: Aristocrats are not distinct because all men are born equal; because all men are born equal, they cannot be treated differently. Abolishing other distinctions would then be a logical
outcome of the struggle against aristocracy.

The fact is that democrats turned against all distinctions. The only attribute of democratic subjects is that they have none as such. The democratic citizen is simply without qualities.6 Not equal, not homogeneous, just anonymous. Even the one sense in which equality does apply as a democratic norm, namely, before the law, is just a consequence of the principle that democratic citizens cannot be distinguished in any way. As Rousseau (1964: 129) said, the sovereign [the people united] knows only the body of the nation and does not distinguish any of those who compose it. Since citizens are indistinguishable, there is nothing by which law could possibly distinguish them. The democratic citizen is simply an individual outside society. One can say an aristocrat, a wealthy person, and male, but not an aristocratic citizen, a wealthy citizen, or a male citizen. As Sieyes (1979: 183) put it, On doit concevoir les nations sur terre comme
des individues hors de lien social.

3 Democracy and Equality

In spite of its egalitarian pedigree, I am about to argue, there is no sense in which equality could or does characterize democracy. One should not let oneself be trapped by words, Pasquino (1998: 149-150) warns, the society
without qualities
is not a society of equals; it is simply a society in which privileges do not have a juridical-institutional status or recognition.
In a scathing critique of bourgeois rights, Marx (1844: no page) characterized
this duality as follows:

The state abolishes, in its own way, distinctions of birth, social rank, education, occupation, when it declares that birth, social rank, education, occupation, are non-political distinctions, when it proclaims, without regard to these distinctions, that every member of the nation is an equal participant in national sovereignty…. Nevertheless the state allows private property, education, occupation to act in their way -i.e., as private property, as education, as occupation, and to exert the influence of their special nature.

Why then political emancipation is not a form of human emancipation, as Marx would have put it? Speci?cally, in what ways is the veil over distinctions compatible with various kinds of inequality?

Consider the different meanings in which equalityappeared in democratic ideology. Why are or would be people equal? They could be because God or nature made them so, because society makes them so, or because the law makes them so. Equality can be innate or generated by spontaneous social transformations, but it can also be instituted by law or by the use of laws.

Democratic equality may thus be a reflection of equality pre-existing elsewhere or it may be imposed by laws.

To return to the Declarations one last time, the point of departure of democrats was innate equality of human beings. Democratic equality is but a reflection of a pre-existing, natural, equality. Yet the implications of a pre-existing equality are indeterminate. As Schmitt (1993: 364) observed, From the fact that all men are men it is not possible to deduce anything specifi?c either about morality or about religion or about politics or about economics.

Even if people were born equal, they may distinguish themselves by their merits and their merits may be recognized by others. More, to maintain order, some people must at each moment exercise authority over others. As Kelsen (1988 [1929]: 17) put it, From the idea that we are all equal, ideally equal, one can deduce that no one should command another. But experience
teaches that if we want to remain equal in reality, it is necessary on the contrary that we let ourselves be commanded.

Moreover, even if all human beings are born only as such, society generates differences among them. Indeed, if their parents are unequal, they become unequal at the moment they are born. To make them equal again, a recourse to laws is necessary. Montesquieu (1995: 261) would thus observe that In the state of nature, men are born equal but they do not know how to remain so. Society makes them lose equality and they do not return to be equal other than by laws.

Yet must society make people unequal? Rosanvallon (1995: 149) documents that when the term democracy came into widespread usage in France after 1814, it connoted modern egalitarian society, not the political regimes associated with the classical Greek or Roman republics, what Tocqueville would refer to as equality of conditions. The tendency toward social equality was inevitable. Taking a theme of Marquis d’Argenson (1764), Tocqueville (1961, vol I: 41) observed that The gradual development of equality of conditions … is universal, it is durable, it escapes human intervention every day;
every event, like every man, furthers its development.
J.S. Mill noted the same in 1859: There is confessedly a strong tendency in the modern world towards a democratic constitution of society, accompanied or not by popular political institutions. Note that while Tocqueville saw political equality in the United States as a natural consequence of the equality of conditions, for Mill the fact of social equality did not have unique political consequences.

Whether modern societies must become more equal is a complex question.

What matters here is that not everyone was willing to rely on the spontaneous evolution of society to generate political equality. Robespierre thought that Equality of wealth is a chimera. (Palmer 1964: 109). Madison (Federalist #10) listed all kinds of social differences and gradations, assuming they were there to stay. Most democrats believed against Tocqueville that citizenship creates equality, rather than equals become citizens. Pasquino (1998: 109) summarizes this belief: Citizens are not simply equal before the law, in the sense in which the law does not recognize either special rights or privileges,
but they become equal by the grace of law and by law itself.

Democrats adhered to what Beitz (1989: 4) calls a simple conception of political equality, namely, the requirement that democratic institutions should provide citizens with equal procedural opportunities to influence political decisions (or, more briefly, with equal power over outcomes). Criticizing this notion, he points out that equality of the abstract leverage that procedures provide to each participant does not imply equality of the actual influence over the outcomes: the latter depends also on the distribution of the preferences and of the enabling resources. This disjunction between formal and effective political equality was a central concern in the United States and continues to be debated today. The social palliative to this divergence between formal and real influence is pluralism. The political answer, at least for Madison, was large districts.

