Connect with us


The Waterworks Of Money

The Waterworks Of Money

Authors: Carlijn Kingma (cartographer), Thomas Bollen (investigative journalist) and Martijn van der Linden (professor…



The Waterworks Of Money

Authors: Carlijn Kingma (cartographer), Thomas Bollen (investigative journalist) and Martijn van der Linden (professor New Finance at The Hague University of Applied Sciences).

The money system visualized as an irrigation system

Most countries are dealing with a ‘cost of living crisis’. High inflation is eating into the budgets of ordinary people, which were already tight. Over the past decade wages have fallen sharply behind compared to corporate profits and shareholder remuneration. Meanwhile the collapse of US banks and the bailout of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse show that financial instability remains an ongoing threat.

And there may be more skeletons in the closet. Not only within the tightly regulated banking sector, but also at ‘non-banks’. In April 2023 Klaas Knot, chair of the Financial Stability Board, warned for the known unknowns at other financial institutions: ‘If they are hidden for a very long period of time, sometimes the problem then grows so big, that it only becomes unhidden or visible when it's too big to deal with.’

The problems of cost of living and financial instability cannot be seen in isolation from the design of our money system.

Floods and droughts

The money system is to the economy what an irrigation system is for farming lands. Just as irrigation helps crops grow, money allows the economy to flourish. But if the architecture is fragile, or the sluices and floodgates are mismanaged, severe droughts will cause hardship and suffering.

During the past decade the super-rich and large corporations could borrow at record low interest rates. In 2019 hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio warned of the consequences of what he considered a ‘broken system’. He pointed out that while ‘money is essentially free for those who already have money and creditworthiness’, it’s ‘essentially unavailable’ to those who don’t. This, he explained, contributes to the widening wealth gap, opportunity gap, and political divides we see today. The financial sector flooded certain parts of the economy while other parts remained parched.

During the pandemic the floodgates were opened even further. Although some free paychecks were sent to the people at the bottom of society – in the US for example several programmes were rolled out to support the unemployed – the chasm between the poor and rich grew further. The easy money boosted the markets for yacht-backed-loans and securities, dividends, share buy-backs, and M&A deals to new highs in 2021 and 2022. This came at the price of higher inflation. Ordinary citizens in many countries now struggle to make ends meet. Even despite pay raises, their real wages (accounting for the net effects of inflation) have further declined.

‘The Waterworks of Money’, an architectural map of the money system drawn by cartographer Carlijn Kingma

The two-tiered state

Fixing the design flaws within society’s irrigation system is not a commercial or technocratic task, but a democratic one – or as the American economist John H. Cochrane succinctly put it: ‘We voters need to tell our politicians which kind of central bank we want.’

The same applies for other parts of our money system; the payment infrastructure, the tax regime and the investment of our pension savings. Who gets the power to create and allocate new money––and for what purposes? How can we make large corporations pay their fair share of taxes instead of shifting the burden to family businesses? And what needs to be done if we want the rules of a market economy to apply for the banking sector as well? Answering the big questions that shape our economy, requires continuous political engagement.

In a democracy, the power to design the money system––and the laws and institutions that govern it––is ultimately in the hands of the people. However, in practice there is a big obstacle impeding the democratic process. ‘In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates,’ wrote US financial journalist Matt Taibbi in 2009. Taibbi tried to raise awareness of the dangers of ‘financial illiteracy’. He argued that by making finance needlessly complex, the bankers transformed our democracy into a ‘two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.’ Anyone unfamiliar with the jargon of economists, bankers and tax experts is excluded from the public debate on how our monetary system should work.

Why reform is necessary

After every crisis, the consequences of this exclusion become visible. In the aftermath of 2009, ordinary citizens footed the bill for the bank bailouts––the US Treasury spent 420 billion dollars and European countries roughly 1.6 trillion euros (Estimated costs of bailouts by EU member state governments €1.6tn, US $426.4bn. Howarth, D., and S. James (2022). Banking Politics: Structural Reform in Comparative Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press). Meanwhile, the bankers were negotiating the conditions of their own rescue packages and drafted future regulations.

