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The Parent Child Relationship

A VC - June 17, 2018 - 12:02am

It is fathers day today. And I thought I’d write a bit about something that is really bothering me.

I’ve come to terms with a lot of what is going on in the US federal government and our political system. I see it as a natural swinging of the pendulum. Many on the right think we went too far left under Obama. Many on the left think we have gone too far right under Trump. In time, Trump will be history and we will undo all of this nonsense he is putting in place. So is the way of politics and government and every time something happens in DC that bugs me, I think “this too shall pass.”

But, this policy of separating children from their parents at the border really bugs me. The NY Times has a good report up on their homepage right now about how we got to this place.

The Federal Government has been debating this issue of separating children from their parents at the border as a deterrent for more than a decade. From that Times piece:

Yet for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents’ arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy, and Mr. Trump, though he had made an immigration crackdown one of the central issues of his campaign, succumbed to the same reality, publicly dropping the idea after Mr. Kelly’s comments touched off a swift backlash.

I understand the need and the desire to protect our borders and enforce our immigration system, even though I believe we are being way too restrictive in terms of who we let into our country right now. But the law is the law and until we have a new law, we need to enforce the existing law. I get that.

But the children are not the ones making the decisions to violate the laws. And yet they are being punished just as much, possibly even more so, than their parents.

Kelly says “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever” as if it is no big deal to forcibly separate a child from his or her parents.

It is a big deal, a traumatic event with long-term implications for that child.

Many of us in this community are parents who have cared for and nurtured our children, loved them, supported them, and made them feel safe. We know what that bond is between parent and child, and we know that ripping it apart is an awful horrible thing to do and that we should not be doing it.

On this Fathers Day, let us all say to our government “no more.” We must end this immoral and unjustifiable policy and we must end it now. Ideally today. There is no better day, other than Mothers Day, to do that.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — June 25, 2018
World After Capital: Getting Past Capital (Attention Cont’d)

Albert Wenger — June 24, 2018
Personal Responsibility in the Age of Trump

Categories: Blog articles

What we can and cannot afford

Beyond Money - June 16, 2018 - 11:48am

Can we afford health care for all, free education for all, housing for the homeless, food for the hungry, a decent and efficient national system of transportation, a clean and healthy environment, a fair and equitable distribution of our collective production, and a true democracy in which people decide their own fate and how their money is to be spent? Politicians of all stripes tell us we cannot. “Where will the money come from?” is their plaint whenever such measures are proposed.

But other countries have many of those things. There is a vast number of countries that have free or almost free universal health care, as can be seen in this list. And here is a list of 11 countries that have BOTH free universal health care AND free college. The list includes not only affluent countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, but relatively poor countries such as Greece, Argentina and Brazil.

Anyone who has traveled in western Europe knows that Amtrak is a bad joke compared HSRinChinato the extensive and efficient rail systems in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and elsewhere. China too has much better trains than the U.S. and has been rapidly expanding its transport infrastructure. According to Wikipedia, China already has “the world’s longest high speed rail network” which is “also the most extensively used, with 1.713 billion trips delivered in 2017 bringing the total cumulative number of trips to 7 billion.”

Way back in 2005 I rode from downtown Shanghai to the airport at  Pudong on the maglev train that reached speeds up to 431 kmph (268 mph).

Yet, when President Trump calls for an almost $80 billion increase to the military budget, hardly anyone asks, “where’s the money going to come from?” and the measure easily gains Congressional approval.

Here are the things we cannot afford:

  1. We cannot afford continuation of the Empire with its deployment of military forces around the world and endless overt and covert warfare.
  2. We cannot afford continuation of the interest-based, debt-money regime that forces unnecessary expansion of economic activity and centralizes power and concentrates wealth in the hands of a super elite.
  3. We cannot afford continuation of the environmental destruction and climate change that is caused by the fossil fuel based economy.

The $727 billion U.S. military budget for 2019 dwarfs all other segments and amounts to 61% of all discretionary spending. To trump2019_discpie_unbranded_largeput it in perspective, the U.S. spends many times more on military than any other country. According to the National Priorities Project, the next highest military spender, China, spends only about one third as much on its military.

I have written extensively about the defects inherent in the centrally controlled interest-based, debt-money regime, which is driving the endless expansion of debt that makes economic growth an imperative. See, for example, my article, Money, debt and the end of the growth imperative.

Ultimately, if we do not take appropriate action, nature will decide our fate. See the work of Joseph Tainter and Jared Diamond, starting with this interview of Joseph Tainter by Jim Puplava.

In a future post I will elaborate upon these points, but for now I recommend viewing the recent Jimmy Dore show at https://youtu.be/yHpN7X9iK3o.

