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Related Categories: U.S. | Anti-War | Government & Elections
The Great Reboot and Investing in Death
by Gustav Viktor Smigielski and Heinrich Frei
The World Economic Forum (WEF) continues to propagate a highly hierarchized society in which the most powerful actors decide how society should develop - far removed from democratic processes. The class of owners wants to expand its influence through the corporations it owns and make it quasi-legal. The US is now spending $100K per minute on new nuclear weapons!
The great reboot/ reset/ new start
Let's not leave the change to the elites, who made it necessary in the first place by their irresponsible actions.
By Gustav Viktor Śmigielski
[This article published on May 14, 2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/der-grosse-neustart-3.]

Every person with half a conscious mind has heard something about the "Great Reset," the ruling class's plan to create an even more efficient and, for the planet, more pleasant form of human existence - or so the PR department of the World Economic Forum (WEF) would put it. There is nothing wrong with such a noble goal, and the author believes that the elite is indeed concerned about the state of the planet. However, he doubts that the latter will ever admit to itself that, to a large extent, its own actions have produced this condition. Although it had the power to steer humanity's destiny in the right direction, it did not, and it would be naive to think it will this time. Change must come from within society.

"You will own nothing and you will be happy."

In the WEF's promotional video with eight predictions/predictions for 2030, this "prophecy" is at the top of the list.

I consider ownership an illusion and have no problem with this statement, but in this video, right in the second sentence, a claim is made that reveals, at least in part, the type of society that is envisioned: Everything I want I will have to rent. Rent? From whom? Who will own this something I am to rent?

If we look at the history of mankind, we will very rarely read or hear of cases where powerful and materially wealthy people voluntarily donated their possessions to the common good. And so the suspicion suggests itself that this form of advertising is very unlikely to be seen in Monaco, and it is very unlikely to be directed at the owners of hundred-and-more-meter yachts there.

It is rather addressed to the part of the population that still owns something, is caught in the capitalist hamster wheel and constantly lives with the fear of still losing the little it owns.

To shed some light on the darkness, we only have to take a closer look at the propagated structures. Is there supposed to be a hierarchy? How many levels does this hierarchy have? How is it organized? Strictly hierarchically organized societies will always produce exactly the same results as before. In both capitalist and socialist societies, hierarchies of power have always emerged, which also harbored the seeds of their own demise.

The WEF continues to propagate a highly hierarchized society in which the most powerful actors decide how society should develop - far removed from democratic processes. The intention is to cement what is already taking place anyway.

The class of owners wants to expand its influence through the corporations it owns and make it quasi-legal. To this end, they are inventing new confusing terms such as "multistakeholder governance," which sound nice, but are intended to disguise their influence. The consensus that is supposed to emerge through democratic processes is thus undermined. Instead of "the powerful" having a voice in the election, like any other person within a population, they elevate themselves directly to the eye level of entire states and exert direct influence on the development processes of a society.

They have long had politics in their pockets, but the political circus and the manipulation of public opinion are highly costly. One would like to get rid of a large part of it. The indoctrination as well as conditioning of people prevailing at the moment is so far advanced that it must be maintained only with small means.

A large part of the population is constantly exposed to the arbitrariness of other people and finds no way to defend itself against it. He is driven to work in order to subsequently pay an excessive cost of living and to maintain a social system that is not well-disposed towards him. It seems that man can only improve his situation by participating. The pyramidal system behind it is simply explained: the higher you climb, the fewer people are above you, who rule you and exercise arbitrariness.

Money Rain / Kings of the Modern Era

It doesn't take a great deal of economic or sociological knowledge to understand that co-ownership of productive goods would be more beneficial to the majority rather than simply receiving a salary. If they were co-owners, it would hardly occur to them to distribute profits in the form of dividends to people outside the company and not participating in the production process. The following example will illustrate this:

Since 2011, i.e., directly after the conclusion of Agenda 2010, the annual dividends of BMW shares have been at a stable high level, with a peak in 2018. Almost 50 percent of the shares belong to the Quandt family, which has brought them large sums of money in recent years; in 2017, it was about one billion euros. But what does that mean? Money is a potential, a claim, and one that someone makes on the producing company. One billion euros would be an entitlement to 113,122,171 hours of work equal to the 2017 minimum wage, or an entitlement of still 50 million hours of work at the average wage from the same year. With this average wage, a person would have to work approximately 25,000 years for this sum. That is grotesque.

