Several thinkers and activists in the “post-Peak preparedness” camp have written about how local communities can become more resilient and self-sufficient by creating their own local currencies. Those who write on this topic discuss the many advantages of local currencies in times like these, advantages which chiefly center on the ability of local currencies to keep local wealth in local communities rather than allowing the extraction of wealth from local communities by large, distant, multinational businesses.
I haven't read of any of these writers asking what the large multinational businesses think of this, but it's really not necessary. One man has found out for us. (He found out the hard way.) From the blog ClubOrlov comes this story which originally appeared via Reuters News Service, but which was largely ignored by the larger organs of U.S. mainstream media:
March 21, 2011
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A North Carolina man was convicted for creating and distributing a counterfeit currency that was very similar to the real dollar, a U.S. Attorney said.
Bernard von NotHaus, 67, minted Liberty Dollar coins in the value of $7 million dollars. The conviction concludes an investigation that was started in 2005.
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” Anne Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said in a statement on Friday.
“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she said.
According to Mr. Orlov's blog, while this story has largely been ignored by the big mainstream media outlets in the U.S. (although, to be fair, it has been picked up by Wikipedia, the Wall Street Journal and a number of smaller outlets), it has not been ignored by Russian media. Seems to me that as long as the only things that can be bought via local currencies are housesitting time, feng shui lessons and foot massages, the Federales will probably not care. But if you try meeting any serious needs via such alternative arrangements, they'll be all over you like white on rice.
Ah, but the glory days of the Federales may be numbered. The attempt by the Western coalition of willing thieves (the U.S., Britain and France) to hijack Libya's oil seems to have stalled. Gaddafi's forces are dominating the insurgency which the West had hoped would quickly unseat him and open his country as an oyster ripe for the eating. Moreover, the conflict now seems set to drag on for a considerable time. This is taking its toll on OPEC oil production. According to a 1 April article in the Oil and Gas Journal, “...OPEC production for March shows sharply lower Libyan output, falling Nigerian volumes and higher Saudi production, highlighting the tight market conditions...” Note that the same article describes the effect of unrest in Yemen on its oil production as well. And according to Bloomberg, Libyan oil output is down by approximately 995,000 barrels per day. There are also rumors that Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah operatives may be among the rebel forces in Libya. The whole “revolution” is starting to look like a fight gone bad.
All of this had me thinking today as I rode my bike home past cars and SUV's stuck in traffic, and past the gas stations, many of which are now sporting prices above $4 a gallon for diesel, mid-grade and premium gasoline. I remember how in 2007, when the Oil Report of the Energy Watch Group was published, I read their conclusion that the global peak of oil production was already behind us, and that it had likely happened in 2006. It seems they were right. Saudi Arabian oil production is not keeping up with shortages engendered by conflicts in other Mideast states. As I rode my bike today, I couldn't help glancing at the drivers of shiny new Chevy and Ford and Dodge trucks and the SUV's of many brands, and thinking to myself, “Oh, that person was short-sighted, and that one over there,...and oh, that one was really short-sighted...”