Browsed by
Tag: Belgium

Repeal, Don’t Reform the IMF! – Article by Ron Paul

Repeal, Don’t Reform the IMF! – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
April 5, 2015
A responsible financial institution would not extend a new loan of between 17 and 40 billion dollars to a borrower already struggling to pay back an existing multi-billion dollar loan. Yet that is just what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did last month when it extended a new loan to the government of Ukraine. This new loan may not make much economic sense, but propping up the existing Ukrainian government serves the foreign policy agenda of the US government.

Since the IMF receives most of its funding from the United States, it is hardly surprising that it would tailor its actions to advance the US government’s foreign-policy goals. The IMF also has a history of using the funds provided to it by the American taxpayer to prop up dictatorial regimes and support unsound economic policies.

Some may claim the IMF does promote free markets by requiring that countries receiving IMF loans implement some positive economic reforms, such as reducing government spending. However, other conditions imposed by the IMF, such as that the country receiving the loan deflate its currency and implement an industrial policy promoting exports, do not seem designed to promote a true free market, much less improve the people’s living standards by giving them greater economic opportunities.

The problem with the IMF cannot be fixed by changing the conditions attached to IMF loans. The fundamental problem with the IMF is that it is funded by resources taken forcibly from the private sector. By taking resources out of private hands and giving them to IMF bureaucrats, the US federal government distorts the marketplace, harming both American taxpayers and the citizens of the countries receiving the IMF loans. The idea that the IMF is somehow better able to allocate capital than are private investors is just as flawed as every other form of central planning. The IMF must be repealed, not reformed.

The IMF is not the only US institution that manipulates the global economy. Over the past several years, a mysterious buyer, identified only as “Belgium,” so named because the buyer acts through a Belgian-domiciled account, has become the third-largest holder of Treasury securities. Belgium’s large purchases always occur at opportune times for the US government, such as when a foreign country sells a large amount of Treasuries. “Belgium” also made large purchases in the months just after the Fed launched the quantitative easing program. While there is no evidence this buyer is working directly with the US government, the timing of these purchases does raise suspicions.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Federal Reserve is involved in these purchases. The limited audit of the Federal Reserve’s actions during the financial crisis that was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act revealed that the Fed actively intervenes in global markets.

What other deals with foreign governments is the Fed making? Is the Fed, like the IMF, working to bail out Greece and other EU countries? Is the Fed working secretly to aid US foreign policy as it did in the early 1980s, when it financed loans to then-US ally Saddam Hussein? The lack of transparency about the Fed’s dealings with overseas central banks and foreign governments is one more reason why Congress needs to pass the audit the fed bill.

By taking money from American taxpayers to support economically weak and oftentimes corrupt governments, the IMF distorts the market, enriches corrupt governments, and harms both the American taxpayer and the residents of the counties receiving IMF “aid.” It is past time to end the IMF along with all instruments of American interventionist foreign policy.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

LEV: The Game – Play to Win Indefinite Life – Article by G. Stolyarov II

LEV: The Game – Play to Win Indefinite Life – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 20, 2014

LEV: The Game is a work in progress, whose potential to spread the message of indefinite life extension to the general public encourages me greatly. Developed by a team from Belgium – consisting of Anthony Lamot, Mathieu Hinderyckx, and Maxime Devos – this Android mobile game is currently in its Alpha phase. The creators have initiated an Indiegogo fundraiser to raise 6000 Euros (approximately 8100 US dollars at July 2014 exchange rates) in order to greatly expand the game and add its most complex and engaging elements. You can watch their video introduction to the game and the fundraiser here.

The premise of LEV: The Game is the same as the aim of those of us who wish to extend our lives without end. One’s character is challenged with living for as long as possible and attaining longevity escape velocity by reversing the damage of senescence at a faster rate than it accumulates. Every year in the game, the character receives an allotment of energy points with which to purchase power-ups, such as stem-cell therapies, applications of nano-medicine, cybernetic enhancements, or simple increments of diet and exercise. Each power-up can either increase the remaining expected lifespan, increase the rate at which energy points accumulate (called “productivity” in the game), or reduce the character’s rate of bodily decay. The player needs to achieve a delicate balancing of these power-ups to avoid expiring before he/she accumulates enough energy points to purchase the next life-extending advance.

