Written by Louis Boulanger, Founder & Director, LB Now Limited.
“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died”
~ Lyrics from Everybody Knows, a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard
Cohen and collaborator Sharon Robinson, released on Leonard Cohen’s album I’m Your Man.
Everywhere I go, and I’ve been to a fair few countries around the globe lately, people seem to have the same sort of overwhelming feeling that things are just not the same anymore or at least not the way they used to be and that something will have to change sooner or later. Yet, somehow, people carry on as if nothing has changed or as if everything was somehow going to be all right. Meanwhile, that feeling Leonard Cohen speaks of not only lingers on: it gathers momentum and strength. What to make of this?
I believe that despite what it may at first appear to be, this feeling is in fact the sign of a significant rise in human consciousness. Deep down we know our beliefs about money and debt are delusional and the day will come when the inevitable consequences of our collective delusion will manifest. But that day has not yet come to pass. And so, most of us still live in ignorance or are unable to come to terms with the basic facts of the situation and choose to or prefer to believe that the delusion can prevail.
Indeed, I have come to the conclusion that this overwhelming feeling in the world has much to do with what we have come to accept as our medium of exchange. Surely, how we all interact together 2 must matter. Yet, we keep acting on a daily basis out of habit without ever giving any consideration to the very nature of the medium we so readily accept for our exchanges. If what lies at the core of all our exchanges happens to be dishonest money and we are not even aware of it, then surely we must collectively suffer the consequences.
We have abdicated our individual responsibility to think for ourselves when it comes to monetary matters and as long as we choose to do so, we will continue to pay the price. Cognitive dissonance theory offers in my view an elegant explanation of our predicament. Leon Festinger, who was an American social psychologist, first developed this theory in the 1950s to explain how members of a cult who were persuaded by their leader that the earth was going to be destroyed and that they alone were going to be rescued by aliens, actually increased their commitment to the cult when this did not happen. The dissonance of the thought of being so stupid was so great that instead they revised their beliefs to meet with obvious facts: that the aliens had, through their concern for the cult, saved the world instead…
What has cognitive dissonance got to do with money? Everything! Since what passes for money today are irredeemable fiat currencies, it is essential that people maintain their beliefs about the ability of issuing states to pay their debts and central banks to preserve the value of their currency. In other words, confidence must be maintained at all costs. How do they maintain that confidence? This is achieved simply by perpetuating ignorance about money.
Central banking is like a cult. Believers have long been persuaded by the cult’s leadership that it alone can decide exactly how much money there should be and exactly when and how to intervene in the system, to rescue it from an imminent banking collapse which we are told would of course have devastating consequences for all the rest of us. The sheer thought that this may actually not be true at all is now so unpalatable to the followers of the cult that they are quite prepared to accept
instead that central bankers do indeed need to increase their interventions from now on. In fact, the cult’s motto is now ‘to do whatever is takes’…
Unfortunately, it appears the worst offenders or followers of this cult may well be the fiduciaries of all our collective savings in the financial system: investment managers, trustees and their advisers. Until that sad state of affairs changes, all we can realistically expect is ongoing financial repression. At this point in time, dare I say that it even seems probable that it will indeed be aliens who come to save us all from ourselves!