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Woo Watch

Maybe Libya\’s all about the central banks?

Sent in by a reader:

What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.

The most renegade of the lot could be Libya and Iraq, the two that have actually been attacked. Kenneth Schortgen Jr., writing on, noted that “[s]ix months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, the oil nation had made the move to accept Euros instead of dollars for oil, and this became a threat to the global dominance of the dollar as the reserve currency, and its dominion as the petrodollar.”

According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Lybia – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar,” Gadaffi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Gadaffi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. During the past year, the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States. The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Gaddafi was not swayed and continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.

Well, no.

Strangely, I\’ve actually been on a TV talk show with one of the gold dinar advocates and he, at least, was a loon. Tehre\’s a fairly good reason we gave up commodity based currencies: it makes the money supply dependent upon how fast people can produce the currency. Which really isn\’t what we want at all, as the Spanish inflation of the 16th century showed us and to a lesser extent as the opening up of the Witwatersrand did in the 1880s.

True, governments can be worse with fiat currencies, but that doesn\’t make gold (or any other such commodity) good money either.

But the bit that proves that this is looney tunes time is that bit about euros for oil.  That the US $ is the world\’s reserve currency is true. But it\’s not actually all that important to the US that this is so. The profit they make out of it is \”seignorage\”, the differrence between the costs of barrels of ink and reams of paper and what they can sell the newly printed hundred $ bills for. This is usually estimated at some $20 billion a year.

Nice cash to have, sure, but in the context of a $14 trillion economy it\’s a rounding error.

Even if the world did start trading oil exclusively in euros, that $20 billion\’s the maximum they could lose as a result of the loss of \”petrodollar\” status. And no, the reserve status of the dollar is not linked in any but the most tenuous of ways to the fact that oil is traded in it anyway.

Any conspiracy theory you see with this in it can safely be dismissed as Woo.

The real meaning of the tsunami

The only way out is to militate for an alternate interlinkage: between global anticapitalist political contestation and a renascent environmental movement with opposition to nuclear power at its heart. A political ecology up to the task would embrace the human-nature hybridity, in all its complexity, but toward a new alliance designed to step outside the vicious circle. Also required is a realisation that the affective turn in the functioning of political legitimation that has come with the media saturation of global culture is likely irreversible. An ecological alter-politics must also be an alter-politics of affect.

One day someone will translate that into English.

In the meantime, my attempt is \”in order to deal with earthquakes and tsunamis we should all be hippies\”.

On the subject of biodynamic farming

Biodynamic farming is, as we know, organic farming taken to a higher state of woo.

Field preparations, for stimulating humus formation:

  • 500: (horn-manure) a humus mixture prepared by filling the horn of a cow with cow manure and burying it in the ground (40–60 cm below the surface) in the autumn. It is left to decompose during the winter and recovered for use the following spring.
  • 501: Crushed powdered quartz prepared by stuffing it into a horn of a cow and buried into the ground in spring and taken out in autumn. It can be mixed with 500 but usually prepared on its own (mixture of 1 tablespoon of quartz powder to 250 liters of water) The mixture is sprayed under very low pressure over the crop during the wet season, in an attempt to prevent fungal diseases. It should be sprayed on an overcast day or early in the morning to prevent burning of the leaves.

Both 500 and 501 are used on fields by stirring about one teaspoon of the contents of a horn in 40–60 liters of water for an hour and whirling it in different directions every second minute. Although some biodynamic beliefs refer to buried quartz \”fermenting\”, a 2004 review commented that it is unclear what this actually means, as rock does not ferment.[14]

But it did not, apparently, spring whole from the fevered brow of Mr. Steiner. No, not quite:

For centuries, farmers in Austria shot consecrated guns at storms in attempts to dispel them.  Some guns were loaded with nails, ostensibly to kill the witches riding in the clouds; others were fired with powder alone through open empty barrels to make a great noise — perhaps, some said, to disrupt the electrical balance of the storm.

Yes, Mr. Steiner was indeed Austrian and this is the farming tradition upon which he was building.

Fermenting shit in cow horns sounds almost normal as against trying to kill Granny Weatherwax to stop the rains.

What a shocker!

Purveyor of woo argues against regulation of purveyors of woo.

The high court will tomorrow hear the judicial review claim made by six organisations against the Health Professions Council. They are concerned that, under HPC proposals for the regulation of talking therapies, it may no longer be possible to go into therapy, practise therapy or train therapists as before.

Big surprise there, eh?