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Konferencja 2013 - część 2/4

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. Hello everyone. Dariusz Brzozowiec Today I am going to have the pleasure to talk about the topic imposed by the organizers namely ‘Is 2013 going to be the end of the usury era?' I have been dealing with interest free economic systems for 10 years. (Can you please turn on the projector?) After 10 years of working with different people clients and taking part in various conferences I have come to the conclusion so evident in our social life which is the fact that our society does not understand what ‘usury’ actually means. What is ‘usury’? Is it the latest parliamentary topic discussed by our parliament in reference to the act that is supposed to protect bank clients against excessive interest rate or is it the biblical ban to have any profits from lending money to someone. If you ask the question to your friends or family today they do not seem to be able to provide you the answer. Or if they give you any information it is rather vague. According to its definition, usury is any interest rate put on the loan.What does it have in common with our economy? As an introduction I would like to quote, one of the leaders of an alternative economic movement the author of “The Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity’, (you can find information on this on our educational and informational website www.barter.org.pl) It's a very interesting person.Bernard Lietaer is the ex CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the European Central Bank he was the manager of the team that implemented the convergence mechanism to the single European currency system that after 4 years turned into Euro, the currency that is now being discussed in Poland; Should it be introduced into Poland? If so when? In one of his numerous articles Bernard Lietaer emphasized that money is created by banks out of nothing. Since the Bretton Woods Conference in the 1970s money value is no longer based on gold ingots. Money is produced in the form of banknotes that are launched onto the market. launched onto the market as a debt. So a client comes to lend a $100 000 to buy a flat or a house, signs a contract with a bank that within 20 years they will pay back $200 000 with the interest rate. The problem is that the extra $100 000 is not created by the bank so it does not really exist on the market At this point of my explanation most of the audience seems to be confused so I would like to explain it with another example. Imagine that on the Polish market a certain amount of money in the form of coins and banknotes is circulated. The value of the money in circulation is X this is the amount that on daily basis is published by the National Bank of Poland. During the last year Poles have spent around 200 billion PLN on mortgages. So they went to banks and took 200 billion PLN and bought properties for the lent money. Within next 20 years they will have to pay back much more but the money is not on the market. Within the first year 10% out of the 200 billion will be subtracted from the X value of the money on the market. If it is explained through parameters it will mean that the money from the mortgage interest coming to banks is actually money circulating on the market in the meantime banks are still offering new loans as it is a continuous process and we come to the point when all the money on the market is someone’s debt. Even if you have 100 PLN in your wallet or there is a 1000 PLN or 10 000 PLN in your saving account it means the money is yours but at the same time the money is someone else’s debt. Banks do not really create money they later expect to get back and the result is catastrophic getting deeper and deeper into debts through the interest system refers to the whole civilized world – Poland is no exception here. The whole Europe and most of you must have heard about the infinite American national debt which is an amount of money impossible to be paid back. Here you have the answer to how it happened. The debt cannot be paid as such an amount of money does not physically exist on the market. However, the obligation to pay the money back is a form of oppression and reign. Every four year we choose our government to control the situation. We put our future into their hands. Those people come onto the political stage for four years to find themselves in serious troubles since as a government they owe their nation a lot of money. It needs to be marked that the government’s only source of income is taxes. As a result the taxes are constantly being multiplied and consequently the nation that chose the politicians is oppressed. Who is actually in control? The government that imposes the taxes to generate the missing money or is it the institution to which we, as a nation, owe the money? Sarcastically, we will never be able to pay back the money. Ever. As the saying goes, if you are a debtor you will not bite the hand that fed you earlier. This is the reason why in some religions and particularly in the three major monotheistic religions the interest rate from the loans was forbidden. If you refer to the Quran it is clearly stated that taking an interest rate on the money lent to your brother is a sin. It is a fundamental sin. The Bible (as we are a mono-religious country everybody knows what the Bible is) states the same. It is not allowed since money that is supposed to be paid in interest rates is money that does not really exist on the market thus it generates scarcity economy on the market. The 100 000 PLN that comes onto the market from interest rates does stabilize the market though only for a very short period of time. In the long run the situation drastically