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Categories: Blog articles

Audio Of The Week: Ether’s Big Day

A VC - June 16, 2018 - 12:59am

I wrote about Ether’s big day yesterday. In this podcast, Laura Shin and Coinbase’s Adam White, who runs the institutional business there, talk about the Ether news and Coinbase’s institutional business. It’s a quick 20min listen.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — June 24, 2018
Personal Responsibility in the Age of Trump

Categories: Blog articles

Ether Is Not A Security

A VC - June 14, 2018 - 11:57pm

Yesterday, a top official from the SEC said what many of us in crypto land had been wanting to hear from the SEC for the last year:

According to Bloomberg:

“Putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions,” William Hinman, who heads the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of corporation finance, said in remarks prepared for a Yahoo Finance conference in San Francisco. “And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.”

For me, this is not about Ether, but about the fact that a token can be used to raise capital (the “fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether”) and at some point no longer resemble a security in the eyes of the SEC.

I particularly like this language that Hinman used in his remarks:

But this also points the way to when a digital asset transaction may no longer represent a security offering. If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralized – where purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts – the assets may not represent an investment contract. Moreover, when the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede. As a network becomes truly decentralized, the ability to identify an issuer or promoter to make the requisite disclosures becomes difficult, and less meaningful.

And this part:

Over time, there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required.

That last point is super important because as my colleague Nick tweeted out last night, we don’t want Bitcoin and Ether to have the advantage of being the only tokens that are not deemed to be securities. We want a hyper-competitive market where the best protocols win on the merits, not because some regulator likes them better.

This is a concern, and a reason why the SEC must now define a path for the development of new tokens, which may start out sponsor-controlled but become decentralized over time https://t.co/JKvMHUciCA

— Nick Grossman (@nickgrossman) June 14, 2018

But all in all, it was a good speech and a good day for crypto. It is clear that the SEC is trying to define some clear lines in the sand under which the decentralized world we all want to see happen can happen. And they are also trying to make sure that bad actors can’t skirt securities laws by simply claiming they are doing a token offering.

Categories: Blog articles

Leading The People Side Of The Organization

A VC - June 14, 2018 - 2:06am

In yesterday’s post, which seemed to touch a nerve, something I certainly seek to do from time to time, I mentioned the “talent organizations” of our portfolio companies. These are the people who help a founder/CEO build and lead the people who make up the company. It’s an undervalued and under-discussed function.

I have heard multiple founder/CEOs tell me that the biggest sigh of relief they had in building their companies was when they finally hired a really strong leader to sit at their side and help them with the people side of the business. It is not even accurate to say “people side of the business”. People are the business!

I recently listed to two Reboot podcasts in which my friend and former partner Jerry Colonna talked with two people leaders, Nathalie McGrath at Coinbase, and Patty McCord, former people leader at Netflix.

It is worth spending the almost two hours it will take to listen to these two podcasts.

What you will hear from Nathalie is the challenge of marrying a high stress, high performing culture and the concept of work-life balance. It is a near-impossible challenge, but simply trying to make it so is a where you must start. You can’t fake it. It has to be something you want to do and need to do.

What you will hear from Patty is a disdain for the platitudes and processes that you get from most organizations. She and her partner in this work, Reed Hastings, wanted to do it their way and in the process created a culture that is the envy of many tech companies.

And, I hope, you will come away from the two hours of listening, with an appreciation for the job of leading the people team. The people who do this work well are rare and valuable and if you don’t have one by your side, you should go find one.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Bethany Marz Crystal — June 21, 2018
USV Intern Day

Categories: Blog articles

The Valuation Obsession

A VC - June 13, 2018 - 12:52am

There is an obsession with the values that are being placed on companies when they finance. There has always been one but it is worse than ever.

Every day, without fail, I read a headline that so and so company has raised, will raise, or is trying to raise capital at some eye popping valuation.

It would be easy to blame this on the media, which certainly has to shoulder some of the blame for believing that these are important stories to write day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

But the media writes what people want to read and talk about.

The problem is us, the tech sector, and the mindset that valuation is the scorecard by which we measure ourselves.

Of course, valuation matters. When GitHub exits to Microsoft for billions of dollars, that matters. It matters to Microsoft’s shareholders who paid that bill. It matters to Github founders and employees who got a pay day. It matters to the investors in GitHub who got a fantastic return on their investment. And it matters to Github users who got a signal about how important the software they are using is to the big tech companies.

You cannot cover that story without taking about the price that Microsoft paid. It is an important part of the narrative.

But interim valuations being put on startups is different. Sure the price that they can finance themselves is interesting. But not more interesting than the products and services they are bringing to market, how they are building their teams and cultures, and the underlying technologies they are using to do that.

And yet we get less and less of those stories and more and more box scores.

It leads to a culture of bragging and topping one another and an obsessive focus on valuation. I’ve heard founders say “if I don’t raise at a billion or more, we will be seen as a failure.” How ridiculous is that? And yet you can see how they can get to that place.

CEOs and their talent organizations frequently tell me that it is easier to recruit people to companies that have raised at eye popping values. This is particularly peverse because the higher the valuation, the less money the employee will make on their equity. But, it seems, the talent market is looking to the investment community to signal to them what companies are worth working for.

