By Basil Gala, Ph.D.
In Search of Meaning
Human societies have used coins as tokens for commercial transactions thousands of years before Christ. Kings minted coins, often from valuable metals such as gold or silver, stamped with the royal mug. Paper money came later in China with the printing press invention and since then the presses have been running furiously. My mother never trusted paper money. I can understand my mother’s feelings. When her Greek family escaped from Turkey in the war of 1922, they had gold coins covered with cloth as buttons on their clothes. When silver coins were circulating in the United States, my mother’s savings account was a bag with silver dollars, quarters, and dimes. We laughed about this quirk of hers until the government took the silver coins out of circulation and, almost overnight, the contents of her bag became very valuable. She gave all the silver coins to friends as gifts and kept a box with copper pennies, which I inherited from my mother when she died and I still possess. Copper is now appreciating rapidly. You see, money is the source of evil as much as fire, knives, or the wheel are sources of evil.
Money has many uses, good and bad. You can feed daughters and sons with your cash, or your addictions, like overeating, drug use, laziness, or greed. In my life of three quarters of a century, I have been rich and I have been poor; being poor was not so bad for me being of a philosophical bend, provided I had enough to eat and a place to sleep. Rich was better; I was somewhat happier having money to spare. Money sufficient for our needs is very good to have.
Coin money in particular is valuable for deciding things when we cannot make up our minds: we toss a coin: heads you lose, tales, I win. Coins come in a great variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. Collectors drive up the price of rare coins in mint condition. A silver dollar is now many times the value of a paper dollar. A gold coin is even better. Years ago when gold was at $250 an ounce I bought a golden eagle, which is now worth $800. I had planned to buy more coins, but I found other uses for my dollars, such as raising two daughters; their value appreciated also.
The largest coins are the rai, made in Micronesia by Yap islanders from limestone quarries on Palau. The rai were made with a hole in the middle to carry them with a pole. Once transported to Yap they stayed in one place and only the ownership changed after a business transaction; not surprising, since the largest rai could be 10 feet in diameter and weigh 8,000 pounds. Once when two chiefs tossed a rai to decide who would lead an expedition, the loser was thoroughly crushed.
Our own chiefs, charming political leaders, elected or self-anointed, and their government officials like to play certain games with your money. One of their favorite games is inflation. Your great leader promised to cut your taxes and provide you with more government services, grants, projects, subsidies, or welfare. So your leader pressures the central bank to print more currency and ease credit to pay for the government’s generosities. The result is a larger national debt, or inflation: more paper currency chasing fewer goods, driving prices up.
If you complain too much about the higher prices, you leader orders a price freeze and you end up with a scarcity of goods because companies can’t make a profit making them. Of course, goods are available on what politicians like to call “the black market.” Such a market is a free market where goods are traded fairly and a market which pays enough to produce things at a profit.
Inflation is what happens to paper money, as opposed to gold, when a government prints too much of it, a very bad thing for the economy, when prices rise up and run away from the money. Inflation can happen to a currency of gold too, if much gold is unearthed to trade for the products on sale; but that has happened rarely in the past. Now, if some day someone can transmute iron into gold in a nuclear furnace, your gold coins would become about as valuable as the quarters we now use in a commercial laundry.
I remember the runaway inflation of World War II in Greece at the end of the Nazi occupation. Bills of drachmas had a 1 followed by a string of zeros that ran off the edge of the paper. You needed a bag of bills to buy a package of cigarettes. The town where my family lived at that time had tobacco factories. So people switched to a cigarette currency. Single cigarettes were like pennies, packs like dollars, and cartons like twenties. We went to market with a bag full of cigarettes and returned home with bread, butter, and beans.
Today your officials in the United States allow for a small rate of inflation of two or three percent, judged by them to be benign. Their theory is that some inflation stimulates spending and keeps the economy moving. It’s like a tax on the money you hide under your mattress or in a jar. No wonder learned economists chastise us Americans for saving so little of our income compared to other nations like the Japanese. If you decide to bank your savings, you are earning four or five percent in interest, which is taxable. So, with bank savings you lose some money to inflation and some to income tax, thereby just breaking even. Your bank lends the money out to other people, who go ahead and buy what they want with it, while you have deferred gratification.