Instead of generating a billion euros in profit, the company could create around 20,000 jobs with an annual salary of 50,000 euros - by rule of thumb. On such a salary, a family of four in Germany could participate extensively in social life - that would be around 80,000 people. Eighty thousand people, for example, who would no longer be dependent on state transfer payments. The work to be done in the company could be distributed among more people, a 20-hour week would be within reach at BMW, and a form of work would be possible from which one would no longer need a vacation.

However, our society decides to transfer such high values to individual persons and in order to justify this madness somehow, they unabashedly claim that they are reinvesting the money and thus preserving jobs and creating new ones. Translated, this means: "For the money you have earned, you should go to work".

Each one of us is a small investor, each one of us has the potential to create jobs with a good idea or at least to give himself a meaningful and socially enriching occupation. Everyone spends money and creates demand from which new jobs can be created. We don't need to fool ourselves and we don't need to romanticize the world of work. There is work that has to be done, even though it is unpleasant and consists of repetitive activities. But it is precisely this that we could make much more pleasant if we stopped imposing the profit constraint on ourselves, as well as trying to give all values a price expressed in monetary units.

How else could we live?

In a society that chooses to distribute created value more broadly, we would likely see production shift from large and luxurious goods to more smaller and less luxurious ones. To stay in the car industry: Mercedes Benz would produce and sell fewer S-Classes and more C-Classes instead. A wise society, on the other hand, would realize that it is not worth the effort to produce so many cars to fill up the cities and let them slowly rot there. At least in larger cities, this is obviously the reality.

Such a company would have organized urban transportation in such a way that the private car would become superfluous. This would save it work, because the effort is less to organize a mass-suitable as well as pleasant local traffic, instead of building millions of cars, which clog the cities and are qualitatively so badly manufactured that they are subject to endless maintenance intervals within their useful life. In doing so, we are describing only one area of human need, that of mobility. But the concept runs through all areas of society. We see the same problem in a different guise in the energy, food, real estate as well as healthcare industries.

In each of these industries, the greed for more, expressed through the profit as well as growth compulsion, shapes the production as well as distribution processes of our society considerably more than logic, integrity and symbiosis.

The age of robotics has begun, which allows us to become even more productive and thus reduce working hours or produce even more - at least in theory. In practice, we face a problem that has existed not only since the beginning of industrialization and has been described by many other economists besides Karl Marx. It says, in simple terms, that man somehow "must" pay for the goods that the machines build and take from him the labor for which he was previously paid. If these productive goods were common property, the only effort would be to build and maintain them, and people could thus enjoy the fruits of their labor much more directly.

But they do not belong to them and most of the time they do not even belong to those who built them with their own hands and ideas, but they belong to a small minority who can call them their property with the help of the ruling laws, and only make them available for consideration. And the majority sees no other way than to submit to it.

Understanding the Great Reset as an opportunity

The Great Reset is new wine in old bottles, and it is not inevitable. But we must ask ourselves what we want to stand for, what we want to "fight" for. Resist in order to preserve this system that is on the verge of disintegration? Surely no one can be serious about that. The changes are already taking place and it would not be wise to fight against them, but instead, as in certain martial arts, to use the momentum of the "opponent" to steer him in another direction. In this, our technological progress could prove to be an advantage.

The rapid pace of networking over the past two decades harbors an unpredictable and, above all, uncontrollable potential. All it takes is a small spark, a new idea, and our social order will topple. A first model - a precursor - of such an idea, is already there, namely the "Democracy-App"! There, people vote on the same resolutions as the members of the Bundestag, and already now one sees considerable discrepancies in voting behavior. As soon as several million citizens participate in voting, the question will have to be asked as to which voting results are truly representative. 736 votes from parliament or several million votes from the people? The answer is obvious.

Furthermore, sooner or later the question will arise as to what we are voting on in the first place. With the app, at the moment we only vote on questions that have been formulated and set beforehand - which is very constricting. It gets interesting when we start to rethink and reshape the framework within which we operate. That is, when we begin to formulate for ourselves the questions that will be voted on, and which will set the direction for the future development of society. The gateway for new narratives and new world views will be opened.

I hope we humans will soon realize that much of our problem lies in the very hierarchies we are constantly creating. Hierarchies are the one constant that we have not really rethought throughout all forms of society, and I locate the solution to our problem there as well. Both self-exaltation and self-abasement are both sides of the same coin, with the coin itself representing the idea of unlikeness. The great advantage of capitalist organized societies over socialist/communist ones was self-organization. If we think this thought further, we could come to the assumption that we should further develop the principle of self-organization to see if it does not make us even more effective and create an even better society.

