The Truth About Free-Market Capitalism: Oil Prices Reveal Extent of Cronyism
By Daily Bell Staff - February 17, 2016

Loy wonders why we acquiesce in the appalling realities of global inequities and sleep so peacefully at night. He finds his answer in Rodney Dobell’s explanation that “lies largely in our embrace of a peculiarly European or Western [but now global] religion, an individualistic religion of economics and markets, which explains all of these outcomes as the inevitable results of an objective system in which … intervention is counterproductive.” Any intervention in the “world of business” is perceived as a threat to the “natural order of things,” a direct challenge to the “wisdom of the market.” He claims that: “The hegemony achieved by this particular intellectual construct … has become a dogma of almost universal application, the dominant religion of our time.” – Counterpunch

It is generally accepted in the mainstream media that the West runs on “capitalism” – that market forces determine sociopolitical and economic outcomes.

This view is prevalent in government and education as well. It permeates society at a fundamental level like muddy water seeping through a swamp.

The excerpt above from Counterpunch (a “leftist” element of the mainstream media) provides us with a strong statement of this elite promotion.

The essay, posted in May 2015, cites David R. Loy, a professor of international studies at Bunkyo University in Japan and a “Zen Buddhist teacher.” In his book, A Buddhist History of the West, we are told he offers “a compelling viewpoint on why we ought to understand our present economic system as the West’s dominant religion.”

It is one in which “intervention is non-productive.” Say what? Twenty-first century government is dominant around the world, including the West.

Central banks manipulate every part of the larger, global economy. What is not touched directly by governments is often entangled in the West’s military-industrial complex.

Our environments are pervasively shaped by huge institutional forces controlled by shadowy financial elements. But during this era of the Internet, these forces have been exposed: We can see them more clearly if we wish to.

A recent article in Forbes shows us the reality “behind the curtain.”

The following excerpt should certainly help dispel the idea that the West runs according to free-market dictates. It clearly sums up recent economic history and makes inarguable points regarding monetary influences and those who shape them.

Central Banks Sizing Up Oil Intervention? … We’ve argued that central banks should outright buy commodities (particularly oil). And we think they will.

In 2009, despite the evaporation of global demand, oil prices spiked from $32 to $73 in four months after China tapped its $3 trillion currency reserves to snap up cheap commodities. Within two years, oil was back above $100. China’s role in the commodity market was a huge contributor to the recovery in emerging markets from the depths of the global financial and economic crisis.

… We expect intervention to come … Remember, as we said last week, historical turning points for markets often come from some form of intervention (public or private policy). And both the ECB and the BOJ have said in recent weeks that there is “no limit” to what they can buy as part of their respective QE programs.

Oil prices have moved down with extraordinary vigor in the past months. Not so very long ago, prices flirted with $100 a barrel. Now there are suggestions oil might move through $20 a barrel and go as low as $15.

Of course, an argument can be made that the price of oil has now been manipulated downward much as it was manipulated upward in past decades via false scarcity promotions.

The idea is that low prices will destabilize the Russian economy in particular and make Russia more amenable to Western influences. Perhaps Putin will be ousted as part of this program, or so it is reportedly hoped.

At the same time, low oil prices have begun to affect the fabric of the larger market itself. The January sell-offs seemed to be preparing global markets for a scenario similar to the 2008 subprime crisis in which the world’s solvency was undermined by a real-estate collapse.

Large corporations and banks made investments and projections based on oil prices that have proven woefully optimistic. Thus this Forbes article arguing forcefully for intervention and explaining why it has taken place – with salutary results – in the past.

For investors, especially, central bank policies in the 21st century are of the utmost importance. Fall victim to the perception that market forces shape our world and you risk running your portfolio aground on the jagged shoals of terminal naiveté.

Upcoming months will surely help shape the immediate future of 2016 market performance. And the “shaping” will come in the form of central bank determinations and implementations.

Do you think the world economy is woefully over-extended? That capitalism’s current model is headed for extinction in the long- or short-term? Have you sold the market short based on rational expectations of the unwinding of a ruined system?

Perhaps you better think again. The world is run by a handful of people wielding extraordinarily powerful monetary, fiscal and industrial facilities.