The more affluent among us defer spending, save, and invest. The poor do the opposite: a family in the United States with an income of less than $20,000 a year is officially poor, requiring tax breaks, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies. The lifestyles of our poor would be the envy of most people in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, or Haiti. Most of the world’s people are poor by our government’s definition or any other standard, thus deserving our help and protection. Jesus blessed the poor and admonished his rich followers to give all they possessed to the poor and follow in his path. He said something to the effect that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Not many rich took Jesus’ advice then, after Jesus passed on, or in our days. What’s so great about the poor anyway? To me the poor appear to be stupid, lazy, filthy, unhealthy, and weak of will. Worst of all, the poor have little money, and they are unlucky: they picked poor parents.
Moreover, the poor are promiscuous, with more teenage pregnancies, frequently living in sin, and begetting more brats than the rest of us. Of course, they have more childhood deaths from disease and malnutrition than affluent people. That is, until Bill Gates and other rich people begin providing free inoculations and meals. In history, when the U.S. took over Puerto Rico from the Spanish, Americans drained the swamps and provided health care. Thereby, the Puerto Rican population exploded, but fortunately there was room for them in New York City, meaning there was work for them in the garment factories, restaurants, and hotels.
Which leads us to the conclusion that we need the poor to produce workers; that’s why we have so many illegal immigrants from South of the Border. Where would we find the workers for our kitchens, yards and factories to serve the wealthy here in America? Sure, we can import manufactured products from China and India, but what about local services, such as construction, cleaning, gardening, nursing, auto repairing, and cooking? God forbid, we would have to do all this labor with our own hands. Our poor could do this work, but they are content collecting welfare. Therefore, we employ illegal immigrants (they are generally simpatico), but we squawk about them crossing the border to come to us, instead of waiting two centuries for their immigration papers. Our Latino workers will be fine as long as they remain illegal, but once they get citizenship and go on welfare, we’re back to square one.
Let’s look at a little history of poverty. JFK waged war on the moon, Cuba, and nearly the Soviet Union, but LBJ, who followed him as Chief Democrat, fought an undeclared war in Viet Nam and an open War on Poverty. LBJ’s idea was to eradicate poverty by throwing money at the poor. Now, granted that the sufferings of the poor rouse our pity and compassion, that the poor are less likely to riot when they are handed cash, that some poor were victims of social injustice, and granted that all men (and women) are created equal (so scribbled Jefferson) and given the vote, why would you feed the poor and expect to have fewer of them? Again, granted that the poor are human beings deserving our respect, not insects, but if roaches took up residence in your house, would you lay out food for them? La cucaracha, la cucaracha!
LBJ’s great social experiment failed after government had thrown a great many dollars in the winds of his wars, rapidly increasing U. S. debt and bringing on a wave of inflation and economic stagnation to bedevil Jimmy Carter. Fortunately, our Puritan ethics prevailed again during the Reagan years. The country went back to work, industry unleashed from regulations surged ahead, we stayed out of major conflicts, and profit incentives did their miracle to boost technology, bringing prosperity back. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. cut back on defense expenditures, enjoying a peace dividend during the Clinton presidency. Then we got the dotcom boom and the bust, the Bush tax cuts, 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, the money spigots opening wide, careening real estate and the economy on a roller coaster. With much less weight, dollars were flying in the winds again.
The value of dollars is set by the Central Bank of the United States which issues currency for money at the Mint, manages credit and money with the Federal Reserve Board, a powerful Chairman at the helm. In 2008, Ben Bernanke was the Chairman, and before him Alan Greenspan, the Oracle of the Board, and before him Paul Volcker, appointed by President Carter, and serving continuously under Reagan. The appointment to the chair of the FRB is for four years and thus the chair is said to be independent of the current administration. Yeah, but the administration has influence over the FRB. Volcker was a strong money guy and brutally slammed the breaks on the money wagon in 1980, letting interest rates go over 18%. The economy went into a tailspin for about six months. Before the election, Volcker had pressed on the money gas for a while, and I was able to sell my real estate in California and invest in Oregon property. So much for the independence of the FRB!
