Starving the Monkeys: Fight Back Smarter
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"Starving the Monkeys" Errata
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Last updated 16 Jan 2012
Ch 1, Enthusiasm to Attack
Some have lamented that this chapter is too martial. However, it is important to understand how totally sold I had been. Also, purists sometimes make the mistake of taking war off the table. In the real world, there are plenty of good reasons to go to war. We just haven't seen them for a long, long time.
Ch 2, Who Should Read This Book
This chapter bothers some who have been practically crushed by the economic terrorism we've all been subjected to over the last couple of years as it paints a grim picture of employees from a small business owner's perspective. This seems disheartening when trying to get a job. As I explain later in the notes for Chapter 15, it is my intention to get people to stop seeing themselves as employees, but instead as small businesses. Once you reframe your economic life in that way, you then don't want to burden yourself with those employees from hell that I describe here.
This chapter also illustrates, if you are trapped in a "jawb" right now, how giving a damn in only a few simple ways can set you above the pack. Follow the advice later in the book and you'll be an MVP.
Ch 6, The Font of Value
Some are concerned that this chapter says that energy would be cheap at ten times the price. Follow along with the example as written, or better, try it in real life, and you'll see exactly what I mean. Does this mean that it is OK for energy companies to use their lobbying access to manipulate prices and limit competition rather than follow the market? Of course not. But this doesn't mean that the value of energy itself should be discounted. Beware pining for that 1880s Little House lifestyle...
Ch 12, Scholarship and Sadi Carnot
This isn't an errata, but I think it is a good place to point out that Big Science is about to prove me right. Two years ago I wrote about this speed of light thing. Keep your eye on the unfolding events from the Large Hadron Super-Collider and see if my predictions pan out. Too bad a lot of school teachers decided to crush the spirit out of thousands (millions?) of students over this issue. But, after all, school is about compliance, not education.
Ch 15, Entrepreneurial Success
A theme of this chapter is to destroy jobs wherever they can be found. What is only lightly covered in this chapter, but which comes shining through in other essays on this site, is that we need to get out of an employee mindset, and into an independent businessman mindset. You don't need lots of employees to be in business for yourself; this chapter shows how off-base having employees can often be. Instead, if you need others to help, contract with them as other businesses, not hire them as employees. The hierarchical top-down corporate view of the world is one of the ways that we are kept on a leash. That employee mindset of "I need a jawb" is one key thing we must attack. See yourself as an independent individual of value, not a cog in a Human Resources machine.
I also could have done a better job of describing the "follow them down into debt" approach, which was intended to be more tongue-in-cheek than it sounds. Answering this takes a multi-pronged response. First, I am so hard on the Financial Fool because he teaches people to get out of debt at all costs. Often, a small businessman is told to get rid of an expensive work truck, for example. This part of his advice is wrong in so many ways. Sad to say, much of monkey-businessland is about image. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Properly used, a small business (you, remember), can leverage debt in short-term ways to increase profitability. His advice is tantamount to saying: "sink back into your employee hole, ye monkey, and cringe."
Second, the economic collapse of 2008 taught some how bad a mortgage or other debt, such as student loan debt can be. Yes, all this is true. But, the peril of the housing crisis isn't that there were inflated mortgages, the peril was that the houses lost 40%, or more, of their value! If you had a house valued at $500,000, and it lost 40% of its value, then you had $200,000 stolen from you by this engineered crisis, regardless of how much your mortgage is. The only difference is how much of that money you had, and how much you hadn't yet. The fact that bankruptcy laws were silently changed in 2005 to make sure that an underwater mortgage wouldn't be an escape hatch, paving the way for 100%+ LTV mortgages, should be a clue as to how the world actually works. Yes, the easy money of mortgages then suckered a lot of people into the subsequent upswell, but a lot of people also got sucked in simply because they needed to buy a house or commercial property for their businesses right then.
Interestingly, at that same period, Financial Fool (you'll figure out who he really is), while encouraging people, indirectly, to wound their personal businesses, was relatively lenient on paying off mortgages. Hmmmm. Is the fact that he is a a real-estate professional by trade a conflict of interest when it comes to, well, debt and interest?
The other side of the economic collapse, that of student debt making it hard for people to get jobs lucrative enough to make their loan payments, is again that the "property" purchased, in this case an education, lost intrinsic value. People were sold educations that now (or ever?) weren't worth nearly what they paid for them. That is the problem, not the debt used to finance them. Similarly, the easy money of student loans suckered a lot of people into buying educations that were overpriced. Again, though, the treatment of student loans as lying outside bankruptcy smells like a deliberate trap.
