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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Goldman Sachs as a Destroyer of the Charter of the Forests

There are three wonderful rants against those who would take over the financial system (and much else) from the people of the United States of America and elsewhere.  Noam Chomsky, a linguist and philosopher, describes the Charter of the Forests, a companion charter to the Magna Carta. The goal of the Charter of the Forests is to protect the commons as "the source of sustenance for the population."

He describes the on-going conversion of public goods into private property.  Goldman Sachs set out to partake in this transference from public to private property, first by providing the conditions for fraudulently obtaining the wealth of others and then by demanding payment of the subsequent debt through rents (see here) . 

The Charter is being violated when the natural environment is treated as collateral damage in order to satisfy private avarice.  Chomsky decries "the...shredding of the principles of the Magna Carta" and the destruction of the Charter of the Forests:

Tomgram:  Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours
By Noam Chomsky - TomDispatch
 . . . .
The significance of the companion charter, the Charter of the Forest, is no less profound and perhaps even more pertinent today -- as explored in depth by Peter Linebaugh in his richly documented and stimulating history of Magna Carta and its later trajectory.  The Charter of the Forest demanded protection of the commons from external power.  The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life.  The forest was no primitive wilderness.  It had been carefully developed over generations, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations -- practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world.

The Charter of the Forest imposed limits to privatization.  The Robin Hood myths capture the essence of its concerns (and it is not too surprising that the popular TV series of the 1950s, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” was written anonymously by Hollywood screenwriters blacklisted for leftist convictions).  By the seventeenth century, however, this Charter had fallen victim to the rise of the commodity economy and capitalist practice and morality.

With the commons no longer protected for cooperative nurturing and use, the rights of the common people were restricted to what could not be privatized, a category that continues to shrink to virtual invisibility.  
. . . .

In his State of the Union speech in January, President Obama hailed the bright prospects of a century of energy self-sufficiency, thanks to new technologies that permit extraction of hydrocarbons from Canadian tar sands, shale, and other previously inaccessible sources.  Others agree.  The Financial Times forecasts a century of energy independence for the U.S.  The report does mention the destructive local impact of the new methods.  Unasked in these optimistic forecasts is the question what kind of a world will survive the rapacious onslaught.
Read the entire essay here 


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