After Reagan was elected, Volcker stepped on the breaks again; we got a double-dip recession in 1981. Oregon went into depression, and after struggling with my properties in that state for a few years, I went belly up. In 1985 I returned to California to scratch for money in real estate where I had made my money in the first place, and real estate went booming again in California–until 1991. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed, the Federal government closed many military bases in California and much of the defense industry shut down. Property prices dropped as much as 50%; now California real estate was in depression. I thanked President George Bush (the father) and Alan Greenspan for making me poor again, and I began to concentrate on my spiritual growth.
I was among the blessed poor until 1996 when California real estate picked up again and I started making some lovely money. Like most people, I like money–all kinds of money. How many kinds of money are there? First, there is M0, which is cash in circulation. Second, we have demand deposits, M1, such as checking accounts. You write a check and if your balance can cover it, it’s money to the recipient. Otherwise, the check is known as rubber. As the young girl said to her father, “Dad, don’t worry. I have money.” And she pointed to a bunch of blank checks. What followed was the $110 pizza she ordered: $10 for the pizza itself, plus $25 charged by the pizza parlor, plus $25 debited by her bank, plus $50 when the check was re-deposited by the pizzeria.
After check money, we have M2, sometimes called near money, because you can access it quickly, such as bonds, stocks, certificates of deposit, etc. Basically, money is any token used in an exchange, legal or not. A token is a signal between people allowing a transaction. It can be a debit or credit in a computer system. Debit is money charged to your account; something like a debt. Credit is an allowance you can draw upon to spend, or simply income earned or given to you. M0, M1, and M2 combined are called M3.
Now I shall go beyond these customary money abbreviations. Plastic money, credit cards, is M4. When I was in college, cigarette companies passed out little packets of cigarettes to students for free; these days, banks pass out credit cards to college students. If you have equity in your home (value after the mortgage due is deducted) you can convert that to cash; that’s M5. Hey, have your grandparents left you a trust fund to draw on for a college education, or a secure income, because they loved you but thought you were an idiot? You can borrow on your trust fund and spend the money all at once; that’s M6. Do you have wealthy relatives aging fast and going gaga? You can pressure them to bequeath some of their money to you now, M7. Have you got good paper and a color copier? Counterfeit money is M8. Do you possess a kilo of cocaine? That is worth thousands of dollars on the street, M9. Can you get hold of a gun and are you willing to use it? You have M10.
No need for you to sneer at M10 money. The Spaniard came to America for M10 with sword and musket, getting tons of gold in exchange for the Catholic religion. Spain became the richest and most powerful European nation until the rise of the English. Financed by Elizabeth the Great, Sir Francis Drake raided the Spanish galleons, pirating their gold cargoes. He made himself and his Queen rich, and received great honors as a privateer.
If you don’t like violent M10, consider M11 which you get with deft fingers, stolen money; or begging money, M12: “Daddy, do you love me?” “Of course, I love you, darling.” “Daddy, lend me $20 for the movies tonight.” On the street: “Sir, my car is out of gas. Can you spare a few dollars so I can get home?”
Finally, we have OPM, other people’s money, or M13. If you can solicit well money from investors, philanthropists, or taxes, you can create piles of M13, a very liquid form of money, easily spent on six-thousand dollar shower curtains, fancy charity balls, fabulous vacations, private jets, and other jaunts.
Even time is money, said Ben Franklin; true if people are working to produce or market goods and services in the time available to them. Forget that dictum if people are chatting around the water cooler, or gossiping with friends instead of working. Fame is money too, and so is notoriety. You can convert it to money by publishing your story, making guest appearances, or endorsing products; so don’t knock the paparazzi. Call fame M14. Monica Lewinsky got a million dollars for her book on the fine art of cigar making for Bill Clinton; but Clinton got even more M14 for his memoirs, and so did Dick Nixon, whom we don’t have around to kick any more.
Lastly, political or military office and connections are readily convertible to money, M15. Profit in politics is not strictly from graft, although that is the case in many countries, especially in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia. In the U.S., officials earn a modest salary when in service, but after leaving their posts, companies pay them high fees or salaries to manage their affairs, taking advantage of the knowledge and the connections ex-officials possess; ex-officials make excellent lobbyists.