Please note: This is not necessarily a grim truth and it certainly doesn’t interfere with your ability to seek out opportunities and capitalize them. But it does capsize – at least it should – any fairytale having to do with the impact of free-market forces on the Way the World Works.

In the long term, the market has its way. But in the long term, as Keynes once said, we are all dead. In the short term the market is highly manipulated, even though rhetoric doesn’t admit to the reality.

Not every manipulation has the requisite, expected result, of course. But these manipulations ought to be taken very seriously. They deserve to be scrutinized, assessed and acted on as necessary.

Conclusion: Don’t fall into the trap of rational expectations when it comes either to markets or the larger “capitalistic” system under which they are said to labor. Global markets have likely never been more controlled or manipulated than today, so be wary of investing in any asset class touched by the forces enumerated above.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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  • Philip

    Philip. Another great article DB. Look at this article from COMER they are having an ongoing court battle against the Central Bank of Canada and the government. William Krehm has fought them for the last half century, he is close to a hundred years old, such a nice guy and incredibly knowledgeable. I am sure you know of him. Keep up the good work. Philip

  • Bruce C.

    It’s all a question of how far down the rat hole we are. I believe that market forces will ALWAYS overwhelm any manipulation efforts eventually, and usually sooner than later.

    Even though I’d like to see a denouement to all of this insanity within my lifetime, the idea that CBs may start buying oil to raise its price is a reprieve that I’m definitely willing to grant for the sake of pure entertainment. If CBs have a hard time wondering what the price of money should be (via interest rates) they’re gonna pull their proverbial hair out trying to set the “right” price for oil. The stage is basically that the world economy is based upon oil costing about $30 per barrel yet the oil producing infrastructure needs it to be about $70 per barrel.

    Excuse me, I’m going to make some popcorn…

    • Insofar as markets reflect need then yes I agree that if needs are not met then whatever presented itself as a promise of fulfilment is recognizable meaningless or irrelevant. But we live in a time where true needs are subordinated to an engineered and false sense of needs that also effects and reflects a diminishing of consciousness in which to recognize needs outside the managed dictate.
      And as the transnational technocracy redefines everything and everyone in corporate terms, the discards will be scripted out of being accorded needs – as are the Palestinians in significant ways. Whereas they are literally walled in the Gaza strip, populations elsewhere require or are being organized in compliance and servitude along different lines. Perhaps a critical moment is whether the armed forces and police – or indeed mercs – are willing to support outright war upon their own people when those people have nothing left to lose by refusing to comply. But technological surveillance and weapon developments – along with pharma and biotech scams, all join up to serve a truly inhuman agenda – excepting of course the people who are supporting it are human beings capable of some awareness and appreciation of love.
      Perhaps the destruction is intended to get to the brink before flipping into saviour mode under the global aegis – and look at the US patent for medical marijuana -or the results of treatment with GCmaf, or even ‘megadose vitC’ – and a range of other integrative approaches. It isn’t as if they/we do not know how to heal disease – along with what causes it – but that there is every basis to suppress such knowledge under the grip of ‘market forces’ in which people kill and sicken themselves – willingly.
      So though it is not my choice – I see Planetary suicide as a potential choice – though I feel that back in the cold war – that was not taken when it was at the brink.
      As for a glut of cheap stuff – is that a way to set everyone up so that the eruption of a Iran-Saudi triggered conflagration could shoot oil up to $100-200 a barrel. Don’t the insiders get to plunder and consolidate even more power through such ‘market opportunities’?

      • Bruce C.

        I “like” your observation that “true needs are subordinated to an engineered and false sense of needs…” and your “planetary suicide” concept, and that – ironically – even “cold war” despair didn’t “inspire” as much suicide.

        That’s heavy stuff. The demented/evil agenda by others aside, I think a big “non partisan”/objective factor is human over population. Even the “esoteric philosophy” that I’ve read surprisingly refers to that. It seems to have to do with (conflict with) quality of life issues. So much of what goes on politically and economically and fiscally and financially and monetarily has to do with – indirectly – population growth. Unfortunately, ever increasing population is a assumed to be a given. Therefore, some systems of thought are based upon that. Even something as mundane as the US Social Security system counts on ever increasing population. Heck, almost every (Western) system counts on that as well. Et cetera.