As Mill would remark several decades later, without decent wages and universal reading, no government of public opinion is possible. Education was one instrument that would equip people to exercise their citizenship rights. Several early constitutions (of the Italian republics between 1796 and 1799, the Cádiz Constitutions of 1812) established systems of universal and free, although not compulsory, education. In the meantime, most solved the problem by restricting political rights to those who were in condition to exercise them. Yet when suffrage became universal and democracy found roots in
poorer countries, the problem reappeared with a vengeance: masses of people acquired equal procedural opportunities without enjoying the conditions necessary to exploit them. Citizenship without the conditions to exercise it is a monster that haunts contemporary democracies. The absence of the effective capacity to exercise formal political rights remains at the heart of
criticisms of the really existing democracy. To return to Marx, can people be politically equal if they are socially unequal?

But political equality is vulnerable not just to social inequality but also to speci?fically political distinctions. Democracy, according to Schmitt (1993: 372), is the identity of the dominating and the dominated, of the government and the governed, of he who commands and he who obeys. But the issue is whether the very faculty of governing does not create a distinction, a
political class. Political aristocracy was seen as much of a danger as social aristocracy. The Anti-Federalists feared that if the rulers were other than the ruled, Corruption and tyranny would be rampant as they have always been when those who exercised power felt little connection with the people.

This would be true, moreover, for elected representatives, as well as for kings and nobles and bishops… (Ketcham 1986: 18). Hence, democrats were preoccupied with duration of terms, as short as six months in New Jersey at one time, term limits, restrictions on representatives to determine their own salaries, and censuring procedures.

Yet these are palliatives. The distinction between the representatives and the represented is inherent in the representative system: parliaments seat representatives, not the people. And the very method of choosing representatives through elections, rather than by lot, is based on the belief that all people are not equally quali?fied to rule. Elections, Manin (1997) argues, are based on the assumption that the qualities necessary to govern are not universally shared and that people want to be governed by their betters. These qualities need not be associated with distinctions of birth, so that elections are not aristocratic in the eighteenth century sense. But elections are a method for selecting one’s betters and, as Manin amply documents, they are and were seen as a way of recognizing a natural aristocracy of talent, reason, or whatever else voters would see as the index of the ability to govern.

Moreover, to be represented people must be organized and organization demands a permanent apparatus, a salaried bureaucracy, a propaganda machine. Hence, Michels (1962: 270) bemoaned, some militants become parliamentarians, party bureaucrats, newspaper editors, managers of the party’s insurance companies, directors of the party’s funeral parlors, and even Parteibudiger party bar keepers. As a disillusioned French communist would write many years later, The working class is lost in administering
its imaginary bastions. Comrades disguised as notables occupy themselves with municipal garbage dumps and school cafeterias. Or are these notables disguised as comrades? I no longer know(Konopnicki 1979: 53).

To summarize, the idea that political equality reflects some pre-existing state, either of nature or society, is untenable on both logical and empirical grounds. Logically, equality pre-existing in other realms does not imply political equality.

Empirically, even if all human beings were born equal, they become unequal in society, and even if societies experienced an inevitable tendency toward equality, the existing inequalities were and are sufficient to call for political remedies. In turn, political equality instituted by law is effectively undermined by social inequality. Political equality is equality in the eyes of a third party, the state, but not in the direct relation between any two persons. In no meaning then is equality the correct way to characterize democracy. If the founders used the languages of equality, it was to justify something else, better described as anonymity, generality, or oblivion to social distinctions.

4 Do Suffrage Restrictions Violate Democratic Ideology?

Yet there is one fact that appears to undermine anonymity: restrictions of suffrage. Indeed, the French Declaration qualified? its recognition of equality in the sentence that immediately followed: Men are born equal and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good. While some early constitutions made male suffrage nearly universal, during most of the nineteenth century the right to vote and the right to be elected was con?fined to adult men who owned property, earned some amount of income, or paid some amount of taxes.

The prevalence of suffrage censitaire may appear to contradict the norm of suppressing all distinctions in society and to be incompatible with the principle of political equality. Yet, even if the arguments were convoluted, franchise restrictions were not portrayed as such by their proponents.

Consider ?first the justi?cation by Montesquieu (1995: 155), who starts from the principle that All inequality under democracy should be derived from the nature of democracy and from the very principle of democracy. His example is that people who must continually work to live are not prepared for public office or would neglect their functions. As barristers of Paris put
it on the eve of the Revolution, Whatever respect one might wish to show for the rights of humanity in general, there is no denying the existence of a class of men who, by virtue of their education and the type of work to which their poverty had condemned them, is … incapable at the moment of participating fully in public affairs(cited in Crook 1996: 13). In such cases, Montesquieu goes on, equality among citizens can be lifted in a democracy for the good of democracy. But it is only apparent equality which is lifted…. The generic argument, to be found in slightly different versions, is that: (1) Representation is acting in the best interest of all. (2) To determine the best interest of all one needs reason. (3) Reason has sociological determinants: not having to work for a living (disinterest), or not being employed or otherwise dependent on others (independence). As a Chilean statesman put it in 1865, to exercise political rights it is necessary to have the intelligence to recognize the truth and the good, the will to want it, and the freedom to execute it. (A speech by Senador Abdón Cifuentes, cited in Maza Valenzuela 1995: 153). In turn, the claim that only apparent equality is being violated was built in three steps: (1) Acting in the best common interest considers everyone equally, so that everyone is equally represented. (2) The only quality that is being distinguished is the capacity to recognize the common good. (3) No one is barred from acquiring this quality, so that suffrage is potentially open to all.

