usury

Why a Gold Standard is Unsustainable in an Interest-Based Economy

Dividend Day at the Bank of England (George Elgar Hicks, 1859). The painting depicts people waiting to receive their 3% interest income. When everyone is a usurer, no one is.

I am making this post as a placeholder for my thoughts on this subject. I may eventually expand it into a full essay.

It is a common feature of Internet discussions of economic issues for people to bring up the gold standard as a measure that could make the world or their country a much better place. A “sound” currency will supposedly cure many economic ills. Due to what I call the risk-profit differential in interest-based economies, which I covered in a previous essay, a gold standard cannot be implemented without it quickly leading to economic distress for most citizens. The point of interest, or usury, is this (from the previous essay):

The usurer class gets guaranteed profits. The borrower class is forced to share its profits with the usurers, while also being made to keep its losses to itself.

The unbalanced arrangement in usury, which guarantees a steady profit rate (i.e. the interest rate) to the lender, while forcing the borrower to keep its losses to itself, guarantees that over time, most currency ends up in the hands of the lenders. This is a simple matter of mathematics.

Let’s imagine an interest-free island economy of one million citizens, each of which has a thousand gold coins, so that the entire economy possesses one billion gold coins. As the years pass, some people will be more successful than others in their businesses and dealings, so that some will end up with more gold coins and some with less. But due to the fact that there is no interest, the rich are forced to invest their gold in businesses and projects if they want to increase their wealth. Businesses and projects require hiring people, and many of them eventually fail to make a profit, so that the investment activities of the rich often end up spreading wealth around. Great wealth inequality cannot come about in such an economy because the rich are exposed to the realities of economics.

But let’s say one of the rich men of the island starts to practice usury. He has ten million gold coins and starts to lend them to others at 5% interest. What takes place now is that he drives a wedge through realityhe gets 5% profit regardless of economic circumstances. He is no longer exposed to risk, he gives his money to others to take risks with while getting guaranteed profits himself. Let’s say he lends his 10 million gold coins to another rich man who wants to start a great project. The lender will get 5% profit regardless of whether the project succeeds or fails, but due to the extreme complexity and randomness of economic reality, a large portion of all projects and businesses fail to make a profit. Let’s say the borrowing rich man spends the 10 million gold coins constructing a large building from which he expects to earn a great amount of rent. But after spending the money on the building, some shift happens in the economy of his city so that the area in which his new building is located is no longer attractive to renters. He ends up with a 10-million building that may no longer be worth even 5 million gold coins.

In such a situation, we have two alternative realities: The reality of the lender, in which he makes 5% annual profit from the project which is assumed to continue being worth 10 million, and the reality of the borrower, in which he has made a 50% loss and earns a 1% in returns on the present worth of the building.

At the end of the year, the lender gets 500,000 gold coins in profit, while also keeping his 10 million gold coins. The borrower, on the other hand, makes 50,000 gold coins from rent income and is only left with a building worth 5 million gold coins.

What usury has done in the above situation is that the lender gets to pretend the project was a great success and is exposed to zero risk. He makes 500,000 a year and still has his 10 million gold coins. But in the borrower’s cold and harsh reality, he lost half of what he borrowed and only made 50,000 on the half the remains to him. He is forced to spend of his other wealth to make up the difference so that he can make his interest payments to the lender.

Now, imagine the above situation repeating all over the place, which is what happens in the world of finance. Usury, by driving a wedge through reality that protects lenders from losses (they get fictitious guaranteed profits that have no connection with reality), ends up enabling the lenders to continually enlarge their wealth at the expense of the rest of the economy. Regardless of what is happening in the reality of the economy, with people making profits here and losses there, they get to always profit. It should not take a genius to realize that this unbalanced arrangement means that year after year more coins will end up in the hands of the lenders and fewer in the hands of everyone else.

We see this phenomenon repeated everywhere usury is practiced. The banks and the bankers are always the richest people in the country, because while ordinary mortals, the peasantry, are exposed to the realities of risk and profit, the banks only get guaranteed profits (when banks do make losses and get into trouble, it is due to the fact that in their constant greed for more wealth, they sometimes do extremely risky things, such as gambling on the prices of stocks in the futures market). Over time, this leads to increasing wealth inequality. The lender class becomes the new aristocracy, who own most of the country’s corporations, land, media and politicians.