deteriorates as more and more money should be paid due to more loans taken yet the money still does not exist on the market. Once you have taken a bank loan you signed an obligation to the bank to return the money with the proper interest rate. According to this particular economy it means that to return your debt you will have to take the money away from someone else who will not be able to return it. This information somehow is neglected and overlooked by most of our and western society. You cannot find it in economic magazines though you will find it in the Bible that is a much older interpretation of economy. You will not find this topic on economic forums. Occasionally, single opinions try to point out that this particular system is the system of scarcity and is more than likely going to take us to the chasm. Why? Here is another example. I remember an experiment described by some of my colleagues in which 10 mice were locked in a laboratory. During a month the mice were conditioned that every morning an assistant would come and would pour 10 crumbs of bread for the 10 mice. Each mouse would pick its morsel of food, sit in the corner and eat its part. However, after a month one morning the assistant poured 9 pieces of bread for the 10 mice. As a result 9 mice got their piece of bread and ate it as usually while one mouse was frustrated. The following day the same assistant poured 8 pieces of bread for the 10 mice. What happened? 8 mice got the bread, the one frustrated the day before got more depressed and the mouse that didn’t get the food for the first time was frustrated. The following morning the 10 mice got 7 crumbs of bread. The mouse that had not eaten for three days, grabs the food from another mouse, making it frustrated. The mouse that hadn’t eaten the previous day for the first time followed the example of the first mouse and threw itself onto another mouse’s food. At that very moment all the mice started fighting for food, including the ones that had eaten the previous day. This mechanism also functions in economy. I allow myself to make statements concerning economy as I am not an expert in the discipline and I am glad I’m not as economy is not an exact science. It is more of psychology and sociology and the mouse experiment can easily be applied to the reality we are all living in. Is it not true that most of your friends do not have time for the important discussions like the one we have had here today morning just because they are busy earning money? Is it also the case that most of your friends spend more than 8 hours as they start to work overtime only to pay their bills? Is it not so? As a nation we are living in the 21st country, in the heart of Europe, being the member of EU and being perceived as one of the countries that have not suffered much from the consequences of the global crisis. (By the way, the very mechanism of interest rate loans caused the crisis.) In the meantime 25% of children at Polish schools are suffering from malnutrition according to the data provided by GUS (Central Statistical Office). So are we really getting richer? I am afraid, we are not really. We can be likened to the mice that fight for the insufficient amount of food on the table. And this is the very mechanism that most of the people among my friends, family and people I talk to, cannot really understand. Economy that is based on interest rate, regardless of the amount of interest, is doomed to fail. If the interest rate is low the process will take a bit longer, if it is high the process will be faster. People are not aware of the situation and cannot understand that we all live in the frames of this mechanism. A problem of making ends meet appears at the end of each month when bills need to be paid. This combined with the increasing demand for consumption (you buy a new car, furniture, shoes etc.) It leads to the situation where as population we buy more and more goods that we do not need for the money that we do not have in order to impress the ones we dislike. Is it not so? When you look around you will find such reactions among your friends. It does sound funny to you and me though to be honest it is really a terrible mechanism in which we live nowadays. The above conclusions lead us to another quotation by Bernard Lietaer, who quit banking as soon as he had discovered the mechanism. Right now he is a lecturer at the University of Economics in Lauwe (25 km from Brussels) and an activist as for interest free finance. Let’s have a look: We would be able to generate more than sufficient amount of food feed the whole world and certainly there is sufficient amount of work to hire all the people all over the world. However, there would not be sufficient amount of money to pay for that. When you look at the situation around you and watch the news on the television, you will realize that the main effect of the global crisis is the disappearance of money. Even though we have not been in a state of war, there have been no natural disasters such as an earthquake or meteorite collision, the year 2012 is still ahead of us and still there is a global crisis as a consequence of the money that disappeared following the above mentioned mechanism. The money disappeared as someone took the real money.But people still have to pay it back. A characteristic feature of a financial crisis is that money disappears while everything else is available. For instance, imagine a Polish cow may not even know anything about the crisis, it will still provide a lot of milk but there will be no one to buy the milk from the farmer and even if there is someone to buy it there is no money to pay for it. So we come to the point in which financial system that was supposed to serve society to make their lives