It should work the other way around. I like to invest in companies that smart people are joining. Capital should follow talent, not talent following capital.

I know that many will read this and roll their eyes. “Fred doesn’t like the hyper inflated valuation environment so he’s trying to pour cold water on it.” That’s true about me not liking it but we benefit from it as much as anyone.

What I don’t like about this environment is the focus on form over substance and reducing everything to a number. This could be the new normal. This may be life in startup land from now on. Maybe I just need to learn to deal with it.

But I hope not. I hope that people will come to understand that it is what underneath the covers that matters and the headline number is just that. A great way to get you to click on the link and see some ads.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Bethany Marz Crystal — June 21, 2018
USV Intern Day

Nick Grossman — June 20, 2018
Trust and fairness

Categories: Blog articles

Do Your Homework Before Sending That Email

A VC - June 12, 2018 - 10:36am

I saw this tweet today from our friend Arianna and I had a good chuckle:

Love when people cold email me with a pitch and ask to set up a call with management. Hi, that’s me!

Categories: Blog articles

Stakeholder Analysis

A VC - June 11, 2018 - 3:34am

I am a fan of looking at something from all sides and understanding how each side thinks about it.

Consider a neighborhood school. There are students, parents, teachers, administrators, non-teaching staff, taxpayers, the community, homeowners (whose home value is impacted by the quality of the school), and possibly other stakeholders.

In theory every one of those stakeholders has a vested interest in the success of the school but in reality there is often conflict between them.

The teachers would certainly welcome a pay raise, for example. But the taxpayers may not. Or maybe they would because it would keep the quality high and thus the values of their homes.

What if the school wanted to start later and end later? The parents might oppose it because it would make it harder for them to get to work on time in the morning. But the teachers, administrators, and non teaching staff might welcome it because they would find it easier to get to work on time in the mornings.

All complex systems have many stakeholders and while they all want the system to succeed, because they have a stake in it, they rarely view success in the same terms.

Stakeholder analysis is extremely helpful in running a company and governing it (the work of the Board).

And the stakeholders of a company are not just the stockholders. Even when a Board and management is tasked with acting in the best interests of the stockholders, it is wise and prudent to act in the best interests of all of the stakeholders.

Doing so, however, is often impossible because of these conflicts between stakeholders.

Done properly, a stakeholder analysis attempts to determine what each and every stakeholder desires and the impact to them of an important decision. It is like a scorecard. It is often helpful to look at short term, medium term, and long term impacts.

I find that it is often the case that conflicts are the most extreme in the short term and that if you can frame a decision and the impact of it over a very long time horizon, it can be easier to get alignment.

But regardless of whether you can get alignment, a CEO must act and act decisively. And a Board must make sure that the CEO is acting wisely and in the best interests of the stockholders and stakeholders.

So doing a stakeholder analysis, understanding where the issues are and will be, and making a fully informed decision is the best course of action. And you will want a communication plan to mitigate the fallout of the decision as much as possible.

You never want to surprise or be surprised by your stakeholders. They may not like you, agree with you, or even support you. But they must be understood, respected, and considered in your decision making process.

Categories: Blog articles

Supply And Demand

A VC - June 10, 2018 - 2:08am

I saw this chart on Semil‘s  blog this morning:

What is shows is that as the amount of money raised (and deployed) in seed funds has grown over the last ten years, the ability of the companies that received those seed investments to raise a follow-on Series A round has declined (massively).

That trend is what you would expect, of course. Supply outstrips demand at some point.

But from where I sit, I am having trouble with the magnitude of these numbers.

First of all, I don’t think the “conversion” from Seed to Series A was ever in the 80% range. I think it is generally around 50% and moves around that number a fair bit. But I can’t imagine a time when 80% of seed funded companies go on to raise a Series A.

I also don’t think it is now sub 30%. Maybe sub 40%. Maybe not. But I’m having a hard time believing that less than 3 in 10 seed-funded companies go on to raise a Series A.

What I think has happened is that there is now a significant “grey area” that has developed in the middle of Seed and Series A. We have “post seed”, or “seed two” rounds. We have “early As”.

So the data isn’t clean and it is harder to track from type of round to type of round.

I also think a lot of the seeds that were being done back in 2006 were non-institutional and harder to track. As the seed fund market has exploded in the last ten years, more of the seed rounds are including at least one institution and are now getting tracked in a way they were not in 2010.

So, are more companies getting seed funded? Yes.

Is a lower percentage of them going on to get Series A rounds? Yes.

Has that percentage gone from north of 80% to south of 30% in ten years? No way.

But, to the question of “is it harder to raise a Series A?”, I think the answer is “it depends.”

There is more Series A money out there too, but it has not grown as quickly as seed money.

It is certainly harder to raise a Series A than a Seed. But that has been true for some time.