Besides different kinds of money we also have high or low velocities of money. Sometimes money circulates very fast, other times very slowly. When you put cash under your mattress, you take something out of the speed of money. When you spend money right after you get it, then you give it an extra boost in speed, increasing the number of transactions in the economy. People will spend money quickly when money is losing value, as in an inflationary period, thus making inflation worse by effectively boosting the money supply. When consumers become pessimistic about their finances and their jobs, they pull in their horns, spend less, and velocity drops. In effect, any delay by anybody in making a transaction reduces the flow of money and economic activity. A drop in economic activity in a recession tends to feed on itself, because the quantity of money and its velocity both go down. A professor talking about the velocity of money to a young blond at a gathering got this response: “I can understand that,” she gushed. “Money simply flies out of my purse.”
When the quantity and velocity of money go down in the business cycle, producers lower their prices, stores have fire sales, and consumers go shopping for bargains, boosting the economy again.
With the economy growing, jobs are plentiful, profits and wages go up, people are confident, spending freely. Economic expansion leads to money growth, and money growth leads to more economic expansion; so economic boom times feed on themselves causing a greater boom, an economic bubble. People buy more stocks and property; they borrow more money to buy more assets, and as profits come in, people spend or give to their spouses to spend part of their income. Eventually some people decide it’s time to sell assets, locking in their profits, and the stage is set for markets to decline precipitously and for a recession. Now contraction begins again in the money supply and the economy. Hold your breath or start screaming: the roller coaster is going down.
Money going down or up, for some people either case is an opportunity for profit. Money guys place their bets cleverly, perpetually piling up wealth. Inevitably, money accumulates in the hands of a few families in the country, who also hold the power, the fame, and the influence. If a government were to seize everybody’s assets, distribute wealth equally to all adults, and leave things alone, the money and power would be back in the hands of the same people in one generation or sooner, so it happened in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is because the same cleverly acquisitive people will work hard, save, invest cooperate, and deal advantageously; the vast majority of those who get government largess blow their cash on instant gratifications and other idiocies, getting back to where they started financially.
The concentration of money, in the hands of the few, is it good or bad for our nation? It depends on what sort of people the chosen few are. Power and wealth may corrupt, or may enlighten. Great culture has sprung from the hands of the noble rich, guided by philosopher lords, such as those of the Golden Age of Greece or the Italian Renaissance. Sometimes wealth simply leads to crass displays and degradation. “The rich are different from us,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was much impressed by great wealth. “Yes,” responded Ernest Hemingway with a smile, “the rich have more money.”
The rich get richer and the poor, poorer, until the revolution comes and a new government starts soaking the rich with taxes and distributing the proceeds to the poor with cash grants, food stamps, health care, housing, or unemployment benefits. Such a social program does not work, because then successful people move to other countries with their assets and money, the super rich bank in the Bahamas and other tax havens, poor people become lazy and riotous. The middle class is left to shoulder the burden of heavy taxes, becoming discouraged, apathetic, and ready to quit work to join in the handouts. Inflation ensues after productivity has dropped; and the nation, which was once prosperous, becomes impoverished. Hurrah for socialism!
No, dump socialism and let those who earn good money with their efforts, spend it as they wish, levying on them only those taxes necessary for defense, infrastructure, education with training, and policing. Money earned by anybody is spent one way or another and circulates out to those who provide useful services or goods.
A myriad of goods are available to every person willing to make them or sell them to those who possess money, including the inexhaustible resources of human imagination, thus rewarding the smart worker, circulating money, and creating new money or credit. You see, production of goods comes first, then selling and money creation. Thus a society that trains and encourages all the people to produce more goods and better goods will grow and benefit all. The big producers will have an excess of cash which they will invest and re-invest, as long as they save the excess, to build new plants, offices, farms, and R & D facilities. What is not consumed can be exported, earning more wealth for the nation. If people produce instead too many offspring, which they are unable to train well for high-wage jobs, their nation is left with too many young mouths to feed, and hungry mouths are attached to bodies that pick up guns to slaughter others, as is the case in some African, South American, and Middle Eastern countries.