The last two points are crucial. Legal distinctions of social status are valid only as indicators of the ability to govern and there are no barriers of any kind to prevent people from acquiring this ability and being relevantly indicated.

The Polish Constitution of 3 May 1791 illuminates the distinction between the democratic regime censitaire and non-democratic regime of legal distinctions. The Constitution asserts in Paragraph VI that deputies to the local parliaments … should be considered as representatives of the entire nation(italics in the original). Yet to become a deputy to the local parliaments (sejmiki, which, in turn elect deputies to the national legislature, the sejm) one had to be a member of a legally de?fined group, the gentry (szlachta). In turn, only members of the hereditary gentry could own land entitling to political rights. Hence, this was not a regime censitaire in the sense defi?ned above: (1) it barred access to politics to everyone who was not a member of a legally recognized group, the landed gentry, and (2) it barred access to the landed gentry.

In fact, the Polish justi?cation for privileging gentry was not reason but
Respect for the memory of our forefathers as founders of free government….
(Article II). Simon Bolivar used the same principle in 1819 when he offered positions of hereditary senators to the liberators of Venezuela, … to whom the Republic owns its existence(1969: 109). His celebrated speech, known
as the Discurso de Angostura, merits attention because its combination of appeals to reason with an acceptance of inequality became the hallmark of anti-democratic postures in Spanish America. Bolivar observed that most people do not know their true interests and went on to argue that Everything cannot be left to the adventure of elections: the People errs easily…. His solution was the institution of a hereditary Senate: future Senators Would learn the arts, sciences, and letters which adorn the spirit of a public man; from infancy would know to what Providence destined them…. And he had the gumption to claim that The creation of a hereditary Senate would in no way violate political equality.

Restrictions of political rights based on religion were also couched in a universalistic language, but the appeal was not to reason but to common values. From Rousseau and Kant to J.S. Mill, everyone believed that a polity can function only if it is based on common interests, norms, or values. In Latin America (indeed, also in the Spanish Constitution of 1812), the cement
holding societies together was to be Catholicism: of the 103 Latin American constitutions studied by Loveman (1993: 371), 83 proclaimed Catholicism as the official religion and 55 prohibited worship of other religions. While many arguments for restricting political rights to Catholics were openly directed against the principle of popular sovereignty it is not for people to change what God willed quite a few were pragmatic. For example, the Mexican thinker Lucas Alamán maintained in 1853 that Catholic religion deserves support by the state, even if we do not consider it as divine, because it constitutes the only common tie that connects all Mexicans, when all others are broken(cited after Gargarella 2005: 93, who provides other examples).

Restrictions on female suffrage present the most difficult issue. While early proponents of female suffrage observed that reason is not distributed along gender lines after all, some rulers had been queens (Sieyes according to Pasquino 1998: 71) the main argument against giving the right to vote to women was that, like children, they were not independent, had no will of their own. Women were already represented by the males in their households and their interests were to be represented through a tutelary, rather than an electoral, connection. Thus the justifying criterion was dependence, not sex.

Indeed, when a study in England in the 1880s discovered that almost one half of adult women lived in households in which there was no adult male, this justi?fication collapsed, and only pure prejudice retarded extending suffrage to women.

Yet why were women not independent in the same way as some men were? If women could not own property, they were legally barred from qualifying for suffrage, so this would violate the democratic ideology. But where they could and did own property in their own name, why would property ownership not be a sufficient indicator? Condorcet (1986 [1788]: 293), who defended property qualifi?cations, thought it should be: The reason for which it is believed that they [women] should be excluded from public function, reasons that albeit are easy to destroy, cannot be a motive for depriving them of a right which would be so simple to exercise [voting], and which men have not because of their sex, but because of their quality of being reasonable and sensible, which they have in common with women. And Chilean suffragettes claimed that Wives and mothers, widows and daughters, we all have time and money to devote to the happiness of Chile. (An article in El Eco, 3 August 1865, cited in Maza Valenzuela 1995: 156).

Since this is an issue about which it is easy to fall into anachronisms, let me process it through an example. Suppose that it is in the best interest of each and all people to evacuate a coastal town if a hurricane is impending and not to evacuate it if the danger is remote. A correct decision is good for everyone: all men, women, and children. The correct decision can be
reached only by people who can interpret weather forecasts. This excludes children, so that the decision should be made by parents in the best interest of children. I suspect that with some quibbles about where to draw the age line most people today would accept this reasoning: all contemporary democratic constitutions do. But why should only men participate in making
this decision? If the reason is that women are barred from taking meteorology courses in school, then we are back to the 1791 Poland. But suppose they do take such courses. Now the argument must be that even if they had the same capacity to exercise reason, women would always follow the views of their male protectors, independently of their own opinions. This is then
another sociological assumption, in addition to those that tied reason to property, income, or education.

Now, Schumpeter (1942: 244) argued that if any distinction is accepted, then the principle of making such distinctions must be as well: The salient point is that, given appropriate views on those and similar subjects, disquali?cations on ground of economic status, religion and sex will enter into the same class with disquali?cations which all of us consider compatible with
democracy.
Yet each distinction is based on a speci?c assumption for example, that 12-year olds are not prepared to vote tying it to the capacity to exercise reason. Obviously, today we would and do reject most such assumptions, although not those based on age or legally certi?fied sanity. Moreover, as we will see below, some such assumptions were driven by
only thinly veiled self-interest. But if these assumptions are accepted, then restrictions of suffrage do not violate the principles of democracy.