A gold standard means that there will be a limited amount of currency available in the economy. And since the lender class enjoys a far greater rate of profit compared to everyone else, their lending constantly drains coins from the economy and places it in their hands, so that there is less currency left for everyone else. Within a few decades this gets out of hand; the usurers end up having unimaginable wealth, the middle class disappears, and a large underclass of peasants is created, many of whom are enslaved to debt one way or another.

We already see this happening in the developed world. What a gold standard would do would be to simply accelerate this process. Today, by printing money, the United States government is able to continuously inject more cash into the economy. While the bankers drain hundreds of billions of dollars from the economy annually (American taxpayers pay over $200 billion USD to the lenders in interest alone on their national debt), the government prints money and spends it, such as in wages to its employees or on various projects. This ensures that the economy will continue functioning.

The phenomenon of peasant uprisings in the past happened due to the operation of usury in economies that had gold-backed currencies. Money-printing can be thought of as a new invention meant to prevent peasant uprisings. While the usurers suck up vast quantities of cash annually, the government prints more and throws slivers of it to the peasantry. In this way the economy continues to lurch along and disaster is prevented. Today’s usurers are mostly happy because they are rich and powerful beyond the wildest dreams of the usurers of the past. The peasants are mostly happy because they continue to get along. They know that things are more difficult than they were thirty or forty years ago, but peasants are not generally wise enough to understand why.

A gold standard would only make sense in an economy that bans usury. Implementing it in a usurious economy like all of today’s economies would be suicidal, because the government would lose its power to mollify the peasantry through printing money and giving a little of it to them. The economy would quickly run out of money, since usury is designed to continually drain money from the population and put it in the bank accounts of the usurers, who quickly run out of people who can borrow from them, so that they only open their purses to other members of the usurer aristocracy. Billion-dollar deals among the banker class becomes an everyday thing while the peasantry can barely pay for groceries.

Therefore those wishing for economic reform should forget the gold standard and focus on usury. An unsound, printable currency is far sounder in a usurious economy than a sound currency. It helps keep things functioning and prevents extreme hardship and uprisings. The usurers continue to be in charge, but they are prevented from starving the peasantry bleed them to death so slowly that they can barely feel it.

Fractional Reserve Banking: Usury on Steroids

Above, I have argued that a gold standard is unsustainable in an interest-based economy. That only refers to ordinary usury. But as Dumbledore said:

...Lord Voldemort has seemed to grow less human with the passing years, and the transformation he has undergone seemed to me to be only explica­ble if his soul was mutilated beyond the realms of what we might call ‘usual evil’ …”

Today’s usury has gone beyond usual evil through fractional reserves. Fractional reserve banking means that a usurer is allowed to lend out five times (or whatever the legally required reserve ratio is) as much money as they have, earning five times more interest annually than the interest rate implies. A bank that offers a $200,000 mortgage at 5% is actually earning 25% on its money, because legally, if it has $200,000 in its reserves (actually held at the central bank), it is allowed to lend out $1,000,000 or more. If a bank has $200,000, it can finance five $200,000 mortgages, earning 5% on each mortgage. This means that the wealth of the usurer aristocracy is unlike the wealth of the peasantry; it has five times as much power to make profit, and those profits in turn are protected by usury from loss, since the burden of losses is legally forced on the borrowers.

Fractional reserve banking makes a gold standard five times more unsustainable as it would be under normal usury, because usurers drain wealth from the economy five times faster than under normal usury. A usurer who has one million dollars can double his wealth every year (lending it five times at 20%, for an annual profit of 100%), as long as he can find peasants to lend to. This is a good illustration of the “parallel reality” nature of usury; there is no such thing as an honest business that allows you to double your wealth every year. But fractional reserve usury does just that, and it is the peasantry that has to make the difference for them. A peasant who borrows $1000 through a credit card will almost certainly not be able to make a 20% profit on this money over the next year, but the usurer pretends that that is just what happens. What ends up taking place is that the peasant has to lay aside part of his or her income to subsidize the usurer’s imaginary 20% profit. Credit cards, in fact, can be thought of as nothing but a way for enabling usurers to legally take money out of people’s wallets and paychecks.