I have been railing here with derision against the poor and poverty itself as a condition of life; yet, I am willing to accept poverty as an ideology, willingly undertaken by some individuals who want to be free to pursue spiritual, scientific, artistic, or philosophical ends. I think of the case of the Greek Cynic and ascetic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who lived happily in a tub, wanting only to sit in front of his home to enjoy the sunlight, meditating. An admiring Alexander the Great in youth came between Diogenes and the sun and asked the old man what he could do for him. “Stand out of my light,” answered Diogenes.
Another philosopher, and scientist, of ancient Greece, Thales of Miletus lived simply and solved astronomical problems, but I suppose too many people teased him with, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” So one year around 600 BC, Thales predicted the weather and the harvest for olives to be excellent. Leasing all the olive presses in Miletus for the season, he showed his townspeople he could enrich himself with his intelligence.
The Buddha’s father was a king and a wealthy merchant was the father of St. Francis of Assisi, but their sons donned clothes of beggars and went to the streets to preach their faith.
Vincent van Gogh lived in dire poverty his entire life of 37 years, while creating masterpieces of painting, each traded for many millions of dollars today. In his life, van Gogh managed to sell one piece of art from his prodigious output for a few francs to buy painting supplies.
Van Gogh was Dutch, a people generally very respectful of money, as are the Jews. After so many centuries of being persecuted in Europe where they sought refuge, Jews have learned the value of money for their survival. Highly portable money like silver, gold, diamonds, all were most useful for bribing officials and escaping to America. In the United States, Jews make up about 2% of the population, but they are one third of all millionaires, earning the highest income of any other ethnic group. I say, more power to them: Jews give to charity, support the arts and sciences, and supply major talents in law, medicine, science, and business; and if an alcoholic writer needs a quick loan, he can always find a Jewish pawnbroker nearby to hock his notebook computer for a bottle or two of his favorite escape. Pawnshop loans are expensive, but they don’t compare with loans an unlucky gambler may get from his friendly Mafia loan shark. Loan sharks lend at 10% or more interest (called juice) each week, and if the unfortunate gambler doesn’t pay back the principal when due, he is likely to find one of his legs bending at an impossible angle; thus, both good and evil flow from money.
Like organized crime, capitalism concentrates money or credit in private hands. Capitalism, however, applies this money like stored energy to productive purposes in serving the needs of those able to buy goods. Capital is backed by physical resources available for large projects of production. The pyramid builders of Egypt could not have created these marvelous tourist sights to bury their Pharaohs without the necessary grains from the Nile valley in granaries to feed the workers. Money is a fictional character with the magic of creation only when backed by real stuff like land, oil, energy, food, minerals, etc. Do capitalists exploit the poor workers, paying them meager wages for bare survival, while owners of the money, investors, enrich themselves more with fat profits? No, it is not so in a free society, where workers can go to another company for employment, where companies compete for valuable employees and profits with other businesses, and people can travel freely to the best jobs for which they are trained. Only an autocratic or socialistic government can enslave people by forbidding them to compete and to move from place to place where the opportunities are. The people who save, accumulate, and invest their money in enterprises create the opportunities for employment for those who have not done so.
In this connection, consider the parable of talants or talents, a story told by Jesus, where a master gave to a servant five talents, to another servant two talents, and to a third servant one talent, a large silver or gold coin representing wages for 6,000 days of labor. The servants who got the five and two talents invested the money and returned the talents to their master with interest, but the third servant buried the money in the ground and returned only the one talent to the master. The master severely punished that silly servant. Well, this was a story about spiritual values, but it applies to crass old money too. If a person does not to invest, that person goes to the outer darkness and misery of poverty.
Not so in America where we have the privilege hearing from preachers who praise money to heaven, thanks to our Calvinist traditions. Churches generally support the accumulation of wealth. The faithful contribute more to the church coffers with their tithes. The Mormon Church gets 10% of the earnings from each member, who is often successful in business, in spite of producing a large family, for the growth and glory of the Church. Lay preachers like Napoleon Hill, the success guru from the thirties, declared God wants us to be rich, and we can all be rich by visualizing wealth, seeking our vision with strong desire and persistent action.