The actual power over our monetary architecture is in the hands of a small and exclusive group – often employed by, or with close ties to the financial sector. In essence, they propped up the existing banking architecture, without addressing the fundamental design flaws that make it so fragile. When former American president Barack Obama signed the new banking regulations in 2010 he said: ‘There will be no more tax-funded bailouts. Period.’ However, in 2023 the US government had to dip into the public purse again to save four large banks from bankruptcy, and prevent ‘contagion’ to the rest of the financial system. Privatizing profits while socializing risks and losses has become standard practice.

The Waterworks of Money

In his 2009 polemic Taibbi concluded: ‘There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power.’ To put the power back into the hands of the people, we need to demystify the world of finance.

With this mission in mind, we (cartographer Carlijn Kingma, investigative financial journalist Thomas Bollen, and professor New Finance Martijn van der Linden) worked for two and half years to map ‘The Waterworks of Money’, an architectural visualization of our money system that bypasses the economic jargon. Kingma spent 2300 hours drawing this map by hand, based on in-depth research and interviews with more than 100 experts––from central bank governors and board members of pension funds and banks to politicians and monetary activists.

In an animated video, we walk you through a metaphorical representation of our money system, its hidden power made manifest.  Only if ordinary citizens develop their own vocabulary to participate in the debate about our money system, can they tell their politicians which kind of ‘financial irrigation system’ they want.

The Waterworks of Money is at the moment exhibited in Kunstmuseum Den Haag, and reproductions can be seen at the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Biennale. For more info, see

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/21/2023 - 21:00

Read More

Continue Reading


Europe “Shaken” By “Islamist Terrorist Attack” In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Europe "Shaken" By "Islamist Terrorist Attack" In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Update (1730ET): French President Emmanuel Macron said…



Europe "Shaken" By "Islamist Terrorist Attack" In Brussels; Shooter Still At Large

Update (1730ET): French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that Europe had been "shaken" by a "terrorist attack" in Brussels, after two Swedes were killed in a shooting.

"A few minutes ago, Brussels was hit again by an Islamist terrorist attack which apparently, as I speak to you, took the lives of at least two other Europeans, two Swedes," Macron said during a visit to Tirana, according to AFP.

Perhaps most ironically, given the comments from various world l;aders about this "terrorist" attack by a muslim man, who recorded a video of himself explaining this was to "avenge the Muslims that have died for their religion", the Belgian prosecuor has issues a statement that there is 'no immediate link to Israel-Hamas'.

“So there has been a claim via social media where someone says he is the perpetrator, that he has sympathies for IS, and what is also important, he mentions the Swedish nationality of those victims,” Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, told the Belgian broadcaster VTM.

“For now, at the current stage of the investigation, there would be no relationship to the conflict in Gaza,” he added.


Belgium’s government crisis center confirmed reports of the killings and asked the public not to share images or videos that might be related to the incident.

As a reminder, Brussels was hit by major Islamic State terrorist attacks in 2016, which left more than 30 people dead and hundreds injured.

*  *  *

Update (1630): Belgium's crisis center has raised Brussels' terror alert status to its highest level, and France was tightening controls at its border with Belgium, France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said.

“Horrified by the terrorist attack which left two victims in the heart of Brussels,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said in a post on the X social media network.

“All necessary means must be mobilized to combat radicalism.”

“We are monitoring the situation and ask the people of Brussels to be vigilant,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a post on X, but appeared to confirm the link to terrorism:

"I have just offered my sincere condolences to the Swedish prime minister following tonight's harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones. As close partners, the fight against terrorism is a joint one."

Additionally, the Euro 2024 soccer qualifier between Belgium and Sweden (taking place in Belgium's national stadium in Brussels) has been abandoned at half-time after the attack, with fans locked in the stadium.

No suspect has yet been arrested.

*  *  *

As Remix News' Thomas Brooke reported, two people have been shot dead and others injured in central Brussels on Monday evening and the perpetrator remains at large, Belgian police have said.

Authorities have confirmed a shooting took place in Ieperlaan at around 7:15 p.m. local time and two people of Swedish nationality were killed.