Categories: Blog articles

Video Of The Week: The Noodle Slurp

A VC - June 9, 2018 - 10:49am

The world lost a man of taste, adventure, and humanity yesterday. Anthony Bourdain was an inspiration to everyone in our family. He amplified our love of travel, food, adventure, and other cultures. We will miss him greatly.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Albert Wenger — June 17, 2018
Back (Well, Almost)

Categories: Blog articles

Funding Friday: Hack Your Notebook

A VC - June 8, 2018 - 2:47pm

I backed this project by AVC community member David Cole earlier this week.

Categories: Blog articles

Proof Of Blog

A VC - June 7, 2018 - 4:37am

We have a tradition at USV that one of our new analysts, Dani, coined Proof Of Blog.

Excited to be a part of the @usv team (it’s official now – based on Proof of Blog). I’m two weeks in, here’s some of what I’ve learned so far. https://t.co/1bajnjongr

— Dani Grant (@thedanigrant) June 4, 2018

I like that term so much. It really speaks to why we have this tradition.

When someone new joins USV, we ask them to introduce themselves to our world on the USV blog.

Here are some recent “proof of blog” posts:

Dani Grant

Naomi Shah

Zach Goldstein

Even partners at USV do this. Here is Rebecca’s post announcing her arrival at USV last fall.

And Lauren, who has been at USV for almost four years now, but is in a relatively new role, introduced a new wrinkle to this tradition blogging about her new responsibilities.

It is easy to think of a venture firm as a collection of partners; me, Brad, Albert, John, Andy, Rebecca, because we are the most visible people in our firm to the outside world.

Proof of blog is a bit about changing that perception so people know the larger team. And it is also about the broader team making sure folks know a bit about them and what interests them so entrepreneurs can leverage relationships with them too.

If you don’t follow the USV blog, but want to, you can do that on the USV Twitter handle or the USV blog RSS feed.

Categories: Blog articles

Taxation Of Carried Interest

A VC - June 6, 2018 - 6:57am

The issue of how to tax carried interest, the profit sharing interests that VCs, Private Equity firms, and Hedge Funds receive as compensation for generating returns to their investors, is in the news again.

This time it is not a debate at the Federal level, but at the state level. There are carried interest taxation bills under discussion in California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York,Rhode Island, and possibly other states that I am not aware of.

My view on this issue is simple and I’ve stated here publicly and regulary since mid 2007.

If you are being paid a fee for managing other people’s money and have no capital at risk on the carried interest, I don’t understand how it can be considered a capital gain.

It may be good economic policy to incentivize people to manage other people’s money and maybe there should be some tax break for doing so. That is a different conversation in my view. Though I don’t buy that one either.

But capital gains tax rates should only be available to those who put their own capital at risk. Many VCs do that in their funds. The partners at USV make up a sizeable portion of our funds. We should and do get capital gains treatment on those investments.

But we also get capital gains treatment on the carried interest and I’ve never understood why. I think it’s wrong.

Finally, because I’ve written these thoughts here before, I know that some will say “well then you should be sticking to your principles and paying ordinary income rates on all of that carry you have received over the years.”

I don’t think that is right either. If the government sets the rules, and everybody else is playing by them, I don’t think it makes sense to play by different rules. I do think it makes sense to explain why you think the rules are wrong. Which is what I am doing here.

Categories: Blog articles

Deleting Your Voice Recordings

A VC - June 5, 2018 - 6:35am

A few months ago, the Gotham Gal asked me to disconnect the Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices we have in our family room.

I complied with that request.

This is what the two devices look like now:

At some point, I will remove them and either do something else with them or dispose of them.

If anyone in our house is uncomfortable with devices listening to our conversations, I don’t want to subject them to that.

I do plan to go look at our voice recording history and delete anything that seems off limits.

Here is how you do that with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

This raises a broader question about these voice devices which is whether the value they offer outweighs the creepiness they create in the home.

For us, the answer has been a resounding no, as evidenced by that photograph.

Categories: Blog articles

Why Decentralization Matters

A VC - June 4, 2018 - 4:11am

So the news over the weekend is that Microsoft is buying GitHub. Many companies and developers are thinking “do I want my source code hosted on a service owned by Microsoft?”

Fortunately, the protocol that GitHub is built on, Git, is open source and there are other Git hosts, like GitLab.

There are also a number of proprietary Git solutions offered by companies like Atlassian and BitBucket.

Moving your source code repositories from GitHub to GitLab or somewhere else is not a simple thing, but it can be done. Kind of like moving your email from Outlook to Gmail.

Lock-in is a bitch. And everyone who has ever been locked into a shitty piece of software over the years knows, there is often no easy way out.

Software built on decentralized protocols offers a different and better way. You can move your data out if you don’t like where things are going. And that is what some developers are doing right now with GitHub.

Categories: Blog articles

Valuation Inflation

A VC - June 3, 2018 - 9:05am

In the blog post announcing changes at SV Angel last week, the SV Angel partners wrote:

The amount of money raised in seed rounds has doubled and valuations have increased significantly.