better than a traditional barter in which an axe could literally be exchanged for a carrot, a piece of cheese for a piece of a cow so we replaced the traditional barter with money. With this social agreement rather than buy the whole wagon of wheat as an exchange for a cow it is more suitable to find another socially agreed on form of exchange, money. Unfortunately, the Phoenicians are still believed to be ‘guilty’ of introducing monetary system. This is not true as the Phoenicians did not introduce the money that we use nowadays.They didn't invent ' fiat money'. What they invented was closer to our present barter system than to the idea of paying debts with interest rates. Do you know the story of the Phoenicians? The problem the Phoenicians had to face was storage of wheat. Pharaoh came up with an idea that he would have granaries built. Anyone afraid of losing their crops due to rain, theft, moulds or mice could bring wheat to the Pharaoh who had it securely kept under the supervision of guards. For ten bags of wheat a ‘voucher’ or ‘receipt’ was given to confirm that the person had their wheat stored in the granary. It turned out to be a great way for the exchange of goods. There was no requirement to take the sacks of wheat to the market to exchange them for something else. The ‘vouchers’ served as a form of payment as they were easier to carry around. So the Phoenicians did not invent the empty money that had no cover or that the only cover it has is the government’s obligation to impose taxes on the citizens that would pay the debt in future. Their financial system was fully covered by the wheat stored. So as you can see the story was a little different with the Phoenicians and actually up to certain stage in history money always had an equivalent value in goods. Nowadays, however, there is no such cover. Exept our government promises that the money will be returnd. Looking back at the quotation you realize that in the present world the financial system no longer serves the people but paradoxically, it is the people who serve the system. We have come to the total reverse. As a result it is not the dog that wags its tail but the tail wags the dog. Something is wrong then. The mechanism has its roots in the basis of the problem connected with present economy. For some of us it is evident that this type of economy is not going to survive. As a matter of fact the beginning of the end of this particular economy has just started. When will it end? It is hard to predict though it may not be before 2012 Something new will happen then though. It will be replaced by new systems that may be referred to as barter ones. In some of the countries barter refers to the local currency. Local currency should not be confused with the ‘local money’ as the one you might have heard about coins being produced in Łeba Called "dukaty Łebskie" The coins produced in Łeba are more like the chips in a casino. In a casino you still need the national money to purchase the chips which you can use and then again exchange for the national money. It is not local currency. What is local currency then? Local currency is a social agreement in which people accept another form of payment than the obligatory currency. As at present it is Polish Złoty that is an obligatory form of payment in our country if everybody agrees to use something else, then the other thing will be referred to as money. The most drastic example of this definition is the one you all know. In prison cigarettes are local currency. Cigarettes function as currency. There are different nations with different money equivalents such as poor Polynesian tribes that up till today use shells as their currency. The history of Europe, including Poland is a history of salt as currency. A sack of salt functioned as money. If you go to a guided trip to Wieliczka in Cracow ou will have a chance to learn from the guide how it happened that salt was used as money. Thus we may say money is a kind of a social agreement that defines what we are going to use as currency. In barter systems, systems of local currency, the equivalent is a barter Złoty which is an entry in the books of accounts in the value of the national currency. I have been working in a barter-system for 10 years where people pay using a barter złoty which is an entry in their books of accounts. The currency does not physically exist. There is no printed banknotes, however, you need to know that on the map of Europe, in Germany, there is a project known as ‘Regiogeld’ (information on that can be found on the Internet) conducted by a Margrit Kennedy well-known in the world of local systems where they actually print their local currency. Theoretically, such a situation should be impossible. Somehow it still functions and it is all happening now and the world around you is changing whether you believe it or not. It is worth noticing that Switzerland is believed to be one of the richest countries in geographical Europe (as it is not the part of EU). Everyone knows Swiss banks and how wealthy the country is. Maybe it is not just the banks and the affluence of its treasury that is the reason the nation’s wealth. As you all know the currency used in Switzerland is Swiss Franc known as CHW in the banking system. Do you know what CHW stands for? Actually Switzerland has two official types of currency, Swiss Franc which at some stage became a very cheap currency in interbank circulation that even Polish people would take mortgages in Swiss Francs. However, if there is too much of Swiss Franc in Switzerland it has to be sold relatively cheap to the United Europe otherwise it will not bring any profits. This way Swiss Franc becomes the cheapest currency circulated in the international banking system with the