To put it abstractly, theories of representation differed in whether they took as the input the actual or ideal preferences, the latter being restricted by some normative requirements, such as they be other-regarding, consider
common good, etc. As Montesquieu (1995: 325; italics supplied) would say, political liberty does not consist of doing what one wants… liberty cannot be other but to be able to do what one ought to want and not to be obliged to do what one ought not want. Obviously, this distinction disappears if people naturally hold such ideal preferences. If they do not, the burden is placed on institutions, either to promote such preferences by educating citizens a common theme from Montesquieu to Mill or to treat such preferences in some privileged manner, by restricting su¤rage or weighting votes. As Beitz (1989: 35) observes, the latter solution defended by Mill is not unfair if those without such ideal preferences or without the conditions to develop
such preferences are willing to accept it. Moreover, while inegalitarian, such a system can be justifi?ed in universalistic terms if everyone can acquire such preferences or the conditions to acquire them.

Yet whatever one thinks of this logic, the ?final outcome was that birth was replaced by wealth, aristocracy by oligarchy. Still only a select few were to rule in the best interest of all. The society was to be divided into the rich, the few, the rulers and the poor, the many, the ruled: which a Connecticut representative, Samuel Dana, thought was quite proper (Dunn S. 2004: 23).

The drafter of the French Constitution of 1795, Boissy d’Anglas, declared that We must be ruled by the best… a country governed by property-owners is within the social order, that which is dominated by non-property owners is in a state of nature (cited in Crook 1996: 46). The consensus in mid-nineteenth century Colombia was that We want enlightened democracy, a democracy in which intelligence and property direct the destinies of the people; we do not want a barbarian democracy in which the proletarianism and ignorance drown the seeds of happiness and bring the society to confusion and disorder(Gutiérrez Sanin 2003: 185). The right to make laws belongs to the most intelligent, to the aristocracy of knowledge, created by nature, a Peruvian constitutionalist, Bartolomé Herrera, declared in 1846 (Sobrevilla 2002: 196); the Peruvian theorist José María Pando maintained that a perpetual aristocracy … is an imperative necessity; the Chilean
Andrés Bello wanted rulers to constitute a body of wise men (un cuerpo de sabios)?; while the Spanish conservative thinker Donoso Cortés juxtaposed the sovereignty of the wise to sovereignty of the people (Gargarella 2005: 120). Still by 1867, Walter Bagehot (1963 [1867]: 277) would warn that It must be remembered that a political combination of the lower classes, as such and for their own objects, is an evil of the first magnitude; that a permanent combination of them would
make them (now that many of them have the su¤rage) supreme in the country; and that their supremacy, in the state they now
are, means the supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge.

It was perhaps not a full circle but a circle it was. And it left a legacy that gave rise to conflicts which in many countries lasted over a hundred years.

These new distinctions were soon perceived as evidence that democracy did not ful?lfil its own ideals. Neither the poor nor women thought that their best interests were being represented by propertied men. They would struggle for suffrage, and suffrage was a dangerous weapon.

5 Democracy and Property

In a society that is unequal, political equality, if it is effective, opens the possibility that the majority would by law equalize property or the bene?fits of its use. This is a central theme in the history of democracy, as alive and controversial today as it was at the inception of representative government.

Since, as distinct from liberty or happiness, property, the kind of property that can be used to generate incomes, always was and continues to be held by a minority, the right to protect property would have to hurl itself against the interest of majorities. Hence, a tension between democracy and property was predictable, and it was predicted.

To sketch the history of this tension, one must begin with the Levellers, who are identi?fied by Wootton (1993: 71) as the ?first democrats who think in terms, not of participatory self government within a city-state, but of representative government within a nation-state. While they persistently and vehemently denied it, Levellers were feared by their opponents as wanting
to make everyone equal by redistributing land:15 in Harrington’s (1977: 460) words, By levelling, they who use the word seem to understand: when a people rising invades the lands and estates of the richer sort, and divides them equally among themselves. Some among them those calling themselves True Levellers or Diggers did set a commune on common land.

The demand for economic equality appeared during the French Revolution in Babeuf’s Plebeian Manifesto of 1795. Until then, while the revolutionary government confi?scated the lands of the Church and of the emigrant nobility, those were not redistributed to peasants but sold to rich commoners (Fontana 1993: 122). Babeuf did not want to equalize property, but to abolish it: we do not propose to divide up property, since no equal division would ever last. We propose to abolish private property altogether. Claiming that stomachs are equal, Babeuf wanted every man to place his product in a common pool
and receive from it an equal share. Hence, no one could take advantage of greater wealth or ability. He motivated his communist program by a moral principle, le bonheur commun, which must lead to the communauté, comfort for all, education for all, equality, liberty and happiness for all. (All citations are from Palmer 1964: 240-241.)