I thought I’d go back over the last three USV funds and see what I could learn about the market from our experience.

Since raising our third early-stage fund in 2012, we have led or co-led 16 seed rounds, 31 Srs A rounds, and 8 Srs B rounds, for a total of 55 new USV portfolio companies over the last six years.

I put all of that data into a google sheet this morning and this is what I learned:

The average pre-money valuation for a seed round has gone from $5-10mm in the 2012 time frame to $10-15mm in the 2017 time frame and the average amount raised in seed rounds has gone from $2.5mm in the 2012 time frame to over $4mm in the 2017 time frame.

The average pre-money valuation for a Srs A round has gone from $10-15mm in the 2012 time frame to $22-$27mm in the 2017 time frame and the average amount raised in Srs A rounds has not changed very much. It still averages around $5-7mm.

We have not been leading or co-leading many Srs B rounds in the last three years so my data on that market is not good enough to come to any conclusions there.

USV invests in North America and Europe and our largest density is in NYC and the Bay Area. This data is averaged across all of those markets and so it could be off significantly for a specific market. We find the Bay Area to be the most expensive place to invest and Europe to be the least expensive.

I think the comment made by the SV Angel partners is correct, at least directionally so. What this means for returns for angel and early-stage investors remains to be seen. Right now the angel and VC sector is producing great returns, but those are driven off of investments made in the 2005-2010 era for the most part and we have yet to see what the returns for the 2010-2015 cohort will deliver and we are a long way from knowing how the 2015-2020 era will turn out.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Dani Grant — June 11, 2018
An Overview Of The Distributed Computing Landscape

Categories: Blog articles

My latest article: Confronting the power elite

Beyond Money - June 2, 2018 - 10:58am

Confronting the power elite
Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
[PDF version]

The world today is controlled by a small elite group that has been increasingly concentrating power and wealth in their own hands. There are many observable facets to this power structure, including the military security complex that president Eisenhower warned against, the fossil fuel interests, and the neocons that are promoting U.S.  hegemony around the world, but the most powerful and overarching force is “the money power” that controls money, banking, and finance worldwide. It is clear that those who control the creation and allocation of money through the banking system are able to control virtually every other aspect of global society.

Having taken control of the political leadership in North America and western Europe, they are determined to use military force, if necessary, to create a unipolar world order in which the power elite enjoy “full spectrum dominance.” Based on a long established pattern of covert and overt interventions, it is evident that they are willing to employ, either directly or through proxies, a wide range of tactics, including propaganda, bribery, cooptation, deception, assassinations, false-flag attacks and war. Large segments of the media and entertainment industries, education, and the military power have been captured to help manufacture public consent.

Be that as it may, I believe that the natural course of human evolution tends toward a multi-polar world order based on honesty, openness, compassion, cooperation, and fairness, but that requires a well-educated and informed populace and “broad spectrum” participation in the political process. Fortunately, the internet and world wide web have enabled people to be better informed than ever before and to engage with one another directly, bypassing intermediaries that control and limit what people can share. On the other hand, the political machinery has been so thoroughly taken over by the power elite that the will of the people has thus far been of little consequence in deciding the course of world affairs.

So what can be done to turn the tide? How can we the people empower ourselves to effectively assert our desires for a more fair, humane and peaceful world order? Is it possible to influence the behavior of those in power? Or is it possible to install new leaders who will act more responsibly and in accordance with the popular will? Or is necessary, or even possible, to reinvent and deploy political and economic structures by which people can more directly assert themselves?

It seems reasonable to assert that action must be taken on all levels, but I am inclined to believe that the greatest possibility of bringing about the desired changes lies in economic and political innovation and restructuring.

The monopolization of credit

I came to realize many years ago that the primary mechanism by which people can be, and are controlled, is the system of money, banking, and finance. The power elite have long known this and have used it to enrich themselves and consolidate their grip on power. Though we take it for granted, money has become an utter necessity for surviving in the modern world. But unlike water, air, food, and energy, money is not a natural substance—it is a human contrivance, and it has been contrived in such a way as to centralize power and concentrate wealth.

Money today is essentially credit, and the control of our collective credit has been monopolized in the hands of a cartel comprised of huge private banks with the complicity of politicians who control central governments. This collusive arrangement between bankers and politicians disempowers people, businesses, and communities and enables the elite super-class to use the present centralized control mechanisms to their own advantage and purpose. It misallocates credit, making it both scarce and expensive for the productive private sector while enabling central governments to circumvent, by deficit spending, the natural limits imposed by its revenue streams of taxes and fees. Thus, there is virtually no limit to the amounts of resources that are lavished on the machinery of war and domination.[i]

In today’s world, banks get to lend our collective credit back to us and charge interest for it while central governments get to spend more than they earn in overt tax revenues, relying on the banking system to monetize government debts as needed. These two parasitic drains on the economy, interest and inflationary monetization of government debts, create a growth imperative that is destroying the environment, shredding the social fabric, and creating ever greater disparities of income and wealth. At the same time, this scarcity and misallocation of money, which belies the abundance that exists in the real economy, leads to violent conflicts and provides the power elite with the means to pursue policies of domination, even at the risk of global nuclear war.