Others have pursued the idea that money is evil or unnecessary and should be abolished. This happens in the science fiction series of Star Trek, where money has no value; only information has value. Given the right information, super computers in the Enterprise can synthesize any material: gold, diamonds, gourmet dishes. For some time, people have objected to the production of currency by a central bank, with most money reserves ending up in the coffers of a few powerful men or women. As a substitute to money we have been offered Ithaca Hours, of Ithaca, New York: one Ithaca Hour is worth about $10, the cost of labor for one hour, issued to members who have joined the exchange group. This is a form of local currency, similar to the Freigeld (free money in German) to be used locally, bearing an expiration date like food, so that it is passed on to others promptly. Such money makes some exchanges possible, but a brain surgeon is unlikely to accept it for his services.
Ultimately, everything depends on human ingenuity and labor to give it value; even land, sea, and space must be defended by men and women to protect the riches they hold. Jacob in the Old Testament, son of Isaac, worked for seven years to win the hand of Rachel, his cousin, tending flocks of animals for his uncle Laban. But Laban deceived him and gave him his eldest daughter Leah in marriage. Well, Jacob labored another seven years for Rachel, but in the end he was rewarded with twelve sons from his two wives and two concubines, who sired the twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob was a hell of a worker, but where did he get all this energy? I am exhausted just reading about it. Those ancient men had powerful seeds, but not so the ancient women; the women were like the earth to be plowed.
I digress; this is a story about money. Most nations like to print their own fiat money, governments exchanging paper for goods, raising the money supply to stimulate the economy or lowering it to curb inflation. For trading among nations the U. S. dollar rules, the world’s reserve currency since WWII; the euro is catching up as of this writing, with more euros in circulation than dollars. Nations can fix the exchange rate for their currency versus the dollar or let the currency float in the money markets. China pegs the yuan low to boost exports, but that causes inflation in China because of the higher cost of imports and the rapid growth of the economy. If you can master out the intricacies of currency exchange, you can become a billionaire, like George Soros, born in 1930 Hungary, as GyÖrgy Schwartz. You can then turn to philanthropy.
The key to success in currency exchange is to believe the opposite of what your government asserts. If officials say the dollar will remain strong, you can be sure it will weaken. Act accordingly.
A currency is strong, going up, or weak, going down in exchanges, depending on the success of the issuing nation in trade with other countries. If we work hard and efficiently, selling more stuff to other countries than they sell to us, the dollar will appreciate. Again, in a free world market, the dollar will fall when we import more than we export, which has been the case for the U.S. for some years now. Wealth has been flowing out of our country to Japan, China, Europe, and the oil producing nations. In theory, as the dollar drops, we should be exporting more to equalize trade, provided we produce things other countries want to buy from us. In turns out, most countries really want our debt and our assets, not our products so much. So, keep on borrowing and buying America.
In America now and in the past, money tended to cluster in certain large cities, not villages. In ancient Greece, that was Athens. In Renaissance Italy, wealth flourished in Florence, Venice, Milan, and Rome. Later on, Midas settled in Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna. Today, we have major centers of finance in London, New York, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. It is no coincidence that culture flourishes in places of high finance. Money is an essential but not a sufficient ingredient to high culture. Creative people need money to live, survive, and create those things of culture we value greatly which are not necessities for the masses. A milieu of refined people of rank, finance, and good taste, sons and daughters of Pericles, are required to provide the means for cultural growth.
For economic growth in the world, we would do better with one currency instead of many. The benefits for trade and financial stability would be great with money in the hands of a World Reserve Bank, run by a staff of competent, wise, impartial, and expert officials. Some economists argue against a world currency, that it would not allow a nation to raise or lower the money supply as needed for the nation. Yes, and that would be a good thing, freeing money from the manipulations of politicians. Thus the euro was established and has been become valuable and stable over the years, although Italy and other countries complain about its strength. Basically, we have no universal currency, although it makes sense, as we don’t have a world government and peace among nations. It is time for the G8 group, and others, such as China and India, to institute such a currency, let’s call it the talent, to promote free trade further, eliminating any remaining artificial barriers. At this time, the closest thing to universal money is the U.S. dollar, the closest to a world government is the U.S. officialdom, the closest to a universal language is English, and the closest to a universal religion is the Unitarian Church. But we cannot count on the supremacy of the U. S. to continue, challenged as it is by Europe, Russia, China, India, and the Muslim countries.