In doing so, we cannot ask the ruling class to allow us to do this, because they will not allow us to undermine the pillars of their power. The easiest way to remove power from the powerful is to stop recognizing them. To accomplish this, however, an alternative idea for our organization must emerge from within society that will create the critical mass, bind them together, unite them, and allow the new idea to manifest.

Gustav Viktor Śmigielski is a philosopher and author. He studied finance and accounting in Wroclaw and is on a quest to find answers to life's existential questions - with success!
_________________________________________________++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Investing in Death
One of the largest nuclear weapons investors in the world is asset manager BlackRock.
By Heinrich Frei
[This article published on May 13, 2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/investition-in-den-tod.]

"Investment in the future" looks different. The unimaginable amount of money invested in nuclear armament exceeds any nuclear mushroom cloud. An endless list could be made of how these billions and billions of money could be used more sensibly for the world. A small crumb of this nuclear investment would be enough to end entire famines elsewhere. But instead of investing in life, major investors like the asset manager BlackRock prefer to invest in the potential to wipe out humanity several times over. In the event of a nuclear winter, profit would no longer be profit. If the world looks like a moonscape with black rocks after a nuclear war, the billions in earnings can no longer buy anything. However, this does not seem to be important for the calculations of the nuclear investors. Instead, this investment is also being cultivated. In Switzerland, the BlackRock functionary Philipp Hildebrand, of all people, is to become the new president of the Zurich Art Society.

At the end of May 2022, it will be decided whether Philipp Hildebrand will become the new president of the Zurich Art Society. So far, he is the only candidate for the office. The election of the new presidency is due to the death of Anne Keller Dubach. She led the sponsoring association of the Zürcher Kunsthaus for only two months and died last September.

The Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft is the sponsoring association of the Kunsthaus Zürich. It has been running the museum since 1787 and owns the art collection.

Philipp Hildebrand had been a member of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank since 2003 and was its chairman between January 1, 2010 and January 9, 2012. Perhaps it is hoped that Philipp Hildebrand will succeed in settling the dispute over the inclusion of the "Emil Bührle Collection" in the new wing of the new Kunsthaus. This collection of the arms manufacturer Bührle includes works by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet and others (1).

Zurich art society in the hands of the financial center

As Res Strehle writes in "Das Magazin", the election of Philipp Hildebrand is intended to continue the tradition of the financial center presidency according to the will of the art society: "For over a hundred years, the financial elite has led the epicenter of the established art in Zurich". Leading people of Zürcher Rentenanstalt, Schweizerische Kreditanstalt, today Credit Suisse, Union Bank of Switzerland, Bank Leu, Banca del Gottardo, Swiss Re mostly provided the president of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft during almost five decades. (2)

Today Philipp Hildebrand, the candidate for the presidency of the Zurich Art Society, is Vice Chairman of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager. He is a member of the company's Global Executive Committee there. He also oversees the BlackRock Investment Institute (BII) and BlackRock Sustainable Investing (BSI).

BlackRock investments in nuclear weapons: unsustainable

BlackRock's investments in nuclear weapons production companies are not sustainable. According to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, BlackRock is the fourth largest investor in companies that produce nuclear weapons of mass destruction. BlackRock invested $44,792 million in the nuclear weapons industry in 2020 and $40,711 million in 2021, according to ICAN (3).

Poster of the Swiss peace movement from 1954 by Hans Erni, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection, Zurich University of the Arts.

Nuclear weapons cannot actually be used

Nuclear weapons can actually never be used after the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, if one does not want to risk that the whole of humanity is wiped out in a nuclear war. Even the use of 100 atomic bombs would lead to a nuclear winter, a drop in the earth's temperature, followed by crop failures and famine.
The top ten investors in nuclear weapons:

A comparison of the top 10 investors with financial ties to nuclear weapons manufacturers: total investments are split, with slightly more invested in stocks and bonds than in loans and underwriting. The top ten investors are all from the United States and together account for $339 billion, or just under half of all investments, according to the 2021 ICAN report. The figures in the table are in millions of US dollars.

$100,000 a minute for the new nuclear arms race.

The nuclear arms race is a huge business with a lot of money to be made. Between January 2019 and July 2021, $685 billion was made available to the 25 companies that produce nuclear weapons. This is $44 billion more than the previous year.

The nine nuclear-armed countries are spending more than $100,000 per minute on the new nuclear arms race.

In addition, the World Food Program lacks funds to fight hunger, including in Somalia.
1.4 million children in Somalia at risk of acute malnutrition

By the end of this year, 1.4 million children in Somalia are at risk of acute malnutrition. "If nothing is done, it is feared, 350,000 of the 1.4 million severely malnourished children in the country will perish by this summer," warns Adam Abdelmoula, the UN secretary-general's deputy special representative for Somalia.