What most people still fail to recognize is that regardless of the nominal form of their government, their political power has been neutralized and exhausted by the political money and banking system. Democratic government in today’s world is more an illusion and a hope than a reality. As Prof. Carrol Quigley wrote in his book, Tragedy and Hope (1966), “… the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.”[ii]

In the succeeding decades since Quigley’s revelation, their control mechanisms have been refined and extended to include the intelligence services and military power, political think tanks, the media, and virtually every segment of society. The U.S. agenda of regime change over the past several years[iii] is not so much about taking mineral and petroleum resources, that is a side benefit. By examining the pattern of interventions by the U.S. and NATO powers, it is clear that the primary objective is to force every country of the world into a single global interest-based, debt-money regime. No exceptions will be tolerated. Thus, Saddam Hussein had to go, Gaddafi had to go, Assad has to go, and Putin has to go (but deposing Putin will not be so easy). The war against Islam is also related because a significant proportion of Islamists are serious about eliminating riba (usury) which is an essential feature in the creation of all political money throughout the world today. The United States military is the enforcer that is used when threats, bribes, cooptation and covert operations prove insufficient. Thus, the United States, Britain and their NATO allies have become the greatest perpetrators of state-sponsored terror in the post-World war II era.

How can such a power be confronted?

Fortunately, we the people have in our hands the means of our own liberation. It is the power to allocate our credit directly without the use of banks or political money. How to effectively assert that power is the main theme of my most recent book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Over the years there has been a long parade of “reformers” who wish to take the power to create money away from the banks. This is an admirable objective that I wholeheartedly endorse. But the alternatives that they propose have been either to revert to commodity money, like gold, which has proven to be inadequate, or to transfer the money-issuing power to the central government—what I call the “greenback solution.” The latter harks back to Abraham Lincoln’s scheme for financing the Civil War. That proposal calls for the federal government to bypass the Federal Reserve and the banks by issuing a national currency directly into circulation from the Treasury. At first glance that may seem like a good idea, but there are many flies in that ointment. First of all, the greenback solution does not propose to end the money monopoly but merely to put it under new management. But it is a gross delusion to think that the Treasury is, or might become, independent of the interests that now control the Federal Reserve and the major banks. Consider the fact that most of the recent Treasury secretaries have been former executives of Goldman Sachs, the most powerful financial establishment in the country. It is naïve to expect that they will serve the common good rather than the money power that has spawned them.

Second, central planning of complex economic factors has been shown to be unworkable. That is especially true with regard to money. Neither the Fed nor the treasury is qualified to decide what kind of money and how much of it is necessary for the economy to function smoothly. The issuance and control of credit money should be decentralized in the hands of producers of needed and desired goods and services. Thus the supply of money (credit) must automatically rise and fall in accordance with the quantity of goods and services that are available to be bought and sold. If private currencies and credit clearing exchanges are allowed to develop and grow without interference from the vested interests in political money, their superiority will quickly become apparent.

Third, the greenback solution does nothing to eliminate deficit spending and inflation which are enabled by legal tender laws. As long as political currencies are legally forced to circulate at face value, the abusive issuance of money, the debasement of national currency value, and the centralization of power will continue. All government programs, including social programs and the military budget, ought to be funded by legitimate government revenues, not by the underhanded means of monetary debasement. Centralized control of credit money and the imposition of legal tender laws enable the hidden tax that is called inflation. Salmon P. Chase, who as Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary presided over the issuance of greenbacks, argued later as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that the issuance of greenback currency was unconstitutional and exceeded the powers of the federal government. He said, “the legal tender quality is only valuable for the purposes of dishonesty.” Finally, the political process has been so thoroughly corrupted and taken over by the power elite that political approaches to solving the money problem have virtually no chance of passage anyway.

Toward effective means of empowerment

Business people, farmers, professionals, and others who are engaged in productive enterprise are clamoring to gain access to credit, credit which they fail to recognize is already in their collective hands. Under the present arrangements, we give our credit to the banks, then beg them to lend some of it back to us, and pay them interest for the “privilege.” But there is no good reason for credit to be monopolized. Business routinely offer credit to one another when they deliver goods and services then allow some period of time for payment to be made. This practice can be extended and organized on a multilateral basis.

The real solution to the problem lies in creating new structures for allocating credit based on the legitimate needs and the resources of businesses, workers, and state and local governments. Competition in currency can transcend the dysfunctions that are inherent in the present centralized system and ensure that there will be sufficient amounts of exchange media to enable all desirable trades. Competing currencies will also ensure that political currencies (like the dollar, euro, pound, etc.) cannot be abused without losing patronage in the market. Rather than establishing the state as the money power, we need to promote the separation of money and state by deploying exchange mechanisms that decentralize and democratize the control of credit.