The demand for economic equality by the Babeuvists was derived from moral principles. Babeuf claimed that both legal and economic equality were only the natural outcome of the Enlightenment and both within the spirit of the French Revolution. Why should the fact or the postulate that all men are born equal justify political equality but not economic one? Why should
reasons be treated as equal but stomachs not? If logic does not dictate this distinction, one can suspect that only interests did. Even if the ultimate value is to be free from domination by another, the right to Natural Freedom, without being subjected to the Will or Authority of any other Man, does not economic compulsion to sell one’s services to another bind as much as the political subjugation to the command of another? Rousseau (1964: 154), at least, thought that no Citizen should be so opulent as to be able to buy another, and none so poor as to be constrained to sell himself.

But one can also think not on moral but on purely logical grounds that democracy, via legal equality, must lead to economic equality. Indeed, at some moment, legal and economic equality became connected by a syllogism: Universal suffrage, combined with majority rule, grants political power to the majority. And since the majority is always poor,16 it will con?fiscate
the riches. The syllogism was perhaps ?first enunciated by Henry Ireton in the franchise debate at Putney in 1647: “It [universal male suffrage] may come to destroy property thus. You may have such men chosen, or at least the major part of them, as have no local or permanent interest. Why may not these men vote against all property?” (In Sharp 1998: 113-4). It was echoed
by a French conservative polemicist, J. Mallet du Pan, who insisted in 1796 that legal equality must lead to equality of wealth: Do you wish a republic of equals amid the inequalities which the public services, inheritances, marriage, industry and commerce have introduced into society? You will have to overthrow property(cited by Palmer 1964: 230).

Note that, contrary to frequent misquoting, of which I am guilty as well, Madison (Federalist #10) thought that this consequence applied to direct, but not to representative democracies. Having identifi?ed a pure Democracy as a system of direct rule, Madison continues that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been
found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths
(italics supplied). Yet A Republic, by which I mean a Government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Still, he seems to have been less sanguine some decades later: the danger to the holders of property can not be disguised, if they are undefended against a majority without property. Bodies of men are not less swayed by interest than individuals…. Hence, the
liability of the rights of property….
(Note written at some time between 1821 and 1829, in Ketcham 1986: 152).

Once coined, this syllogism has dominated the fears and the hopes attached to democracy ever since. Conservatives agreed with socialists that democracy, speci?fically universal suffrage, must undermine property. The self-serving nature of the convoluted arguments for restricting suffrage to the propertied became apparent. The Scottish philosopher James Mackintosh predicted in 1818 that if the laborious classes gain franchise, a permanent animosity between opinion and property must be the consequence (Cited in Collini, Winch and Burrow, 1983: 98). David Ricardo was prepared to extend suffrage only to that part of them which cannot be supposed to have an interest in overturning the right to property (In Collini, Winch and
Burrow, 1983: 107). Thomas Macaulay in the 1842 speech on the Chartists pictured the danger presented by universal suffrage in the following terms:
The essence of the Charter is universal suffrage. If you withhold that, it matters not very much what else you grant. If you
grant that, it matters not at all what else you withhold. If you grant that, the country is lost…. My ?rm conviction is that, in our country, universal suffrage is incompatible, not only with this or that form of government, and with everything for the sake of which government exists; that it is incompatible with property and that it is consequently incompatible with civilization. (1900: 263)

Eight years later, from the other extreme of the political spectrum, Karl Marx expressed the same conviction that private property and universal suffrage are incompatible:

The classes whose social slavery the constitution is to perpetuate, proletariat, peasantry, petty bourgeoisie, it puts in possession of political power through universal suffrage. And from the class whose old social power it sanctions, the bourgeoisie, it withdraws the political guarantees of this power. It forces the political rule of the bourgeoisie into democratic conditions, which at every moment jeopardize the very foundations of bourgeois society. From the ones it demands that they should not go forward from political to social emancipation; from the others they should not go back from social to political restoration. (1952: 62).

According to Marx, democracy inevitably unchains the class struggle:
The poor use democracy to expropriate the riches; the rich are threatened and subvert democracy, by abdicating political power to the permanently organized armed forces. The combination of democracy and capitalism is thus an inherently unstable form of organization of society, only the political form of revolution of bourgeois society and not its conservative form of life (1934: 18), only a spasmodic, exceptional state of things … impossible as
the normal form of society
(1971: 198).

The fundamental contradiction of the Republican constitution identifi?ed by Marx would not materialize either if property ownership would expand spontaneously or if the dispossessed for some reasons abstained from using their political rights to con?scate property. On the other hand, Maier (1993: 127) notes, if the observer feared that social levelling would con-
tinue toward proletarianization, then the advance of democracy must appear an alarming trend. For this would suggest … that all democracy must in effect tend towards social democracy. That is, the advent of popular government and expanded electorate would ineluctably lead to programmes for further social equalization and redistribution on wealth.
Indeed, the idea
that democracy in the political realm must logically lead to social and economic equality became the cornerstone of Social Democracy. For Jean Jaures (1971: 71), The triumph of socialism will not be a break with the French Revolution but the ful?lfilment of the French Revolution in new economic conditions. Eduard Bernstein (1961) saw in socialism simply democracy brought to its logical conclusion. As Beitz (1989: xvi) observed, historically a main goal of democratic movements has been to seek redress in the political sphere for the effects of inequalities in the economy and society.
Socialists entered into elections with ultimate goals. The Hague Congress of the First International proclaimed that the organization of the proletariat into a political party is necessary to insure the victory of social revolution and its ultimate goal the abolition of classes.The ?first Swedish socialist program specifi?ed that Social Democracy differs from other parties in that it aspires to completely transform the economic organization of the bourgeois society and bring about the social liberation of the working class….(Tingsten 1973: 118-9). Even the most reformist among socialists, Alexandre Millerand, admonished that whoever does not admit the necessary and progressive replacement of capitalist property by social property is not a socialist. (Cited in Ensor 1908: 51). Yet on the road to these ultimate goals, socialists saw numerous measures that would reduce social and economic inequalities. The Parti Socialiste Français, led by Jean Jaures, proclaimed at its Tour Congress of 1902 that The Socialist Party, rejecting the policy of all or nothing, has a program of reforms whose realization it pursues forthwith, and listed ?fifty-four specifi?c measures (Ensor 1908: 345¤).

