Cooperation between the U.S. and China was at the forefront of discussions this week in Washington at two events focusing on the possibilities of a bilateral relationship between the two countries on cutting emissions. Next week, U.S. officials will travel to China to boost cooperation on climate change. The delegation includes Department of State special envoy for climate change Todd Stern, White House science adviser John Holdren, and assistant energy secretary David Sandalow. Stern spoke Wednesday at the Centre for American Progress (CAP) about cooperation between the U.S. and China towards combating climate change. On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on U.S.-China Climate Change Cooperation, with the testimony of climate change experts. The immediate need for real progress by both countries was heavily emphasized at both events. The statistics are staggering. Together, China and the U.S. are responsible for 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. – IPS
Dominant Social Theme: A shared environmental concern leads to complex talks at a high level.
Free-Market Analysis: Climate change is back – and big. The Obama administration wants a federal cap-and-trade program that would damp down carbon emissions in the United States. It may get one given the congressional advantage it holds currently. But the problem with cap-and-trade is probably threefold. First, there's still no conclusive evidence, apparently, that global warming exists, or not to the degree that those such as Al Gore would have us believe. Second, there is no real evidence that cutting human-based carbon can have a significant impact on carbon production throughout the planet (it's a bit like spitting in a bucket). Third, the carbon emissions of countries like China are extensive and tend to vitiate what support there is for cutting back carbon emissions in first-world countries.
It seems to us, given these three issues, that articles such as the one excerpted above should include a frame of reference involving a larger level of skepticism. Just as importantly, in our estimation, the article should indicate what is probably the real reason for carbon reduction talks with China: Western and especially US citizens, will be hard put to absorb a carbon tax while China, India and other non-Western countries drive their carbon emissions higher. The discussions with China, when seen from this perspective, are more political than environmental. China must enter into an agreement of some sort with the United States in order to make carbon regulation more feasible. Whether or not the idea is itself sound, the reality is that the entire carbon-emissions tax-and-trade project is jeopardized, at least to a degree, if the West perceives the East is not playing along.
An analysis such as this would be a modest step in the right direction. But an analysis featuring the "why" of cap-and-trade would be the most desirable of all. From our point of view, it has less to do with the environment and more to do with control. Just as central banking is a methodology of control (control over money) so global warming provides the justification for additional controls over a broad sector of the economy.
The memes (socially dominant themes) that the political and monetary elite use to generate increased control and profit are all on display when it comes to global warming. It is a controversial postulate to begin with, and its solution produces a draconian level of artificial scarcity. It is driven by fear and implemented (if it is) by media-induced panic.
In fact, the signature of such memes is generally fear. For instance war, the bloodiest meme of all, must by its nature include the whipping-up of initial mistrust. Eventually this mistrust can grow into hatred and thus wars, especially small ones, can be sustained for a very long time indeed. War is very profitable for the monetary elite, profitable enough so that former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against the growth of the military industrial complex in America.
Other examples … One can take advantage of fear over communicable diseases to introduce costly medicines that can then be purchased in large quantities with government funds. One can play on financial fears in order to create new and more profitable (if risky) investment products. And of course, one can highlight environmental fears in order to introduce new kinds of products and services to remedy human destruction of the environment and to create more sustainable behaviors.
There are those readers of the Bell that will not accept the above statements. Nonetheless, they are the continual core argument of this modest paper. In our opinion it is indisputable that the monetary elite creates socially dominant themes in order to profit from them. (Skeptical? You may read more in High Alert, a book that delineates the mechanism in some detail, and has been placed in its entirety on this website.)
And so long as we are on the subject, let's point out what is arguably the most successful socially dominant theme of all: central banking. Purportedly, a mechanism to ameliorate financial crises, this legalized money monopoly actually exacerbates the problems it purports to cure, even while attempting to gather more and more power during every economic crisis.
We live in interesting times. The Internet has vitiated a great many of the monetary elite's hitherto successful memes. It is hard to create the appearance of scarcity and to provide solutions for the apparent scarcity when there is the kind of push-back that the Internet is providing today – always summoning evidence to the contrary. Central banking itself, the lynchpin of monetary elites themes, is receiving growing opposition. But other memes are foundering as well. Political correctness is generally under attack; the Western, mechanistic model of medicine is under severe attack, and even global warming seems to us an increasingly hard sell.
In the 20th century, the monetary elite basically maintained control of governments, religious institutions (by substituting monetary rituals for spirituality) and most importantly the media. Today, the monetary elite maintains a grip on governments, but it is a shaky one. Central banking – as close to a state religion as there was in the 20th century – is failing. And the mainstream media's grip over information has been loosened by the Internet and alternative flows of information (such as this one).
The last time technology interfered with power was over 400 years ago when the Gutenberg press allowed large populations to read for the first time. The result was a simmering 30-year war called the Peasant War, the implosion of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther and the Reformation, the rise of a myriad of less formal churches and methods of worship, the interruption of the royal order in Britain, the discovery of the New World, the American and French Revolutions and other results too numerous to recite. Change comes fast when the elite loses its grip. This is yet another reason we regularly recommend that people consider holding at least a minimal amount of gold and silver in physical form. In times of change, precious metals provide stability and value. Regardless of the business cycle, as the process of change evolves (and it is NOT the change of Barack Obama) and paper money becomes increasingly suspect, we expect more and more will discover money metals.
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