Money is first and foremost a medium for facilitating the exchange of goods and services and other forms of real value, but the exchange function can be effectively and efficiently provided outside the banking system and without the use of conventional political money.[iv] This is already being done through credit clearing exchanges and through the issuance of private currencies or vouchers by businesses that produce real valuable goods and services. Both approaches have the capacity to provide exchange media that can be also be used by general public to mediate all manner of transactions.

Is there any practical possibility of organizing producers on a sufficiently large scale to achieve this? I strongly maintain that there is. This approach, based on private initiative, is far more practical and empowering than any political approach to reform of money and banking that is currently on offer. Improvement in the human condition have always stemmed from the creativity, industriousness, and goodwill of people. A cooperative, compassionate, society can emerge from the creation of exchange alternatives based on voluntary, free-market, and community-based initiatives that enable people to transcend the money monopoly and the “war machine.”[v]

This is begun at the local level by utilizing the credit of local producers to mediate the exchange of goods and services that are locally produced or sold. There are many historical examples of successful private currencies that have been circulated in various times and places. Call them vouchers, scrip, credits, certificates, or coupons—sound private and community currencies can be SPENT (issued) into circulation by any trusted producer or reseller who is ready, willing, and able to reciprocate by accepting it back (redeem it) as payment for real value, i.e., the goods or services that are their normal stock in trade and are in regular demand. There is nothing mysterious or complicated about this process.[vi]

The exchange of goods and services is also enabled on a moneyless basis by using a process of direct credit clearing among buyers and sellers. This is already being done by the scores of commercial trade exchanges (sometimes called “barter” exchanges) that have been operating successfully around the world for more than 40 years. These commercial credit circles, comprised of thousands of businesses of all kinds, presently mediate an estimated 20 to 30 billion dollars’ worth of trades annually, and these numbers continue to grow. As operational improvements are made and credit management procedures become standardized, these exchanges will be networked together to more fully realize the vast potential of moneyless credit clearing arrangements.[vii] In this emerging worldwide web of exchange, members of each local circle or node are known to one another and allocate credit to one another based on their reputation and ability to provide valuable goods and services. Thus we can eventually have an independent system of non-monetary payment in which credit is locally controlled but globally useful.

In conclusion, I maintain that it is essential and entirely feasible that we reduce our dependence upon the banking system and conventional political monies. Through the deployment of innovative mechanisms of exchange, like private currencies and credit clearing networks, individuals, businesses and communities can empower themselves economically and politically to build a society that is free, fair, prosperous and peaceful.  The way forward is clear. The blueprints have been drawn. What remains is for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and community activists to act boldly to implement these exchange mechanisms in ways that are sound, credible, effective, and scalable.

Thomas H. Greco, Jr. is an educator, author, and consultant dedicated to economic equity, social justice, and community empowerment. He specializes in the design and implementation of private and community currencies and mutual credit clearing networks. His latest book is The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. His main website is https://beyondmoney.net/. He can be reached at thgreco@mindspring.com.
_______________________________________________________________________________

[i] As E.C. Riegel put it in his book, A New Approach to Freedom, “…as long as our governments are vast counterfeiting machines, Mars can laugh at peace projects.”

[ii] This and other works of Carroll Quigley can be downloaded at the Quigley website, http://www.carrollquigley.net/ .

[iii] View General Wesley Clark’s two minute revelation at https://youtu.be/9RC1Mepk_Sw.

[iv] An animated video that makes clear the credit nature of money and its sound basis is The Essence of Money, https://youtu.be/uO7uwCpcau8.

[v] My 15 minute video, Disruptive Technologies Making Money Obsolete, https://youtu.be/ty7APADAa8g, describes how communities and businesses can escape the debt trap and become more resilient and self-reliant.

[vi] These arguments are more fully developed in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. My Solar Dollar white paper at https://beyondmoney.net/2016/08/26/solar-dollars-a-private-currency-with-multiple-benefits/ provides the basic framework for the design and issuance of a private currency.

[vii] Some details on how to do this are outlined in chapter 15 of my book, an excerpt of which can be found at https://beyondmoney.net/excerpts/limiting-factors-in-the-operation-of-commercial-trade-exchanges/.

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Categories: Blog articles

Best Anonymous VPN Will Help You Hide Online

nuance intelligence - November 23, 2015 - 1:53pm

You have probably gotten used to the general visibility and exposure of the internet world. You communicate freely with your friends on social media, research on current events and important items that you come across. People you don’t know may even have approached you with a post or inquiry. Certainly, being in the “public eye” has its advantages.

The Need for Invisibility

best secret vpn

Sometimes, there are certain aspects of your life, or your work that needs some sort of invisibility cloak. Take for instance, launching a personal blog or website. While preparations are ongoing, you focus on ensuring that your products and services remain hidden for public view – after all, this is part of your marketing program to come out with a bang. Online viewers are more likely to appreciate something that just popped out of nowhere, than view bits and pieces before the full unveiling.