        We shall see what happens. Some say wars are mankind’s way of controlling population growth. Unfortunately, unlike (true) animals, environmental factors (and I mean in scope – mental, emotional, etc.) don’t seem to affect propagation of “species” and so that biological impertinence is dealt with differently (aka by modern intellectual means).

        I want to think about this some more. Thanks for the heads up

        PS I don’t think anyone is happy now or will be in the future financially if invested in the stock markets, at least in terms of short-term speculative profits. Everything is so screwed up that no one is “winning”. Could be why things may stabilize soon but I don’t think so because nobody seems to get that people “don’t have any money”. How will higher oil prices benefit anyone but lucky speculators?

        • I see that a depopulation agenda is underway – whether being run by global elites, self-suiciding lifestyle and political-corporate choices or wars. An underside of which is the growing prevalence of a sense of humans as a kind of virus upon the Earth. I assert it is human thinking that is like a cancer or virus – not human being. Once your own sense of worth is compromised – all you see is un-worthyness – and that perception is the foundation of a withheld or masked identity in ‘power over’ rather than ‘relationship and communication with’.
          I could challenge the idea of population growth as a cause in itself because I feel it is a symptom or effect. Artificially contrived scarcities upset the balance of everything from the foundations up – and trying to deal piecemeal with one facet of the symptoms results in them coming up elswehere but with more heads.
          I choose to align my focus into true need met – than become defined in reaction to negative agenda. And of course that means connecting more honestly than the artificial need matrix of conditioned thinking. It runs deep – in terms of our sense of self and world – but it keeps us shallow so as to lose our depth of feeling and appreciation
          Crises are a way of forcing changes that cant be consciously accepted or navigated – usually because of denied or suppressed fears that become the basis of a falsely defined sense of who you are and what is going on.

          But now we see artificially contrived crises for the purpose of directing narratives that enable predation and plunder – and the real crisis here is not the form it takes but the loss of conscious discernment that allows it to operate unseen. Mesmerised.

          I write in somewhat condensed idea – with all the focus on idea that serves the underlying meanings – which are in preverbal, felt or intuited – so it is dense – and perhaps also disturbing – but in a way that opens an honesty rather than operating a persuasive personal or private agenda. I appreciate both the tuning in – and the sharing.

          If sudden shift of market occurs, insiders with leverage can ‘make a killing’. G-Sachs have (I read) significantly positioned themselves to benefit from an imminent Middle East war (Iran/Saudi to start with). The effect of significantly rising fuel cost on marginal businesses may tip many into insolvency – G-S was the major beneficiary of the 2008 crash. I personally do not know if even the best laid plans might not go awry – so I stay open to that there is always more going on that we are currently aware of – and that inspires me to be curious rather than despairingly fatalistic.

          Esoterically… I feel there is a link between fragmentation of Soul Consciousness and over population. But I really do not think one can think this sort of thing into the framework of physical reality as it is generally accepted.

          • Bruce C.

            “Survival” has long been considered the driving force in life. But that is one of many examples in which knowledge is claimed without realizing that certain beliefs are operating that both create the physical situation but also affects the conscious reasoning of both the “subject” and the “observer.” “Esoteric philosophy” (Seth in particular) claims that what he calls “value fulfillment” is what motivates life, and that can be likened to the “quality” of an entity’s life (of all species) but not just physically but emotionally and spiritually too.

            I agree that a “fragmentation of Soul Consciousness” is behind/beneath the mentalities of “survival at all costs”. When peoples’ self concepts are too limited they become “like animals” (no offense to animals.) Physical survival at all costs is perverse and extreme because it loses meaning. In my opinion there are many places on the earth that are not “suitable” for human habitation in terms of quality of life or “value fulfillment” as I understand it, and yet in some cases those regions can have some of the highest population densities on the planet. That said, it’s a complex issue because people “like” challenges and sometimes they choose life circumstances to address them. No one has the right to impose one’s own values on another, but at the same time people can get “stuck on ignorance” and aren’t fulfilled in any way even by their own standards.

            Seth has talked about – warned actually – that unless people start to develop greater, truer concepts of themselves and reality that “the species will not survive”. That can manifest in many ways from nihilistic lifestyles to pollution to wars to biological contagions to even a lack of desire to procreate.