lowest interest rate. They have to do something about the lowest interest rate. Why? Maybe it is because ISO 4217, the only organization in the world that verifies and registers currency (which is the organization that also registered Polish złoty as PLN, British Standard Institution) in December 2004 registered CHW in which ‘W’ stands for ‘Wir’, the name of a virtual organization that used such virtual barter currency. CHW derives from ‘wir’ which means ‘we’ in German. The information can easily be traced down on the ISO4217 websites where in Swiss Franc section you will find WIR Franc but also to great astonishment you will find WIR Euro – barter Euro. Switzerland is not a part of EU monetary system and is not interested in changing Franc into Euro but they still have a barter-Euro. That is amazing. Maybe Switzerland’s wealth does not come just from the overflowing treasuries and deposits coming from all over the world as ‘it is the safest there’. Maybe there is another reason – maybe barter is the reason. It is over 20% of small and medium business in Switzerland that uses local currency which is only an entry in the books of accounts. To be precise it is just a bit of information on the computer today. The system had its origins in 1934 and was started by 16 merchants in Basil in the 5th year of the economic crisis, that you may remember, that had started in 1929. They came to a conclusion that the economic crisis led to the situation in which one could not pay for the bread at the baker’s (even though the bread was there), for shoes at the shoemaker’s, for a table at the carpenter’s, for the meat at the butcher’s so consequently something had to be done in order to survive. In 1934 a WIR system was founded, the very same system that in 2005 led to such economic miracles that can easily be checked by anyone. Such systems do exist and interestingly enough they are not just in Switzerland. This map shows you the present situation with barter systems and local currencies. The green areas on the map display the regions which 2 years ago represented what we referred to as barter systems. As you can see on the map of Europe there is no country that would not have this type of systems there. The map is a little bit out-of-date as this year there has been an increase in the local currency systems on Russian territory. During communist era Russia functioned mainly as barter oriented economy so if you worked in the nail factory you would be paid in nails, if you worked on a chicken farm you would be paid with chicken. Then people had to meet to exchange the goods so that apart from nails they could still enjoy chicken on Sunday. The situation was tragic as there was no financial means and at some stage the Russian authorities banned barter. Barter system was cut to the point which led to the first economic crisis on the Russian market in 2000. Economists do not recognize the fact that Russia was our biggest trade partner up to 2000 as they refer only to the economy based on money. They fail to realize that the trade that operated in billion dollar deals per year was basically the exchange of goods. So money known as transfer ruble functioned. It is not money that makes economic turnover. It is not just money. Why did three big barter platforms appear in Russia which due to the lack of money on the market suggests using something different to trade with rather than national obligatory money? That is an idea of local currencies and barter systems. The American market in 1970s had a powerful development of this type of tools. IRTA is an organization that celebrated its 30th anniversary just a month ago and that has over 84 barter system administrators that make up to over 400.000 companies with an annual turnover of exceeded 10 billion dollars. The bigger the crisis the bigger the turnover is in barter-systems. It is typical for human nature. If everything goes well, we focus more on being just consumers that look for having a good time. It is only when we are affected by the crisis or some of us are even ‘kicked’ by it, that we realize how to find new solutions to run companies and find new sources of income etc. The foundation has been run since late 1970s – for 30 years. Thirty years ago Poland was not even a democratic country. It all started as a reaction to an economic crisis of the 70s as life does not like void. A solution had to be found. If there was no money something had to be used instead such as trade dollar, an entry in the books of accounts. The dynamic growth is triggered by two factors. The first one is an interest free system, as in barter system, so if you lend 100 000 you have to return 100 000 not 110 000, 120 000, 130 000 or 140 000. The ratio is 1:1. In this system the quasi money (as formally it is not money just a currency unit agreed on) is interest free. Obviously the systems do generate certain costs but the cost refers to a commission which is a different economic mechanism. Barter money or local currency is interest free. Moreover there are also systems that have followed the regulations from the year 1150 when Weimar bishops introduced a currency, bracteates - flat, thin, single-sided silver coins that served as money at that times which actually had a negative interest rate. How could it have a negative interest rate? People worked and earned bracteates and knew that at the end of each year the bishop that had produced them would exchange them for new ones as the old coins will no longer be valid. With each exchange the bishop would decrease the amount of silver in the coin so its value was gradually decreasing. That situation made people decide whether to save the money and thus lose some of its value or whether use all of it for painting a house, buying a