Why is Usury Evil? The Pretense

The source of the evilness of usury, and the fact that it deserves God’s wrath, is the pretense mentioned above. No human with a functioning conscience would do something like this, which is what usurers do on a daily basis:

Lending someone $10,000 for a business, watching their business fail, then asking them for a 5% profit at the end of the year, despite the fact that you know they lost most of their money and have not made any profit at all.

The usurer hardens his heart, ignores the misfortune of the borrower, and pretends that the borrower has made a profit over the past year, despite the fact that they know well that they have made no profit at all and might be in extreme hardship. A person who treats fellow humans in this way, having zero empathy toward their misfortunes, and not only just that, but asking for a profit despite the person’s losses, is a pathetic excuse for a human and deserves to be hated and to be treated as a low-life and a robber, and this is how they used to be treated even in Europe until the past few centuries when usury was normalized after the corruption of the Church (see Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not).

Avoiding the West’s culture of usury as a Muslim

I figured you'd be the best person to ask about this. I'm a young Muslim adult who's been wondering how to navigate through a usury based society. Unless you end up earning ample amounts of money, it feels like getting mortgages and credit cards are pre-requisites to living a comfortable (or decently comfortable) life here. What can I do to avoid partaking in the usury system while allowing me to live a decent life quality? Any advice or readings on this would be a great help.

We should try to avoid interest (and for-profit insurance) as much as we are able. This is a challenge that each person has to face for themselves; one should do as much as they can, but I wouldn’t say that one should absolutely avoid it all, since that can be too difficult for some people’s faith.

Speaking for myself, for mortgages, I would use an Islamic provider like Guidance Residential if it all possible. For insurance, I would only get insurance that I am legally required to get (such as car insurance). I would avoid using credit cards unless absolutely necessary (for example if I can’t pay rent and can’t get help in other ways).

In my new book Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not.

And if you ever have money to invest, you should avoid bonds, including “Islamic” ones that give a fixed rate. One should also ideally avoid all companies that borrow money on interest, which basically means all US public corporations. What remains is to invest in private businesses that do not deal in usury and that give their employees living wages. As far as I know there is no easy way to do this other than finding a business and reaching a private deal with them (giving them $10,000, for example, for a certain share of their profits). There are “Islamic” mutual funds like Azzad and AMANA, but both of these either invest in usurious corporations or in fixed-rate “Islamic” bonds that are not so Islamic after all. What is needed is a mutual fund that invests solely in non-usurious businesses or truly Islamic bonds (backed by real assets and with fluctuating returns). Perhaps as the number of Muslims in the US and Europe increases, such funds will be created. At the moment, if I were wealthy, I would have nothing to do with the utterly corrupt and usurious corporate culture of the West and would do everything possible to create new companies that act more ethically.

The point of the Islamic acts of worship

A question received on tumblr:

What are the importances of acts of worship Prayer, zakat and fasting etc

At the most basic level these acts reaffirm God’s important in our lives. We Muslims cannot ignore God, saying “we have faith” and then go for days without thinking about God. The prayers interrupt our lives five times a day. Fasting interrupts a whole month of the year.

As for zakat, it provides basic income to the poor. If the people of the United States paid zakat, it could amount to $100 to $500 billion dollars a year, meaning that within a few years there wouldn’t be a single homeless or poor person in the country, and every poor person (belonging to the bottom 50% of society) would get a monthly income of $1000 or more from zakat.

As far as I know no Muslim country properly applies the zakat system, which is why there is so much widespread poverty in countries like Egypt. Zakat has to be taken, it is not a voluntary act. Most rich people are not generous and would rather not pay 2.5% of their uninvested wealth to the poor every year, they would rather do as the Jews and Christians of America do, lending their wealth to the poor and charging them 5% or more interest.