          • Yes, I appreciate Seth too. The ‘narrative definition’ of un-recognized (presumed true) definition usurps direct block Soul-knowing – which is not a linear physically compartmented exclusivity – but an Infinity – a Singularity – a Wholeness – an Edgeless Is! One doesn’t really have a Soul – for it is what is being all that you are – (recognized or not). Oversoul knowing is like the hand with many fingers and Oversouls are in a sense ‘fragmented’ in multiple synchronous focus – from a Now that has no point in time – and so is the timeless or non physical – non-local – Consciousness that has infinite experience of itself through the extension of its thought or individuations.
            The natural perspective – at rest in wholeness – is of a presence that is both Infinite and locally specific at the same time. (This synchronicity is itself fragmented as ‘time’ in the way we are generally experiencing/believing it to run).
            But the fragmented perception is not True so much as invested with truth by the focus in concept that differentiates from the Part/Whole Integrity of being. Taking an image of reality to be your self-concept and giving it priority in your mind over the unadulterated Communication of your being. Now are you a ‘self-made man!’ and now you have great need of survival! – which is the use of the reinforcement of subconscious echo – whereby certain procedures can be given to an automatic response so as to free up attention to engage in the experience that is opening up. But to be locked into a subconscious triggered ‘code red’ as one’s identity – as the lens or mind through which everything is redefined in terms of threat to a personal exclusivity and elitism – is to try to operate manually from a sense of threatened isolation amidst the unrecognized reflections of denied self. The persistence in self-concept fragments more and more Living Essence to denied feelings while taking in and expanding more and more complex fragmentation of lies to cover and bolster lies. The disintegration of which is the crisis through which Soul-awakening stirs within the dream of a separate segregated power over life – to reintegrate the living essence to its true source.
            Initially the self presumes IT is to be spiritualized or become enlightened or manifest a wonderful destiny – because that is the framing of the dream – but as the identity is reconfigured to let more light in – the light simply is who you have always been – even during the experience of struggling in darkness. And thus all the illegitimate or unaligned and unbelonging beliefs are brought to light instead of trying to recruit light to ‘survive them’ – by experiencing life from a shifted perspective and living from there.

            Value is established for you (as for anyone) by what you/we choose to invest your awareness and focus within. So focussing in Living Idea is a creation of experience of the qualities of Life – because such Idea is integral to the whole and reflects a unique relationship and perspective to the whole. Focusing and exclusively identifying in image and concept as if it is one’s Self established a sense of having gone out of one’s Mind and become something else and the body of a contracted dense sense of withdrawal and withholding (survival) reinforces that so as to make the personality level seem self-evident as a new basis from which Everything else is redefined or denied.

            Cultural values like everything else in our world – are alloys of love and hate and one can see that the infinite variation of unique creative expression translates into a strange masquerade when filtered through the lens of assertively defended self-concept. It is a kind of mixed up mutating mess that speaks of its original imprinting – until
            one is no longer operating from that – having truly looked on it and found it is not who you really are.

            These sketches of idea are a desire to give some form to the Formless so that intuitive stirring wakes to see the correspondences with our world. An invitation to rise up from the ‘rabbit hole’ of inasely conflicted self to a fresh perspective in which less of our power is being given or fed to the ideas and embodiments that undermine our experience and participation in Life on Earth – as a truly connected reflection of the emergent qualities of Life. For ‘Soul’ is not a private individual body bag with a brain that is supposed to know something or control anything, It is a node within an Infinite Communication – but to bring this home – I feel to state that this is not other than simply being the authentic presence of you – minus the invalidating script of guilt, fear and self-hatred. It is impossible to deny or reject any part of who we are without generating an equal and opposite reaction, but it is altogether possible to choose who you prefer to be because it is simply true of you in this moment and not as a conformity or subjugation to any assertive or imposed idea of who or what anything SHOULD be.

            The evolving or transformation of the personality construct is a bit like the leaning to be a conduit that doesn’t block its own channel – get in its own way. Ursurp its own natural function etc. What happens when we fight against ourself in that way – dis-ease, dysfunction and death!

  • Praetor

    The shifting sand of cronyism! Iran, we agree with your freeze, we will begin pumping now, and Iraq likes the freeze too!!!