Swedish Social Democrats in 1897 demanded direct taxation, development of state and municipal productive activities, public credit, legislation concerning work conditions, old age, sickness, and accident insurance, as well as purely political rights (Tingsten 1973: 119-20).

The question that haunted social democrats was whether, as Hjalmar Branting posed it in 1886, the upper class [would] respect popular will even if it demanded the abolition of its privileges (cited in Tingsten 1973: 361). Were there limits to popular sovereignty, as exercised by electoral majorities? Would revolution not be necessary, as August Bebel feared in 1905, as a purely defensive measure, designed to safeguard the exercise of power legitimately acquired through the ballot? (cited in Schorske 1955: 43).

Yet there is a prior question which they did not consider. Can any political arrangement generate economic equality? Can equality be established by laws, even if the upper class would concede to the abolition of its privileges?

Or is some extent of economic inequality inevitable even if everyone would want to abolish it? Did egalitarian democrats fail or did they accomplish all that was within the reach?

6 By What Should We Be Surprised?

According to Dunn (2003: 22), democracy surprisingly turned from a revolutionary project into a conservative one Where the political force of the idea of democracy came from in this new epoch was its combination of formal social equality with a practical order founded on the protection and reproduction of an increasingly dynamic system of economic inequality….

No one at all in 1750 either did or could have seen democracy as a natural name or an apt institutional form for the effective
protection of productive wealth. But today we know better. In the teeth of ex ante perceived probability, that is exactly what
representative democracy has in the long run proved.

Should we share his surprise?

My argument has been that the sin was original. While, as Dunn (2005) emphasizes, in the second part of the eighteenth century democracy was a revolutionary idea, the revolution it offered was strictly political. Morally based arguments for redistribution or abolishment of property were marginal and ephemeral. In my reading, in its inception democracy was a project
simply blind to economic inequality, regardless how revolutionary it may have been politically. Moreover, by restricting suffrage, democracies replaced aristocracy by oligarchy.

Hence, I do not think that the surprise can be dated to 1750. In turn, viewed from the perspective of 1850, the coexistence of democracy with unequal distribution of property is hard to fathom. The syllogism according to which the poor would use their majority status to expropriate the rich was after all almost universally accepted. And it still makes logical sense today.

Just consider the favorite toy of political economists, the median voter model (Meltzer and Richards 1981): Each individual is characterized by an endowment of labor or capital and all individuals can be ranked from the poorest to the richest. Individuals vote on the rate of tax to be imposed on incomes generated by supplying these endowments to production. The revenues generated by this tax are either equally distributed to all individuals or spent to provide equally valued public goods, so that the tax rate uniquely determines the extent of redistribution. Once the tax rate is decided, individuals
maximize utility by deciding in a decentralized way how much of their endowments to supply. The median voter theorem asserts that there exists a unique majority rule equilibrium, this equilibrium is the choice of the voter with the median preference, and the voter with the median preference is the one with median income. And when the distribution of incomes is right-skewed, that is, if the median income is lower than the mean, as it is in all countries for which data exist, majority rule equilibrium is associated with a high degree of equality of post-?sc (tax and transfer) incomes, tempered only by the deadweight losses of redistribution. Moreover, the demand for social and economic equality persists. While elites see democracy in institutional terms, mass publics, at least in Eastern Europe and Latin America, conceive of it in terms of social and economic equality. In Chile, 59 percent of respondents expected that democracy would attenuate social inequalities (Alaminos 1991), while in Eastern Europe the proportion associating democracy with social equality ranged from 61 percent in Czechoslovakia to 88 percent in Bulgaria (Bruszt and Simon 1991). People do expect that democracy would breed social and economic equality. Hence,
the coexistence of democracy and inequality continues to be tense.

Yet income distribution appears to be amazingly stable over time. The strongest evidence, albeit for a relatively short period, comes from Li, Squire, and Zou (1997), who report that about 90 percent of total variance in the Gini coefficients is explained by the variation across countries, while few countries show any time trends. Longer time-series show that while income distribution became somewhat more equal in some democratic countries, redistribution was quite limited. These assertion are not contradictory: the main reason for equalization was that wars and major economic crises destroyed large fortunes and they could not be accumulated again because of progressive income tax. Earned incomes show almost no variation during the twentieth century. (For long-term dynamics of income distribution, see Piketty 2003 on France, Piketty and Saez 2003 on the United States, Saez and Veall 2003 on Canada, Banerjee and Piketty 2003 on India, Dell 2003 on Germany, and Atkinson 2002 on the United Kingdom.) It appears that there are no countries which equalized market incomes without some kind of cataclysm.

The cataclysms come in two kinds: (1) destruction of large property as a result of foreign occupation (Japanese in Korea, Soviet in Eastern Europe), revolution (Soviet Union), or war (France according to Piketty 2000), or (2) massive emigration of the poor (Norway, Sweden).