In the zakat system, the poor charge interest on rich people’s uninvested wealth, the money they hoard in their bank accounts. In America’s usurious system, the rich charge interest on the poor, to the tune of more than a trillion dollars per year. American taxpayers paid upwards of $200 billion on money borrowed from usurers to pay for government expenditures, which is why the rich and powerful of America constantly want to increase the size of the military and to instigate new wars, such as with Iran and Russia. War requires spending, and the money for it has to be borrowed from the rich, and the interest on that money has to be paid by the average taxpayer.

For the rich, war always means money. Islam breaks this cycle of evil and destruction by prohibiting usury (all charging of interest) and enforcing zakat.

As for other acts of worship, they all have some wisdom if you look into them.

Why the Banks are So Powerful and Why the Bible and the Quran Forbid Usury: Charting How Interest Creates Obscene Wealth Inequality

Imagine if in 1913 the real economy of the US had $100 billion in capital, while the banks and money-lenders had only $1 billion. Given everyday economic circumstances, by 2017, the wealth of the real economy would have grown to $2163 billion (with a 3% economic growth rate). Meanwhile, the wealth of the banks and money-lenders during the same period would have grown from $1 billion to $3806 billion. Starting at only 1% of the wealth of the real economy, within just over 100 years, the financial sector grows to 175% the size of the real economy.

This is the heart and soul of usury; the reason why banks are so powerful, and the reason why usurers have been hated with visceral hatred throughout history. The usury sector uses the law to enforce an alternate reality where their profits grow faster than the real economy. If they were honest investors, their money would be directly invested into the economy, so that their wealth would grow (and shrink) with the real economy. But through the hateful invention of usury, they create an alternate reality where their wealth always grows faster than the real economy.

The chart assumes a relatively low business loan interest rate of 5%, and a high delinquency rate of 6.75% (the highest recorded by the St. Louis Fed between 1987 and 2016), and a high (usurer-unfriendly) reserve ratio of 33% (the lower the reserve ratio, the faster the wealth money-lenders grows, as they earn more interest on their capital).

Usury is evil because, on a macro scale, it passes off most risks to the borrower, and most profits to the lender. In the world of business, businesses sometimes make a profit, sometimes make a loss. But in the world of usury, usurers always make a profit. They lend money at 5% to a business and demand 5% profit after the year with complete disregard for whether the business profited or made a loss.

In this way, usury turns the whole economy into a casino where the usurers win most of the time. They happily lend money to everyone they can burden with debt then demand profits (interest) at a fixed rate without regard for the fact that in the real world people sometimes profit, sometimes make losses. The usurers live in a parallel reality where they always profit.

In this way, the wealth of usurers grows faster than the wealth of the rest of society, enabling them to slowly but surely take control of the whole economy by buying up its lands and businesses. Below is a chart of this process over 20 years in a small town, assuming both the money-lender and the townsfolk have $10 million at the beginning.

A wealthy usurer looks at a fellow human and thinks, “How can I turn this person into a profit-making tool for myself?” They want to give him $10,000 to take risks with, but they want to charge him 5% annual profit regardless of whether he profits or loses. In this way they drive a wedge through reality; most profits to the usurer, all losses to the borrower. They do not want to honestly invest their wealth (such as by starting businesses), because they may lose. Instead, they give their money to you so that you will lose if things go badly, while enjoying the power of the law in extracting their profits from you year after year regardless of your loss.

The usurers at the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and the Chicago School of Economics would have you believe that the above situation is unavoidable, that it is just a fact of life, and that if you dislike money-lenders for their profiteering and rent-seeking, you are just hating them for their wealth.

What is not mentioned is that there is a way for the wealthy to invest their wealth without creating wealth inequality and giving themselves such an obscene advantage over the population, and that method is simply honest investment, what I call Socratic Finance, as Socrates mentions it in Plato’s Republic. It is to make the lender and the borrower share in their fair portion of risk and gain.