Source: World Food Program website (4).

But right now, there is a funding gap of $192 million for the UN World Food Program's assistance in Somalia through September 2022, meaning less than a third of the funding is available to save lives in Somalia. A very small fraction of the money wasted on nuclear armaments worldwide could close the World Food Fund funding gap in Somalia.

Easter march 2022 in Bremen, image: labor photography.

Germany's nuclear sharing: practicing dropping nuclear bombs.

A modern fighter jet also costs about $192 million, which the World Food Organization is short in Somalia. Germany plans to procure 45 such new bombers at a cost of 8 billion euros. In connection with the nuclear sharing of the Federal Republic, German pilots will again practice dropping nuclear bombs with the new aircraft, as they do today with the Tornado fighter jets (5).
Switzerland did not sign the treaty banning nuclear weapons

A clear majority of parties in Switzerland demand that the Federal Council finally ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. However, there are tangible economic interests that "hinder" the signing of this treaty.

Today, major Swiss banks, insurance companies and pension funds, including my pension fund of SBB AG, also invest profit-consciously in companies involved in the production of nuclear bombs. A total of 4,883 million US dollars (USD). Credit Suisse placed 2,059 million USD in 2021, UBS placed 2,562 million USD and even the Swiss National Bank also placed 64 million USD in the nuclear monkey industry.

The new soccer stadium in Zurich, the "Credit Suisse Arena", will probably then also be financed from the proceeds of the nuclear armament business. The arms manufacturer Emil Bührle financed the new building of the Kunsthaus in Zurich at that time, Credit Suisse, which invests its money in the nuclear bomb industry, will subsidize a soccer stadium ... - Nice ...
Swiss institutions investing in companies producing nuclear weapons:

Source: recent ICAN study "Don't Bank on the Bomb" from 2021.

Legal ban on financing of banned weapons in Switzerland.

"The fact that Swiss banks invest money in the further development of weapons of mass destruction is all the more astonishing," writes ICAN, "as this is prohibited in Switzerland. Since the revision of the War Material Act (KMG) on January 1, 2013, there has been a legal ban on the financing of prohibited weapons. This includes nuclear weapons, which are listed in Article 7(1)(a) of the KMG."

Despite these legal provisions not to invest financial resources in companies developing nuclear weapons (systems), it is apparently possible and allowed to continue to invest in nuclear weapons production with impunity, because the financing ban is said to have "significant legal loopholes," according to Bern.

The ex-National Councillor and current Bernese Government Councillor Evi Allemann recognized this problem and called for a ban on indirect financing of war materials in a motion back in 2013 (Motion 14.3253. But that was a long time ago and nothing has happened. Susan Boos wrote on July 6, 2013 in the weekly newspaper on this topic the article: "War material law and banks, hands off business with nuclear weapons" (6).

In conclusion, it should be recalled: Nuclear weapons can actually never be used at all after the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, if one does not want to risk wiping out all of humanity in a nuclear war. Even the use of 100 atomic bombs would lead to a nuclear winter, a drop in the earth's temperature, followed by crop failures and famine.

Sources and notes:

(1) Heinrich Frei: Emil Bührle Collection in Zurich. Works of art financed with the proceeds of cannons and shells for wars. Neue Rheinische Zeitung, online flyer, May 5, 2022, , http://www.nrhz.de/flyer/beitrag.php?id=27154
(2) Res Strehle: Emil and the Elite. Das Magazin Number 17, April 30, 2022. "Weapons manufacturer Emil Georg Bührle supplied the Nazis and profited from the persecution of wealthy Jews. The Swiss upper class courted and rehabilitated him.", https://www.zsz.ch/wie-der-nazi-profiteur-mit-dem-kunsthaus-die-herzen-der-schweizer-elite-eroberte-770142496571
(3) ICAN - International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: http://www.icanw.org
(4) http://www.wfp.org/emergencies/somalia-emergency
(5) Nuclear sharing - Wikipedia: http://www.parlament.ch/d/suche/seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20143253
(6) Susan Boos: Hands off the business with nuclear weapons. WOZ Die Wochenzeitung, June 6, 2013, https://www.woz.ch/-40a9?msclkid=154944e7c88811ec964028413f2d214f

Heinrich Frei, born in 1941, is an architect and is involved in various peace policy initiatives in Switzerland. He also collaborates with Swisso Kalmo.
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