The third part of this debt issue is that while private debt is an obligation that must be weighed as a personal business decision, I think that public debt is universally wrong. I have addressed this in essays such as "Bonds, What Bonds?" and this cute video about modern slavery.
The fourth part of this debt issue is that of having things that you can use purchased with debt when things go bad. This, admittedly, is a risky strategy that depends on how fast things go bad and in what ways. I don't think that things will go bad fast enough and in the right ways to make the banksters lose. True, when inflation does finally catch up to the printing presses, then perhaps your loan will be "cheaper" then, if you have a job to pay it at all. But, as Matt Bracken points out in his excellent book, "Domestic Enemies", when that day comes, the banksters will simply redefine your personal debt upward via the government lackeys who work for them, not you.
Finally, we're told that lenders are due interest because they are taking risks. But, given banking regulations which limit competition from smaller, locally operated banks, changes in bankruptcy laws which remove protection from individuals, and a growing number of judicial decisions which protect the banksters from the consequences of over-extending deliberate, predatory credit, are they actually taking any risk at all? Do not bankruptcy courts now effectively turn the debtor into a slave for life, particularly if that debt is a student loan? On a wider context, do not the actions of legislators and regulators alike indicate the true allegiances of these "public servants"? When is the last time that a large bank was even slapped on the wrist in a significant way for outright fraud? This set of circumstances also is a clue for how the world actually works.
So, the debt itself isn't the problem. It is how the debt is wrapped up in other, more important issues that is the problem.
Given all this, would it make sense to tap a loan to build a pond that you can use to help feed and water yourself and your livestock so that you can eat even if you have to battle that loan out in a biased court one day? Adjustable rate loan? Maybe not, but it depends on how aggressively you intend to pay it back. Fixed-rate? Maybe, since you are improving the value (whatever that means anymore) of your property, also. Even more so if you use the money, not to hire someone to do it, but to buy an old backhoe and bulldozer to do it yourself. Not only will it probably be done better after you learn what you're doing, you (or even better, your kids) will learn many skills (including how to fix old backhoes and bulldozers) you can use elsewhere. Importantly, you'll also have more equipment for other projects or that you can sell to help pay that debt back down. Along the way, you might get paid to build ponds or other civil engineering projects for others who aren't as industrious as you. See how this snowballs in your favor?
In conclusion about this debt issue, it doesn't make any more sense to blindly flee from debt than it does to blindly flee from a gun on a table. Both of them are powerful tools, but each can be used recklessly and foolishly. But, apply them both wisely when the time is right and you will be more in control of your piece of the world.
Ch 16, On International Relations
Israel and flag-burning: OK, my bad. I'm feeling much better now.
Ch 18, The Drug War
Palin: Likewise, my bad. But I'm still on-board with that bearskin rug fight between her and Bachmann. Just now it is with a goodly chunk of duct tape wrapped around their mouths to shut them the hell up while they battle it out.
Constitutional worship throughout the book: Reading "Hologram of Liberty" turned me 180 on this. As with other selected topics, I'm feeling much better now.
Various references to taking money from the government: As we move forward down this path of tyranny, it is a fact of life that fewer and fewer legitimate opportunities will exist outside the banksters' grasp, until it all falls completely apart. A consequence of that fact of life is that, while silently teaching your children and making preparations, taking money from the government, in whatever form, will become more and more of a necessity for more and more people. "Conservatives" stuck in the grasp of Left-Right ideology find this concept to be shocking, but only because they haven't learned the true nature of the situation we are in.
While that topic is worthy of a much larger discussion, there are a few consequences of deliberately taking government money as a small part of a much larger monkey-starving strategy. Not only will this help rush things toward the brink faster (I explain throughout STM in several places why a faster rush to oblivion is more desirable than a slow grind), but this also puts more resources in our hands. If you are getting a government check of any kind, just remember that those resources have been stolen from someone else, and in some cases, by your own hands. Accordingly, it is your obligation to then use those resources to help your destitute brothers in liberty when they come knocking at your door in distress.
Conversely, those who think that what they have gained through government channels is somehow theirs (retirees on the public dime of all kinds, take careful note), will have to be convinced otherwise someday, somehow. Don't be one of those stiff-necked self-deluded fools, but understand that what you are doing should be part of a wider plan to defeat our common enemy.
p. 362 (June 2009 edition): "Twenty-Seventh Amendment" should read "Seventeenth Amendment". Thanks to krb on 13 August, 2009. Funny how a scribbled typo turns into text, isn't it? (corrected in Oct 2009 edition)
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