How is this magic performed? By prohibiting the charging of interest. When the charging of interest is prohibited, money-lenders are made to invest in the real economy, and to share in its profits and losses. If the town’s money-lender cannot practice usury, and has $10 million in wealth compared to the town’s $10 million, he would be forced to spend his money investing in the real economy by buying businesses or starting new businesses, creating jobs in the process, and raising wages, as he has to compete with other business for available talent. In this way he shares in the town’s profits and losses, instead of enjoying a 5% guaranteed annual profit rate that has nothing to do with reality, that is just a legal fiction designed to enrich him at the expense of his borrowers.

If he wants to invest his money to finance housing, instead of using the corrupt practice of mortgaging, he would offer up houses on a rent-to-own basis. In a normal mortgage, a person is made to carry the burden of a $300,000 loan while the money-lender continues to own the house. In the case of default, the money-lender gets the house back, sells it, and if it sells for less than the outstanding loan amount, he goes after the borrower for the rest of the principal. Most mortgage defaults happen during times of financial crises, when people lose jobs, and when houses lose value. If the home was mortgaged at $300,000, during a crisis it would sell for only $200,000. If the buyer had paid $20,000 of the principal off, they would lose the house, and still owe $80,000 to the usurer.

But Socratic home financing is a world apart from this. If a person gets a Socratically-financed home, and then is unable to make payments, the investor gets the house back and sells it, and the home-buyer gets his principal share of the house back. If he had paid off 20% of the principal, he would get 20% of the house’s sale price. In a Socratically-financed home, the buyer always gets some money back in the case of default, as there is no loan involved, it is real ownership transfer of the house. In the previously mentioned case of the $300,000 house, the buyer would get $40,000 back after foreclosure, instead owing $80,000.

Over the past 400 years, most Christians have continued the tradition of being utter disgraces to the name of Christ, so that today even the Vatican funds its operations through usurious lending. Even the Amish practice usury.

If but a probable suspicion arose
of a man to occupy that filthy trade
He was taken for a devil in the likeness of a man.
But good Lord, how is the world changed?

That which infidels cannot abide, Gospellers allow,
That which Jews take only of strangers
and will not take of their countrymen for shame,
That do Christians take of their dear friends
and think for so doing they deserve great thanks.

Thomas Rogers (Anglican theologian, ca. 1555-1616)

Today’s usurers try to absolve themselves from their sins, and whitewash their actions, through the practice of philanthropy. Almost every wealthy usurer is described as a “philanthropist” on Wikipedia. They gain billions of dollars by squeezing the life out of the economies that play host to them, using usury to drive a wedge into the economy and extract rent from it, then spend a few hundred million dollars funding hospitals, museums and universities, and lo and behold! They are philanthropists. It is to this usurer trick of philanthropy that Rabbi Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire from 1891 to 1911, refers when he says:

No amount of money given in charity, nothing but the abandonment of this hateful trade, can atone for this great sin against God, Israel and Humanity.

The Risk-Profit Differential

The evils of usury, and the immense urge that usurers feel to practice it, can all be summed up into one phrase: the risk-profit differential.

Whatever reasons usurers bring up to defend usury can be defeated by mentioning this phrase. The risk-profit differential is the core of usury, the reason why usurers prefer usury over productive investment, as was recognized by Jesus in his Parable of the Talents.

The risk-profit differential refers to the fact that, at its core, every usurious contract is about passing off more risk to the borrower than to the lender, and passing off more profit to the lender than to the borrower. This differential, this unbalanced arrangement that constantly pushes risk away from the usurer while also constantly pushing profit toward him, is where the attraction of usury lies.

It is the desire of every human to want to increase profits while also wanting to decrease risks. A usurer is simply someone selfish enough to create an arrangement that puts this unchecked, selfish animal desire into law through a contract that ensures him more profit and less risk, while also ensuring less profit and more risk to the borrower.

Usury is about enforcing a contract that enslaves the borrower to the usurer’s interests. The usurer class ensures itself a constant rate of profit (the class as a whole always profits, never loses), while the borrower class profits and loses randomly as economic conditions demand. The usurer class gets guaranteed profits. The borrower class is forced to share its profits with the usurers, while also being made to keep its losses to itself.