table or a nice carpet. Thus knowing that the money would lose its value and in the New Year they would spend it. And spending money builds local economy since if you want to spend money on a table someone has to make the table you will pay for and this creates a business cycle. Between 1150 and 1450 Germany went through its best period of art and culture development and most of the historic monuments on the territory of present Germany were created at that period of time. It all happened as people eagerly gave a vast amount of their money away once their basic needs such as food, place to sleep, education for children were met, hey could spend money on things connected with their spirituality. Craftsmen are believed to have worked only 4 days a week. They did not have to work more. This is an interesting piece of history. As for now let’s agree that barter systems are interest free systems. To have a precise analysis of the system if someone puts in the circulation interest free transactional unit that corresponds to the national currency so e.g. 1 barter PLN=1 PLN and the national PLN undergoes inflation as a result barter PLN has a negative interest rate. It is similar to the situation when you do not have money in the account and you actually lose it. There is such a relation that is considered by economists. The second reason for the dynamic growth of barter systems is local economic system. What does ‘local’ refer to? Imagine you take a walk along the streets in your city. As you walk you realize that some of the shops are no longer in the places they used to be even though you remember them being there during all communist era. They will have mostly been replaced by banks. I come from Gliwice. If you come to visit Gliwice there is a street leading up from the train station to the market square called ul. Zwycięstwa though now it supposed to have a totally new name. It used to be the main trade street in the city during communist era. There used to be lots of shops, cafes, restaurants. In 1983 on Sunday after church we used to go to have a coffee with our friends. All the shops are gone now; there are none of the cafes left. There are just banks. Where are all the tradesmen that used to be there? What happened? They did not stand up to, what professional economists refer to as ‘the challenge of market competition’. It means that the tradesmen from the little shops were not able to sell their goods for the prices that hypermarkets offered the same products imported from China. As a result they had to close down their business, their families are probably in troubles as the main source of income was gone, and probably two or three people lost their job due to closing of the business. Quite possibly those shops stopped buying goods from a local wholesale that consequently does not exist anymore which also meant another family losing their source of income and the producer that used to supply the wholesale does not have the business anymore as we all buy everything from China now. This is not something that we would like about globalization. We would like to pay visits to the USA; we do like travelling around Europe carrying around our IDs. However, it is not for our own good that companies make money in Poland but their capital is not consumed here but it is sent over to the country of their origin. Thus if you look at the reports of the biggest foreign companies based in Poland you may come to realize that the company goes bankrupt as there is no profit there. How do these companies function here? There is no profit as the foreign companies create expenses in their own countries. The money is sent from Poland to another country and that means the money earned in Poland is actually not consumed here. Such a situation gives rise to the increase of poverty, unemployment and continuous problems here. Producing all the goods in China is not a solution. I have been to Zakopane lately and even "Ciupagi" (traditional axes) there are imported from China. A local system is a system within one country - that is a solution. As you heard money is the blood circulation of economy. How long can a body survive with such a hemorrhage? Those with medical background know that there is a phenomenon known as anemia in which the destruction done to the organism cannot be undone and consequently the body dies. If money is the circulation of the economy it has to be circulated in a close circuit without leaking outside. You do not need to be a doctor to understand that. You do not need to have a medical background. All barter systems are local systems. Moreover they have special regulations to control the flow of the money within one local system. The whole idea is based on spending the money on the goods, you need to buy them from your neighbor on your street rather than from China. While buying goods from China you send the money there this way causing the lack of money here. If the Chinese love us so much let them buy from us but they do not want to. Do you know what the balance of trade is between the USA and China? If China was to pay back all the dollars they made on trade with America they could buy the whole USA. And it's slowly happening. Local system should enforce the local economy. And this is a solution. If you help local companies, you realize that the smallest companies according to the data are the biggest employers the biggest employers when it comes to the amount of people they hire. How many people do you think are in the big Opel factory in Gliwice? Have a wild guess. You could expect 100 000. 