  • John G

    Your article

  • John G

    Sorry , your article only touched on the bets placed on oil futures. The game is for the hedgemony status! All these TBTF have tens of trillions in derivatives on this commodity alone. Who will break first, Russian ecomony or western central banking? The death rattles of insolvency are being heard all over. The price of oil is a weapon that has been used before. Now this time the banking system has been exposed to low oil prices like never before.
    If OPEC can keep oil low it will kill the hedgemony thru systemic failure of western banking as we know it through the vast calls on derviatives.
    The US dollar status will be challenged. Perhaps Goldman may be writing CDS paper for this very event?

    Seems to me right around the time of the repeal of Glass Stengel, this became the starting point of stagnation of wages for the American middle class.
    Coincidentally this is also the point of drastically increasing size and profits of the financial system and central banking complicity. This was the point in history were the flood gates of hell were unleashed unto the “new system”.

    How much longer before the system implodes? The whole system reminds me of a real seedy casino, smelly, worn, abused, rigged, and better hurry up and get out of there because it gives you the creeps. War is already a real part of the game. Sociopaths are mostly in charge… what could go wrong?

    There article is spot on about control of labor, commodities, and guided markets. Truely the cost of paper clips via central command has been set for us.
    Sadly, There are no markets, only interventions.

    • “Sadly, There are no markets, only interventions.”

      This was our point.

  • If ‘religion’ is the underlying idea by which we define our self and through which we then define and experience relationships with others and our world, then the idea of self in the West has developed the idea of individuals – but in such a way as for the form of individualism to become a trojan through which the sacrifice of the individual is demanded unto a form of collectivism manipulated by a shadow elite, such that a tyrannous system of proscribed living is run through a matrix of directed narrative in which incentives condition in place of a living will. This to me is a Luciferian dream – because there is no vibrancy of feeling apart from tapping into denied rage, terror and grief in ways to generate a fake emotionality to accompany the dream of a life. Such ‘individuals’ are each conditioned to identify and defend a separate, disconnected, and vulnerable sense of guilted fears, that keep it susceptible to manipulation by a false will – so as to keep it from any intimacy of true relation in which the lack of validity of such a scripted lie of ‘independence’ stands obvious.
    The movement to control Life and conform the responsive feeling of Life to sacrifice its free willing and instead replicate a ‘control’ mentality that draws its authority and power not from an intimate honesty of relation but from a lovelessly asserted narrative of a cold and un-recognizing glare; of an un-embracing reinforcement of isolation within a sense of powerlessness from which one feels compelled to align with in order not to let the lid open to expose an overwhelming self-negative that such power was called to protect from – and that power operates in each little mind as the idea of private thinking, with an underside that is mapped out from surface awareness or redefined to seem something quite unsymptomatic of being split off from one’s true presence – or the felt recognition of an Indivisible Life of which each and all are individual expressions – regardless the play of asserted narrative definitions.
    The idea of asserting or accepting identity in self-concept is of attempting to fix or freeze the flow of being in such a way as to generate a sense of resistance and opposition from the Movement of one’s being – and then use that sense of power to validate hateful or unloving reaction or ‘personal power’. This elitism discards and denies and invalidates all that does not align with asserted conceptual order in righteous unfeeling hate – whilst telling itself and those who are needed to listen and reflect – a narrative of justification. The energy and intent of hate, terror, rage, loss, powerlessness, and shame all go forth unconsciously for the most part with some aspects being just below surface consciousness – and call forth manifestations of shadow power – that grows the more we fight it because it feeds upon our inner allegiance to a religion of hate dressed in forms of kindness or reasonableness – until sufficiently provoked.
    The complexity and speed of the mind that maintains this ‘protection racket’ means it has already shifted before the little mind can begin to think – and directs such thinking to false associations by which to invest in futility – though every single instance may elicit a dog’s willingness to come alive in fetching yet another stick. Allegiance to a concept of self can never open relationship – excepting as a contractual conditionality.
    At the ‘top’ of the pyramid scheme is the attempt to assert the new word order, for as the word is given – so shall all things be. But without real relationship – there is no true creativity, no inspiration or receptivity – nothing but empty forms given arbitrary meanings that do not align or witness anything but a disconnected mind fixed or frozen in its own self-concept. This is an idea of death – because without movement of perspective, and feeling in rich reflective interrelatedness – there is no Life left through which to feel or know the difference.