Through this unbalanced arrangement, the wealth of the usurer class balloons. They build skyscrapers to house their banks and insurance companies. The rest of society’s prosperity grows fast at first, then stagnates, and then starts to decline as the debt load grows, until a situation is reached, like that in the US, where bankers and their friends are the richest and most powerful people in the country, almost living in alternate reality, with lavish lifestyles and massive mansions subsidized by the interest payments of the millions of peasants.

Casinos make profits by having machines that win very slightly more often than they lose. Perhaps winning 52% of the time and losing 48% of the time. Usury, through the risk-profit differential, turns the entire economy into a casino where the usurers win 80% of the time, and lose 20% of the time (through defaults and bankruptcies). While a large casino makes a few billion dollars a year for its owners through its rigged nature, the economy, due to the rigged usury, makes trillions every year for the usurer class.

Usury is an unbalanced arrangement, otherwise it wouldn’t be usury. There is no way to make usury fair, to make it harmless, to make it add positive value to society. The only solution to usury is to ban it, as the English Kings Edward I and Edward VI did.

No matter how many clever arguments the usurers and their economists come up with in defense of their usury, they can never make this fact go away, as this is the only reason a usurer practices usury: he wants nearly all profits to come to himself, and nearly all losses to go to his borrowers. He wants to give his money to a peasant who is legally forced to share his profits with the usurer while bearing the full burden of any losses.

Debt slavery

The problem with usury is that the profits of lenders always grows faster than the profits of borrowers. When you borrow $10,000 at 5% interest, within this transaction is the embedded assumption that your prosperity will grow by at least 5% in the next year. This is why Aristotle and many other philosophers and intellectuals call usury “unnatural.” The profits of usury are separate from the profits of the actual economy in which it exists. When usurers lend at 5%, they are maintaining a parallel alternate reality in which the economy profits at 5% in the next year, regardless of whether the actual economy profits at 5% or not.

While some borrowers make good use of the money they have borrowed and make more than 5%, so that they can pay off the usurers and still make a profit, others, because of the millions of chances that operate in the reality of an economy, make a loss on the money they have borrowed. They may have borrowed $10,000, and a year later they only have $8,000 left, because their business dealing didn’t work out as they expected. But the usurer, in his alternate reality, continues to pretend not only that the $10,000 still exists, but that the $10,000 made a 5% profit. He collects $500 from the borrower at the end of the year, leaving the borrower with $7500 in cash, and a $10,000 debt to pay off. If the borrower continues to be unlucky the next year, he loses another $2,000 of his cash, but he still has to pay about $500 to the usurer, so now he has $5,000 left in cash, and a $10,000 debt to pay off.

Meanwhile, during these two years, the usurer has earned $1,000 in profit, without losing any of the $10,000 he gave to the borrower, since the borrower is required to pay it back regardless of his or her profits or losses.

Usury is a way of earning money by the virtue of having money, while making others carry the burden of any risk that comes out of using the money. It is an amazing deal—for the usurer. For the borrower, sometimes it is a good deal, sometimes it breaks even, and sometimes it is pure slavery.

A modern, poignant form of debt slavery today is student debt. A usurer lends a student $100,000 at, let’s say, 5% interest. Within this debt is the assumption that not only will the student be able to use their $100,000 degree to earn that much back over their career, but that they will also make a 5% profit, every year, over and above the cost of the degree.

As it happens, some students graduate and succeed in the business world, so that they pay off the loan in 10 or 15 years while enjoying a good, or at least an acceptable, standard of living.

But for many students, this is only something that they can dream of. They borrow tens of thousands of dollars, only to spend the rest of their lives barely being able to make the monthly payments on their loans. And ten years after graduation, due to changing economic, political or technological conditions, their degrees may be completely worthless, meaning that they racked up $100,000 or more in debt for something completely useless. This $100,000 will hover over them like a dark cloud for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, the usurer in his or her high tower, continues to extract a 5% interest, or $10,000 a year, from the student, with the law enabling them to maintain an alternate reality in which that completely useless degree is actually worth $100,000, and also that that useless degree is enabling the student to earn a 5% yearly profit over the value of the degree.