700 people (a person from the audience) 700 they have fired lately. From one shift It is actually less than 2000 people. The thing is that big corporations are not interested in creating places of work. They are interested in cheap work force. Right now in the 21st century robots become cheaper than people, though not cheaper than the Chinese. We will discuss robots later. In situation where people do not have work They do not feel good. and consequently they do not feel safe as they have to deal with problems how to feed their families and how to pay the bills for electricity so as not be cut off, there is no room for spirituality. Where is room for your spirituality if you do not have a job? Will you come to a conference like that one? I don’t think so. You will either go out with a hat in your hand or you will stay at home wondering how to get the money. You will not have time for your spirituality. You must have heard about the pyramid of human needs and this is how it all works. Here is an interesting piece that I added to my presentation presentation while I was sitting in the hall before the conference. If you browse the Internet, you will find a report from Swiss Federal Technological Institute in Zurich with the data from 2007. 80% of capital distributed all over the world is in the hands of 10 mega corporations. However, the assumptions of the authors of the report are that it is even less than 10 corporations. Some of the employees did not want to answer the questions referring to the capital as the information was strictly confidential. Part of the information as for the registration of the companies is open to the public as the public have a legal right to know that though there are still some restricted areas. So 80% of the world capital is distributed among 10 mega corporations. In the article mentioned you will find the names of the corporations. This is what you call monopolization, and this is what you refer to as globalism. Whether you are aware of it or not this is going to affect you or your children. Big capital rules. They have it. This is the problem. This year we have celebrated the 20th anniversary of victory over communism. We moved over to democracy in 1989 as you remember. You probably remember the debate around the round table. We fought for freedom; we fought for thousands of other things. And where are we after 20 years? How far have we come with the things our parents or even some of you fought for? Is the world around you what you really wanted? Is the world around you what you like? What if tomorrow you are the mouse that will not get a piece of bread? You will steal. There will be no room for spirituality. It is a black case scenario. But I also have good news interest free system is the foundation - no more usury. There are lots of us and you will find a lot of information about this type of initiatives. You will find a lot of information concerning local currency and interest free money. We are sponsoring the website www.barter.org to give the society information about the problem as it affects us all – no exception. Even if you succeed, by the way I did listen to the song’s lyrics carefully – where is the artist? Is he still in the room or has he run away? There he is! I did listen to the song but I do not share your optimism, only in one part of the song. even if you succeed the next couple of years are not going to be easy from the economic point of view. We do not know how it all is going to end but remember that the crisis from 1929 ended up in the war in 1939. Maybe the world is wise; certainly some of the people are wiser. One is certain that interest rate system will come to an end. Then new systems that are interest free, more honest, democratic will replace it. The new systems will not be systems in which the one who has the right to money emission can unlawfully take money away from the government, as now it is only banks that can take money but the systems that everybody will use as it will serve life to enable you to spend money on classes for your child. This will enable your child to develop properly and to make you proud. This will make your child’s life easier. The system on the horizon is going to be fairer. Some of you know that there is already a project of continental currency Euro is a continental currency. Do you know that Americans are thinking about Amero and Asia will probably introduce its own currency? As the Chinese will probably have a deal with the Japanese to have their own Asian currency. It may mean that we will have five continental currencies at some stage. But this is not exactly what money stands for money is a social agreement, means to make transactions not a business for few. That is what money should be. If you asked me what I think about the year 2013, I believe the future will not belong to 5 continental currencies or one continental currency it will belong to the thousands of local currencies used by society in particular geographical regions. They will generate the currencies themselves and they will give their currencies value themselves. They will set their own rules as for how to use the currency to ensure that it is for the best of those using it. This is the future for currencies and this will change the world for a better place. Thank you

Video Details

Duration: 52 minutes and 29 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: Poland
Language: Polish
Producer: Twisty Melon Sp. zoo
Director: Andrzej Bazgier
Views: 3,015
Posted by: radoslaw on Nov 23, 2009

Dokumentalny wybór materiałów z konferencji "Rok 2013 - Projektowanie Nowego Świata" ktora odbyła się 25 października 2009 w Warszawie. Więcej szczegółów na www.schodamidonieba.pl Documentary selection of video materials from the conference "Year 2013 - Projecting Of A New World" which took place in Warsaw, 25th of October 2009. More details on www.schodamidonieba.pl

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