    However, the willingness to embrace life in true willingness releases the allegiance to a death cult, and opens its abilities to be used on behalf of Life. Not a conceptual model by which to define and control, but a going forth from a truly felt perspective. If this were a religion it would be the recognition of such reversal that paused so as to get out of the way enough let a balanced and connected perception rise as a correction to the fragmented struggle amidst a sense of threat. And the basis would not be any external authority so much as an inner appreciation and recognition of authorship – because there is no separation between the Creative and its Expression or embodiment – excepting a sense of self-consciousness distorts the reflection.

    Ideas are currency of interrelated exchange within an expanding wholeness – but concepts are symbols of symbols that have been taken out of living context so as to hold meanings different than the original and dissonant to the whole. There are direct correspondences with our economic system of currency. It has progressively become disconnected from true life and wealth to seem to become a thing in itself to which the wealth and the life of the whole must be sacrificed. What happens at the end of a grand cycle? What happens in any moment of existence? It all depends on perspective derived from the idea we accept and invest in – and it is inherently a transformational and self-transcending movement. There isn’t the option not to change – only the way in which we take the ride.

    • rahrog

      I don’t see what religion has to do with any of these market shenanigans. The guys running this global dog & pony show are a bunch of fascist as–oles. PERIOD.

      • That then is your asserted and defended belief system – and you are run by it while you are a believer.
        I see the blame religion as being the core of all corrupted consciousness – but I don’t blame you for feeling pissed. These are YOUR feelings. If such feeling were to run the world, then anyone who can trigger them in others gets to pull their strings – yes?
        The term religion can be used in a different sense than an organised institutional identity. Science is a search to uncover truth – but it has become a kind of religion because anything invested with belief and defended as one’s self (or protection) is operated out-from and no longer open to question.
        Many in business believe it is a dog eat dog war of a world and appearances are maintained to make it more bearable for those who cant face reality. As they see a world peopled by others seeking power over them or indeed as–oles – they feel justified in getting in first and winning!
        How many here would be so quick to cry foul if they were in the echelons of privilege and power? Perhaps that is not fair because most do not have the drive or predilection to forsake all else in such pursuit. Does power envy fuel the hatred of the elites? Is it because their actions are impinging on me that I hate market frauds – but in an expanding bubble before it pops, most everyone is suckling the pig.
        Hate is easy, blame gives a little relief to vent. Joining in hate seems to generate some sense of identity and mutual validation – but what does it actually achieve? I feel that the ‘bastards’ who rig money markets are not so different from those who set up and capitalize on hatreds. For they study the mind and behaviour of other people in order to find ways to trigger them into serving their agenda while believing they are free.
        I’m not saying there isn’t a need to really feel what we feel – but I see blame and hate being used to ESCAPE feeling what we feel. Not surprising because it feels horrible, painful and very sh–ty! I feel there is another way to go with this that feeding the same old cycle. But not until one is tired of it. So many are so keen to war – no matter the unimaginable misery it opens. I don’t say there is not a call to stand in integrity and live from there despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and sometimes that says No to what is unacceptable in very forceful ways. But what is done in hate sows hate and lays its foundation in hate. Nothing new under the sun.

  • John G

    It is an honour to get a response from the daily bell. My main point was the double edged sword of low oil prices. This hurts both sides. Which system will crack first? Derviatives are the control mechanism for virtually everything. Oil is intertwined throughout all of them. This could well be the catalyst
    to bring about the reset. I have not read much on this point. Your article was one of just few that touched on this. Everyone is speculating on what will cause the systemic collapse. Derivatives will be front center stage.



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    Counterpunch features Paul Craig Roberts as often as The Daily Bell.

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  • Q46

    So the accusation is free market capitalism and individualism is bad and more intervention is needed.

    However there is no free market capitalism because Government intervention is everywhere.

    What we need is free markets and no Government.

    Conspiracy alert!

    Large corporations and shadowy elite and special interests can only manipulate under the protection of Government.

    It all boils down to Government.

  • LawrenceNeal

    There is no capitalism. There are only self serving manipulations by shadowy elites.

  • Skip Robinson

    How can there be capitalism when the money is not even free market derived? A grand illusion.