You can be a game developer, and pooling general and technical data needs to be something that must be kept under wraps, until the appointed time wherein you can show the whole internet world about what you have created. You can be a business owner or an employee, and needs a secure connection in order to access company data over the public internet.

Read more useful info about vpn for anonymity on the below URLs Too:

https://www.hellovpn.com/

Going incognito in the public eye

This is where virtual network services come in. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is your own unique pathway in order to achieve invisibility and secure your details while working online. It is an application or service that helps provide you with a cloak to put on your activities while using the internet. VPN provides a user with a unique IP address that can help dissuade traces, and ensures that you remain invisible to the other internet users when dealing with important or sensitive data.

With the advantages of the internet, there are still times that what you are doing does not need to be under public scrutiny. It can be to protect an online study, or in the downloading and uploading of personal and sensitive company information.

An anonymity vpn benefit is an application that you need to include in your dossier of online tools. A networking vpn is designed to provide you with the invisibility that you need in order to secure your details. The best of vpn utility are easily accessed and found on the internet. Several types and applications are available – those that are used in a professional capacity and focuses on security, and those that provide best virtual secured network services for torrenting and transmitting of data.…

Categories: Blog articles

Evaluating the Right Chef And Step Into This Article To Hire Personal Chef

nuance intelligence - October 22, 2015 - 7:54am

Hiring the right personal chef is a big challenge to all people, especially that there is a lot of them that they can find in the market. Most of the personal chefs that you can hire may have their own skills for you to know and consider for your needs and preferences.

Hire Personal Chef  At  www.ANGIESSECRETGARDEN.com– there are some things that you have to check to have assurances on the services that they will provide to you. In this article, you will be guided on the things you have to consider when you hire a chef in your own home.

choose the best cook

A Quick Checklist

In order for you to know the things that you have to check on the personal chef that you will hire, there is a quick checklist that you can follow. Check the rundown below to have a better idea:

check list to pick the right personal chef

Long Term Experience – before you hire a chef for a dinner party, you have to check first if he has enough experience in this field. This is really important as you would not want to hire someone that does not have any idea on the things that he has to do for you.

Knowledge in Food Safety and Sanity – food poisoning is starting to become really common in the market right now and it is the last thing you want to experience. So, make sure that the personal chefs you will hire do know how to keep the food safe and clean.

Flexible Time and Schedule – there should also be a very flexible time and schedule from the chef especially if you will need their services during the weekends or even during the holiday season.

Can Cook Any Kind of Food – there are times that you would like to ask the chef to cook the food you are craving for and with that, you have to make sure that he do know how cook any kind of food especially your favorite ones.

Prepare Meals on Time – the chef should also need to prepare the meals on time. This is really important, especially if you will hire them for special occasions wherein there will be guests that you do not want to experience delays with the foods.

If this article helps you out in evaluating and finding the right personal chef for you, then we would be glad to hear your story. Please let us know about it and leave your message in our comment box below.…

Categories: Blog articles

Top 10 Places to Visit in the World for Beach Lovers

nuance intelligence - October 21, 2015 - 4:31am

Are you thinking where could be the best beach for you to visit? We provided a list of the UpandNet.Com top 10 places to visit in the world that are all meant for beach lovers like you. Check it out and know what you are looking for.

top 10 places

  • Seychelles

The color pale pink sands of the Anse Source d’Argent is really the most common reason why many beach lovers would like to visit and go in this place. One should not miss the chance of enjoying the beauty of it.

  • Maldives

Whether you want to spend most of your day with the fishes or just go and do some water activities, the Maldives could be the one you are looking for. Almost every part of the place shouts for eternal beauty that is being appreciated by many tourists around the world.

  • Bora Bora

The place is considered to be a magical island and it could be the best place for most couples because of the intimate hotels, isolated beaches and total quiet atmosphere that could give you peace and love at the same time.

  • The Hamptons

We all know that New York City is one of the most modern cities in the world and with the Hamptons you can surely enjoy the prettiest beaches along the Long Island with the unspoiled and well preserved shoreline as well.

  • Lanikai Beach

There are a lot of palm trees swaying along the white beach, the sparkling sand, the endless sunshine and the lush tropical plants which makes the Lanikai Beach to be part of the top places to go in the world.

  • Nantucket Island

The waters in the area are extremely calm and there are a lot of sands that you can use for castle building and sunbathing!
Fraser Island

This is part of the world’s heritage that you should really check out and visit.

  • St. Bart’s

The place totally stands out because of the relaxation that you can have from it.

  • Langkawi

As translated, this is the land of one’s wishes and it is a reputed refuge for the pirates which could be perfect for all travelers looking for escape.

  • Kauna’oa Bay

The perfect blue ocean and white sand waits for all beach lovers in the Kauna’oa Bay!

Do you agree with our list? Do you have some suggestions? Don’t hesitate to share it with us.…

Categories: Blog articles
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