The victims are understood to have been supporters of the Swedish national football team and were visiting the Belgian capital to attend the European Championship qualifying fixture between the two nations at the Heysel Stadium on Monday evening.

Amateur footage circulating outline showed the perpetrator, dressed in a fluorescent orange jacket and wearing a white helmet, equipped with an assault rifle on the rampage in the city. The suspect arrived at the scene on a scooter before opening fire in the street causing pedestrians to flee into a nearby apartment building.

The man followed those fleeing the scene into the lobby of the residential building before firing several more shots, before returning to his scooter and taking off at speed.

Belgian media reported eyewitness testimony which stated the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.

Additional footage circulating online purports to be a video message recorded in Arabic by the shooter who is wearing the same identifiable clothing following the attack. According to the Sudinfo news outlet, the attacker said his motivation for the mass shooting was to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world and boasted about killing “infidels.”

“In his very violent speech, he said he had shot two people to ‘avenge the Muslims and that we live and die for our religion,'” the news site stated.

The tweet is viewable here but not embeddable...

Crisis meetings have taken place between the Belgian federal police, the Brussels local police, the security services, and Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

Authorities have not yet made an arrest and the suspect remains at large.

This is a developing story...

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 16:15

Read More

Continue Reading


Israel Rejects Zelensky’s Request To Visit: “Now Is Not The Time”

Israel Rejects Zelensky’s Request To Visit: "Now Is Not The Time"

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has been refused his own request to visit Israel…



Israel Rejects Zelensky's Request To Visit: "Now Is Not The Time"

Ukraine's President Zelensky has been refused his own request to visit Israel out of "solidarity" after the Oct. 7 deadly attacks by Hamas, in yet another awkward moment for Kiev.

He was reportedly told by the Netanyahu government that "now is not the time" for such a state visit, according to Hebrew-language media. However, his office was told that there might be a later date for such a visit.

File image, Flash90

Israel's i24News wrote that "The yet unexplained denial of Zelensky’s solidarity visit comes as the U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly expected to visit Israel as soon as Wednesday."

Zelensky had since the start of the new Gaza war issued series of strong statement in support of Israel. "The world must stand united… so that terror does not attempt to take or destroy life anywhere and at any moment," he had said.

He has also claimed that Russia is stoking conflict in the Middle East, also as a way to distract from its operations in Ukraine, but without offering any evidence.

Last Wednesday, Axios reported that "Zelensky's office sent an official request to the Israeli Prime Minister's office asking to coordinate a visit, the Ukrainian and Israeli officials said." 

It seems the pro-Ukraine cause in general, including efforts in Congress and by the Biden administration to keep the billions in aid flowing, has been sapped of its prior enthusiasm and momentum. 

And it's perhaps also the case that Israel perceived that Zelensky is trying to link Ukraine's cause with Israel's as a matter of PR. 

At this moment, a major Israeli full offensive by air and ground appears imminent, though it's been delayed after there was an expectation that it would start this weekend. Some reports have said that bad weather is a factor.

But the Jerusalem Post has offered a different perspective, writing Monday, "Yet, now we have arrived at late Monday, and if anything, the signs (which could also be psychological warfare) are that the invasion is further away, and not yet imminent."

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 17:35

Read More

Continue Reading


Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Authored by Andy Puzder via RealClear Wire,

Former President Trump has held a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics…



Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Authored by Andy Puzder via RealClear Wire,

Former President Trump has held a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics Average of the polls since around September 11. While his lead is well within the margin of error, Democrats find it disconcerting that Biden is struggling against Trump. They have unceasingly berated, twice impeached, and four times indicted Trump, yet his support has grown. But Democrats shouldn’t be surprised. In important respects, Trump has them to thank for the strength of his support.  

There are always a lot of moving pieces in an election and it’s early, but Trump’s current support basically comes from three groups: Those who know, love, and miss him; those who may not miss him but miss 2019’s peace and prosperity; and those who believe Democrats are corrupting our justice system to persecute a political opponent. Since 2020, Democrats have solidified support for Trump with the first two groups to the point where you have to wonder whether it was intentional – and then they literally created the third group.