In 2015, there were 2.8 million Americans over the age of 60 who were still living with student debt. US law, authored by usurers and their lobbyists, prohibits these people from declaring bankruptcy so that they can get rid of this cloud that has been giving them constant stress since their early adulthood. The law forces them to pay it off, and empowers usurers to seize these people’s wages and properties to get not only the original $100,000, but an additional $10,000 yearly profit over and above that for every year these people have had their debt, which, for a person of 60, means for their entire adult lives. Student debt has turned these people into money-making machines for the usurers.

Usury is about creating an alternate reality in which the economy profits at 5%, or 20%, or whatever the usurers are currently lending their money at, and using the law to force this reality on the population, regardless of the actual economy.

In the real economy, each year and each month’s profits are different from the previous ones’. One year the economy may make a 5% profit, another a 2.5% profit. A war may break out, or natural disaster may strike, causing the economy to make a loss. Political conditions can change. Trade wars, currency speculation and terrorism can severely damage an economy’s profits.

But in the blissful alternate reality of the usurer, none of this happens. Each year is full of sunshine and great harvests, and the population will have to subsidize this alternate reality for them.

The Gene-Culture

The phrase “gene-culture” expresses the idea that there is no such thing as a culture independent from genes, or genes independent from culture. It enables a researcher to think of human evolution in accurate, realistic terms. At a population level, it is not individual humans, or specific genetic backgrounds, that are most relevant to natural selection, it is the gene-culture.

Examples of gene-cultures are WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), Lebanese Christians, the Amish, Malaysian Muslims, and Ashkenazi Jews.

In order for children to grow up, prosper, and reproduce, in addition to requiring healthy and capable genes, they require healthy and capable cultures. They need a culture where there is rule of law, where there is sufficient social support to overcome the fear of the financial risk posed by having children, and where there is sufficient knowledge and health care to feed, clothe and care for these children.

The reproductive prosperity of a population relies on both genes and cultures. The two are inseparable. And when either of them is unfit, reproductive fitness is diminished.

The Japanese are extremely fit genetically. Intellectually they have the capacity to provide sufficient food and care for their offspring. But their culture is unfit. The reproductive fitness of their genes doesn’t make a difference when the culture part is unfit; the gene-culture as a whole becomes unfit and fails to reproduce effectively.

What is unfit about Japanese culture is the fact that they fully embraced the West’s neo-Liberal Usurer Economics, which, through the Risk-Profit Differential, constantly pushes the nation’s wealth into the hands of the super-rich, increasing poverty among the lower classes, and causing stagnation in the middle class.

Any culture that is not resistant to usury will eventually suffer stagnation, declining birth rates and population shrinkage. This is happening in most, if not all, of the developed world.

Just as a population that is genetically prone to a plague can be wiped out by it, a population that is culturally prone to usury will be wiped out by it.

The idea of the gene-culture enables us to view matters of cultural (economic and religious) practice in Darwinian terms. Just as a harmful genetic mutation reduces a population’s viability, a harmful cultural mutation (in the case of Japanese, embracing Western-style usury) reduces the population’s viability.

The idea of the gene-culture also contains the important implication that culture affects genes and genes affect culture. Among animals, genetic fitness is the most important factor in their survival, most animals have negligible cultures (exceptions being higher primates like orangutans). Humans, however, due to their intellectual complexity, are extremely reliant on culture, so that culture makes up about half of the picture when it comes to examining a population’s reproductive fitness.

In the above chart, I’m counting the material environment in which the genes exist toward the gene side. The contribution of culture toward the reproductive fitness of humans varies a great deal from environment to environment, and the average amount of its contribution might be less than 50%.

Imagine a hundred Japanese middle class families in Tokyo adopting a hundred Haitian children from soon after birth. The children will grow up in a Japanese world, learning Japanese customs and ideals. But they do not have Japanese genes. Victorian romantics and modern proponents of “environment is everything” (junk 20th century social scientists, which is nearly all of them) would imagine that these children would grow up and make perfect Japanese citizens who will only be held back by racism.

What actually happens is that their Haitian genes will mutate Japanese culture, so that no matter how hard they try to be authentically Japanese, there will be clear manifestations of differences in their understanding and application of Japanese culture (which is not a bad thing, it is a simple fact of biology).