Since the issue is burning, explanations abound. Most assert that for a variety of reasons those without property, even if they constitute a vast majority in all known societies, either do not want to or cannot use their political rights to equalize property, incomes, or even opportunities. For reasons of space, I can only list the explanations of why the poor would not want to redistribute: (1) false consciousness due to a lack of understanding of the distinction between productive and non-productive property, (2) ideological domination due to the ownership of the media by the propertied, (3) difficulty of the poor to coordinate when they have some non-economic heterogeneous tastes, such as religion or race, (4) expectations that the poor would become rich, (5) the fact that taxes are palpable, while public spending is amorphous.

I am not taken by the idea that in general the poor would not want to lead better lives at the expense of the rich, but several arguments to the e¤ect that political rights are ineffective against private property make eminent sense.

Wealth holders enjoy disproportionate political influence, which they use to successfully defend themselves from redistribution (Benabou 2000).21 Nominally equal political rights do not seem to be enough to bar the privileged access of the rich to politics. Put differently, oblivion to economic differences is not sufficient to protect politics from the influence of money.

Yet this entire way of thinking confronts an awkward fact that many governments were elected with the support of the poor, wanted to equalize incomes, and tried to do so. Hence, to the extent to which they failed, it must have been for reasons other than not wanting or not trying. Here are some possible reasons:

(1) Redistributing productive property or even incomes is costly to the poor. Confronting the perspective of losing their property or not being able to enjoy its fruits, property owners save and invest less, thus reducing future wealth and future income of everyone. As Machiavelli observed, everybody is eager to acquire such things and to obtain property, provided that he be convinced that he will enjoy it when it has been acquired (Discourses on Livy. II.2, cited after Holmes 2003). Prospects of redistribution reduce investment. This structural dependence on capital (Przeworski and Wallerstein 1988) imposes a limit on redistribution even on those governments that want to equalize incomes. Hence, while some democratic governments do correct distributions of income generated by the unequal ownership of assets, equalizing assets ends up being a cataclysmic event, occurring only under exceptional circumstances.
(2) What are the assets that can be equalized in modern societies? Note that when the idea of equal property ?rst appeared productive assets meant land. Land is relatively easy to redistribute. It is enough to take it from some and give it to others. Hence, agrarian reforms were frequent in history of the world: according to data collected by Thomas (2005), there were at
least 175 land reforms entailing redistribution between 1946 and 2000 alone. But today the distribution of land plays a relatively minor role in generating income inequality. In turn, other assets resist such a simple operation. Communists redistributed industrial capital by turning it into the hands of the state and announcing that the uninvested pro?ts would be equally distributed to households. This solution engendered several negative consequences that need not be discussed. Alternatively, one could redistribute titles to property in the form of shares. But this form of redistribution has problems
of its own.22 Finally, one could, and many countries did, equalize human capital by investing in education. But people exposed to the same educational system acquire very di¤erent income earning capacities as a function of their social and economic background. Moreover, since people are born with different talents and since the use of these talents is socially bene?ficial,
we would want to educate talented people more. In sum, redistributing productive assets seems to be di¢ cult for purely technological, not just political or economic, reasons.
(3) Asking How laws establish equality in a democracy? the title of Chapter 5 of Book 5 Montesquieu takes as the point of departure equality of land. Then he goes on, If, when the legislator makes such a division, he does not give laws to maintain it, he only makes a passing constitution; inequality will enter from the side the laws do not defend, and the republic
will be lost.
Therefore, although real equality would be the soul of the state, it is so difficult to establish that an extreme rigor in this respect is not always convenient. It is sufficient, he continues, to reduce differences to some point, after which, it is for particular laws to equalize, to put it this way, the inequalities, by the charges they impose on the rich and the relief they accord to the poor. (1995: 151-5)

Remember that Babeuf believed that redistribution of property would not solve the problem of inequality, “since no equal division would ever last.

Suppose productive assets had been equalized. But individuals have different and unobservable abilities to transform productive assets into incomes.

Moreover, they are subject to vicissitudes of luck. Assume that particular individuals (or projects they undertake) are subject to slightly different rates of return: some lose at the rate of -0.02 and some gain at the rate 0.02. After 25 years, the individual who generates a 2 percent return will be 2.7 times wealthier than the individual who loses 2 percent per year, and after 50 years (say from the age of 18 to 68) this multiple will be 7.4. Hence, even if productive assets were to be equalize, inequality would creep back in. (The classical statement of this argument is by Pareto 1897, investigated recently by Mookherjee and Ray 2003 as well as Benhabib and Bisin 2007).

7 Judging Democracy

Analyzing the Thatcher era, Dunn (2000: 147) observes that “the state at this point is more plausibly seen as a structure through which the minimally participant citizen body (those prepared to take the trouble to vote) select from the meagre options presented to them those they hope will best serve their several interests. In that selection, the meagreness of the range of options is always important and sometimes absolutely decisive.” The issue is to what extent these choices are tightly circumscribed because the logic of electoral competition pushes political parties to o¤er and pursue similar policies and to what extent there is just little else they could do. The question is important because it affects our political judgment of democracy (On political judgment, see Dunn 2000 and the Introduction to this volume). Suppose that economic inequality could be diminished below the levels prevailing in developed democracies without reducing future incomes and that it is not being
diminished only because of the institutional features of democracy, however one thinks about them. Obviously, judging this trade-o¤ would depend on other values we would have to give up opting for equality. But there is no such trade-off.