Democrats have made no effort to convert the Trump diehards – flyover country conservatives who hold traditional views of God, country, and family. Among other derogatory references, Biden has berated these voters as “an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: the MAGA movement.” That would be all those flag-waving Americans at Trump rallies.

After deriding Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” in 2016, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently doubled down, calling them “cult members” who may require “a formal deprogramming.”

Suffice it to say, these voters aren’t going anywhere. They have nowhere to go.

And who doesn’t miss 2019’s low inflation, low interest rates, low unemployment, secure border, urban calm, peace breaking out in the Middle East, and no one seriously contemplating World War III. You get nostalgic just thinking about it. The pandemic paused the momentum, but we could have returned to pre-pandemic levels of peace and prosperity when it ended. In fact, at the end of Trump’s term in office, the economy was poised for a major recovery.

But the Biden administration’s excessive spending, anti-U.S. energy policies, lax border security, and utterly incompetent foreign policy rapidly put an end to all that. You can’t really blame people for wanting a return to the days when lower taxes, reduced regulation, a focus on domestic energy production, and a strong – and competent – foreign policy led to both peace and prosperity. The Democrats have made it patently obvious that those are not their policies – they were Trump’s.

While Democrats deserve significant credit for Trump’s strength with the first two groups of voters, they deserve all the credit for the third. This group only exists because Democrats are prosecuting a political opponent for blatantly political reasons.

No president or former president was ever indicted until this pre-election year when four separate Democrat prosecutors targeted and brought charges of questionable validity against a former president – who also ­­­­­happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president. While experts from both parties have questioned the legal gymnastics employed to pursue these charges, polling indicates that the American people can see through this thin veneer of legitimacy on their own. They know no Democrat would have been criminally charged for what the Democrats claim Trump did. In fact, none have been.

There’s a 24-minute YouTube video of Democrats denying election results without fear of prosecution.

President Biden had top secret documents from his time as VP – which he had no right to possess – sitting in his garage (and elsewhere) without fear of prosecution.

Hillary Clinton’s staff used a software program called “BleachBit,” to wipe data from her computer server containing thousands of government emails she had no right to possess – including top secret emails. FBI Director James Comey said at the time that “[w]hile there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Voters may well wonder whether the rules of reason have changed.

In perhaps the most absurd case, a Trump-hating New York prosecutor, who ran on a promise to target him, is threatening to destroy Trump’s family business for allegedly overstating the value of assets to obtain loans. It is undisputed that the loans were never in default, were paid off in full, and that no lenders have complained they were misled.

Of course they haven’t. Any American who has purchased a home knows it doesn’t matter what you tell the lender you think the home is worth. Banks don’t lend based on the borrower’s assessment of an asset’s value. Banks do an independent appraisal and lend based on their own appraisal.

You don’t have to find Trump a sympathetic figure to know that sacrificing the legitimacy of our judicial system to destroy a political opponent threatens what Biden called “the basic beliefs of our democracy.”

This obvious abuse has also solidified support among Trump’s other supporters, dissuading them from switching to other primary candidate. Some see this as the Democrats’ plan to strengthen Trump in the primaries because they believe he is the candidate they can beat. Personally, I believe the Democrats are driven more by blind hatred at this point than reason. But, if that is their plan, it’s a risky one.

Keep in mind that we elect presidents through the electoral college, not by popular vote. Democrat voters are concentrated in heavily populated urban areas in blue states, driving up the percentage of Democrat votes in those states. But winning 51% of a state’s popular vote produces no more electoral college votes than winning 100%, as losing presidential candidates – but popular vote victors – Al Gore and Hillary Clinton can attest.

So, a tie in the popular vote (as reflected in the current polling) augurs well for Trump’s chances. Combining Trump diehards and those nostalgic for 2019 with voters repulsed by political persecution just might be enough to reelect our 45th president as our 47th. If so, we’ll have some overreaching Democrat prosecutors to thank.

Andrew F. Puzder is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 17:55

Read More

Continue Reading