But the most interesting thing is the children of these children. These children will create a Creole Japanese culture that will seem quite foreign to the average Japanese. It will have aspects of Japanese culture and Haitian culture, even if the children and their parents know nothing about Haiti and its people. Haitian culture is partly a result of its population’s genetics. And if this population is made to grow up in Japan, these genes will ultimately show through, tearing Japanese cultural conditioning apart and creating something new and interesting out of it.

A Shortcut to (Edible) Mushrooms

When a tribe that has never seem mushrooms before wanders into a shire where mushrooms abound, some brave souls will experiment with this new potentially edible stuff. If someone eats a particular mushroom, gets sick and dies, this will not lead to a genetic adaptation against eating such mushrooms. It leads to a cultural adaptation. The culture will recognize such mushrooms as unsafe to eat, perhaps first beginning by considering all mushrooms unsafe (if the first experiment with mushrooms goes really badly).

Genes are a response to topology. Cultures, too, are responses to topology. When tribe is placed in that particular environment, it responds, modifying its culture to adapt to it, in this particular case by accumulating knowledge regarding which mushrooms are safe and which ones are not.

If this tribe’s descendants move on to a city a few generations later, they may carry with them extensive knowledge of mushrooms that is going to be largely irrelevant, since this knowledge was an adaptation to pressures from another environment. For this reason this knowledge will slowly be lost unless someone writes it down.

This process of a culture adapting to a new environment, then losing the adaptation once it goes into a new environment, is the same as a genome adapting to a new environment then losing the adaptation once it goes into a new one. Except that cultural adaptation is much, much faster, and increases the species’ adaptation power by orders of magnitude. Humans do not need genetic adaptations to poisonous mushrooms when they have the power of overnight cultural adaptation.

Russia

An interesting expression of the gene-culture came from Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia’s president, the Wall Street-friendly drunkard Boris Yeltsin, took off all of Russia’s defenses and threw it to Wall Street’s fattest and ugliest usurers, who, in just a few years, managed to plunge the country into the worst demographic disaster in its history. Russia started to resemble a third-world backwater rather than a proud Euro-Asiatic country. Regardless of the genetic fitness of Russia’s population, removal of its cultural defenses against usury destroyed its reproductive fitness.

Once Vladimir Putin took over, he kicked out the usurers and started the process of repairing Russia’s cultural fitness through reviving the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian industry. The usurers, in turn, launched an all-out financial and propaganda war on him from Wall Street that has continued to date. Regardless of Wall Street and Washington’s chest-pumping, Russia has continued its demographic recovery. Christianity is back on the rise, culture is flourishing, life expectancies increase and technological innovation grows.

The above is, of course, a gross simplification of what happened in Russia. But to the gene-culture this is not an issue, since the gene-culture is a high-level construct that enables researchers to examine human history from a Darwinian perspective. No facts are ignored or thrown out to fit reality into the theory (as is done by junk sociologists on the one hand, and certain evolutionary psychologists on the other), as the theory encompasses all facts. Dysfunctions in politics are affected by, and affect, the gene-culture. Russia’s gene-culture leads to Czars, Arab and African gene-cultures lead to dictators, and Western Europe’s present gene-culture leads to usurer-controlled democracies. Cultures select for genes and genes select for cultures.

Feminism

The gene-culture also sheds light on the effects of feminism. Feminism reduces fertility in many ways, such as encouraging women to spend their most fertile years working to enrich the usurer class. A gene-culture that is not immune to feminism will be infected and mutated by it, so that its reproductive fitness decreases. Meanwhile, gene-cultures that are immune to feminism will not be harmed by it, and will reproduce faster than the infected populations. This process will naturally eliminate feminism from any large population that contains a significant minority gene-culture that is resistant to feminism.

The gene-culture could also be called the gene-meme, or geme for short. But this gets too technical and only social scientists would understand it. I chose “gene-culture” since it is easier to imagine and comprehend. By “culture” I mean everything carried by a human population apart from genes and epigenetics. This includes language, religion, law and political institutions.