Becoming an Alpha tester of LEV: The Game is absolutely free, and I was pleased to be able to participate in mid-July 2014. After eight attempts, I succeeded in getting a character to reach the age of 200, which is the game’s current victory condition. If the developers can raise their desired funds, they anticipate extending the gameplay to enable one’s character to reach the age of 1000.

LEV_Maximus_VIII_ScreenshotTo become an Alpha tester, you will need to join the LEV: The Game (Alpha) Google Group, using a Google account that is also linked to a mobile phone or tablet that runs the Android operating system. After you join, you can download the game from the Google Play store here. Remember to click the “Become a Tester” button to enable the download to work. When testing the game in this early stage, make sure you un-pause it first using the speed settings in the top-left-hand portion of the screen, before navigating to any of the other available windows.

Why LEV: The Game is Immensely Important

Our ability to achieve indefinite life extension personally will depend on the amount of resources and support from the general public invested in the overcoming of age-related bodily damage. Most people, unfortunately, continue to either be resigned to the inevitability of death, or to argue against the desirability of indefinite longevity due to extremely basic misconceptions. Even apart from the absurdly false boredom argument, overpopulation argument, and “playing God” argument, there is a more basic fallacy – the Tithonus error, which posits that becoming chronologically older necessarily means becoming biologically more decrepit. Yet the only way indefinite longevity could be achieved would be for people to remain biologically young, so that their susceptibility to deadly diseases does not increase beyond that of people in their twenties today. How could longevity advocates get the general public to understand this? Convincing people through arguments alone may often fail, simply because the Dragon-Tyrant of death is so ubiquitous and so overwhelming that many people will grasp at any straw, no matter how flimsy, to avoid being confronted with the grave injustice of their current predicament.

But a game gives a fresh, different, and engaging way to see and experience what indefinite longevity would truly entail. Anyone playing LEV: The Game would quickly see that becoming increasingly frail is no way to increase life expectancy. Your character will die if he/she experiences sufficient biological decay. You will be able to see a graph of the character’s remaining life expectancy and the rate at which decay is expected to proceed during the years they have left. If you apply the most effective combinations of power-ups, you will also see the life-expectancy curve shift upward – sometimes slightly, at other times by massive jumps. The latter situation reflects what can happen once humans begin to undergo periodic rejuvenation therapies to remove age-related damage, as posited in Dr. Aubrey de Grey’s SENS approach.

Furthermore, LEV: The Game encourages its players to engage in paradigm-shifting thinking about their own future trajectories. Instead of planning for gradual debilitation and eventual death, as most people do today when projecting their careers, retirements, finances, and family lives, a strikingly different mindset can take hold – the quest for perpetual maintenance and a return to youthfulness that may be possible at any chronological age, with sufficient technological advances and vigilance regarding one’s health. I admire the integration in LEV: The Game of biomedical treatments, cybernetic enhancements, and simple prudent habits – such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, cognitive activity, and access to relevant health information (even “Quantified Self” is a power-up that one can purchase). We should all strive to live the most informed and healthy lives possible, given present technology, in order to maximize our chances of surviving to the next wave of breakthroughs on the way to longevity escape velocity.

Not a day passes when I do not think about innovative ways to reach the general public with the message of indefinite life extension. For years, I have advocated the gamification of this literally vital idea as one of the most powerful ways to catalyze cultural change on this issue. I am immensely pleased to now witness such an effort taking off, due to the excellent work of Messrs. Lamot, Hinderyckx, and Devos. I donated to the Indiegogo fundraiser to help propel LEV: The Game to its hopefully world-changing final version. I hope that all readers of this article will be able to do the same.