Some degree of economic inequality is just inevitable. Democracy is impotent against it, but so is every other conceivable political arrangement.

Think of Brazil: during the past two centuries it was a royal colony, an independent monarchy, an oligarchical republic, a populist military dictatorship, democracy with a weak presidency, a right-wing military dictatorship, and democracy with a strong presidency. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, income distribution did not budge. Even the communists, who were out to
uravnit everything, and who did equalize assets in the form of public ownership, had to tolerate the inequality arising from different talents and motivations. Indeed, it turns out that the average household/individual income inequality is almost exactly the same in democracies and in non-democracies at each level of per capita income.

The quest for equality in the economic and social realm has been perpetual in democracies. The original blinders that modern representative institutions placed on economic and social standing of citizens could not effectively cover the glaring inequality of their life conditions. At least since Babeuf, not to speak of Marx, limiting equality to the political realm always seemed “illogical.” Moreover, if the right always feared that effective political equality would threaten property, the left knew that equality limited to the political realm cannot be sustained in the face of economic and social inequalities.

“Extending democracy from the political to the social realm” was not just a call for social justice but for making democracy effective in the political realm itself. But this quest may have its limits and the knowledge of these limits is essential to judge democracy.

This is not to say that all democracies are the same. I am not arguing in support of Pareto’s “law,” according to which income distribution remains the same whatever the institutional framework and in spite of progressive taxation. Among contemporary democracies, the ratio incomes of the top to the bottom quintile, which is perhaps the most intuitive measure of inequality, ranges from about 33 in Brazil to less than 6 in Finland, Belgium, Spain, and South Korea. Hence, we can compare and judge the choices parties offer to voters, as well as policies of particular governments. Moreover, since conflicts over distribution of opportunities, employment, and consumption are the bread and butter of democratic politics, we must be vigilant. But even
the best governments operate under limits not of their making. The ratio of 6 is still very large: it means that in a country with per capita income of $15,000 (about average for these countries in 2002, counted in 1995 PPP dollars), a member of the top quintile would have the income of $27,000, while a member of the bottom quintile $4,500. Most survey respondents in Spain and South Korea see such inequality as excessive. Yet perhaps this is just the extent to which any political system can equalize assets or incomes.

My point, thus, is that perhaps Dunn, and we all, put too much burden on democracy.

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US Debt

US Debt ClockInstant overview of all sectors of the economy on a single web site — all the different taxes– local, state and national revenue; demographics (births, deaths, employment, unemployment, federal employees, retirees, bankruptcies, assets p…

US Debt Clock

Instant overview of all sectors of the economy on a single web site — all the different taxes– local, state and national revenue; demographics (births, deaths, employment, unemployment, federal employees, retirees, bankruptcies, assets per citizens, liability per tax payer, debt per family, etc. Click on the link at the bottom to see what is happening on all levels,

internal and international. There are further links that will take you to commodities, including precious metals, energy figures, breakdown of unfunded liabilities — social security, prescription drugs, medicare; mortgages, auto sales and much more.

This is NOT a political attack, it is educational — a view of economic statistics as they are gathered. It is like watching the thermometer, the weather radar, the tides, the waxing and waning of the moon.

One Hundred Dollars

$100 – The most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.

Ten Thousand Dollars

$10,000 – Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car. Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.

One Million Dollars

$1,000,000 – This represents 92 years of work for the average human on earth.

One Hundred Million Dollars

$100,000,000 – Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.

One Billion Dollars

$1,000,000,000 – You will need some help when robbing the bank.

One Trillion Dollars

$1,000,000,000,000

When the U.S government speaks about a 1.7 trillion deficit, this is the volumes of cash its government borrowed in 2010 to run itself.

Keep in mind, these are double stacked pallets of $100 million dollars each in $100 dollar bills.

If you had spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now.

But $700 billion is the amount certain banks got during bailout.

One Trillion Dollars

This is a comparison of $1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) dollars to a standard size American football field and European Football field. That is a Boeing 747-400 transcontinental airliner in the picture, until recently the biggest passenger plane in the world.

15 Trillion Dollars

$15,000,000,000,000 is the amount shown in the diagram above. The U.S. national debt (credit bill) surpassed the 15 trillion two months before Christmas 2011.

114.5 Trillion Dollars

$114,500,000,000,000. – US unfunded liabilities. To the right you can see the pillar of cold hard $100 bills that dwarfs the WTC & Empire State Building – both at one point world’s tallest buildings. For scale, you can see the Statue of Liberty.

The 114.5 Trillion dollar super-skyscraper is the amount of money the U.S. Government knows it does not have to fully fund the Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, Military and Civil Service pensions. It is the amount which will not be available to pay all its bills.

If you live in U.S., this is also your personal credit bill for which you are responsible, along with everyone else. to the citizens of the United States created their government to serve them, gave them the power under the Constitution to tax just enough to operate its duties, which are enumerated in the Constitution. This is what the government has done so gradually that we are suddenly facing the destruction from within of our economy because of this unfunded liability. What other nations have been unable to do to us, we are doing to ourselves. This not an attack on any person or party

 — THERE IS PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND.

Source: Federal Reserve and www.USdebtclock.org <http://www.usdebtclock.org/>