Our Money System – Quo Vadis?
I composed this in reflection last night in response to an ongoing debate elsewhere on the ‘net about money and likely courses that will be taken. I decided to post it here instead of there, in hopes it will engender some constructive discussion.
Money is part of the "social agreement." Inasmuch as we have a fiat, interest-bearing debt currency system, backed by nothing but the promise to create more of it as needed (to pay down debt and to accomodate expanding real activity), we are faced with the inevitability that money must grow "exponentially" to accomodate a system of endless growth. Because there are physical limits to growth (as Chris Martenson so well outlined in Crash Course), the end result would seem to be (eventual) collapse and reset of some kind. The manner in which that occurs, or is managed, seems to be a key component of the critical path we are approaching.
Very interesting reflection. Very high expectations for the reflate effort.
The Hyperion Nuclear Battery
is a very interesting development. That sort of technology could lead
mankind to return to smaller, self-sufficient communities and,
hopefully, get us away from the mega-cities of today along with
catastrophic failures in our current electrical grid that can take out
huge swaths of the country.
I hope the pain in getting from here to there is not as severe as some predict.
Ray Hewitt brought this one up a while ago.
I had a quick look and love the way its considered "extremely safe". Only wipes out small populations at a time.
The irrational fear of nuclear energy and all things "radioactive" is one of the luxuries of ignorance we will not be able to afford in the coming milieu.
People continue to smugly throw out their little quips, expecting everyone to follow the old meme established by Hollywood and (I’m not Fonda) Jane in "The China Syndrome." The days of being able to wallow in such "feel good" blanket condemnation of an entire technology and transformation process and continue in denial about relative risk and the need for nuclear power to expand in a really big way are nearly over, to be ended by the harsh dawn of energy economic reality. Enjoy them while you can.
I’m surprised we haven’t had more comments yet about the rest of the initial post. Thanks SamLinder for his, but isn’t there anyone else with anything to add to this? I threw a lot out there (maybe too much!), and was hoping there would be more to talk about than the well-worn chestnut of nuclear power, which is really a tiny part of the issues at hand.
To be frank DownRange it is too long, too complex and too much about money alone for me. If it needs so many densely packed words I am uninclined to engage. Try an executive summary? Can it be explained in less words?Your comment about real wealth threw me off immediately. I regard culture as real wealth and the US as culturally poor.
Not sure that you would find agreement in your position on Nuclear energy around Chenobyl (sp?). I see that Dmitry Orlov attributes the collapse of the soviet union at least in significant part to this disaster. Now that is nuclear power.
Diversity is our greatest strength, complacency our greatest weakness
If it needs so many densely packed words I am uninclined to engage. Try an executive summary? Can it be explained in less words?
I agree with Don regarding the "densely packed words". I had to really work at it to read through the whole thing. Breaking it up into smaller paragraphs would certainly be a big help as far as readibility. Don’s suggestions are also good to consider.
Thanks for the feedback. There is something about the software that doesn’t accept paragraph breaks using standard carriage returns. I tried twice to edit it, but it just doesn’t see them.
First, Chernobyl. If you don’t understand why Chernobyl happened, and why it can’t happen in most of the world that uses nuclear power, I suggest you study the event more. This is exactly the kind of knee-jerk reflex thinking I was talking about in my first reply.
Second, to really explain the post would take more words, not less, and perhaps graphics and a delivery like Chris’s crash course. No time for that now, maybe later. If it can’t be parsed, so be it. Consider the thread a less than fully successful experiment. Back to the drawing board.
Oh yeah, "culture is real wealth" and we don’t have much – that threw me off, big time. I don’t think the gap between that kind of thinking and mine will be bridged easily. I’m reminded of Hunter S. Thompson who said, "when I hear the word "culture" I reach for my gun."
Maybe this forum isn’t worth the effort. I’ve stayed away because, frankly, I don’t have time to tilt against windmills or fight recurring misinformation. That’s what I admire most about the Crash Course. It just lays it out there – no political angles – all facts, clearly stated, and either you follow or you don’t. Maybe I’ll try something like that someday when I have the time. Good luck.
I think we should consider sometime soon, ending the Monetary system (sounds radical but just listen). If we look at all the problems that occur in society, the majority of them all come from a money system. Ex, war, crime, poverty, recessions, depressions, booms, busts, corruption, and so on, but what is the one thing that makes our lives easier and more efficient? It’s technology, technology and the intelligent use of resources is what makes our lives better. False ideas such as money, religion, or other have never truly Solved our problems in society only create them. Most of the bad behavior that we see in society are all connected to the money system. If we provide the necessities in life through the intelligent use of technology and resources, society would behave in a very different manner. Our human behavior will never change in a monetary system. Think about how much further advanced our civilian technology would help out society if all the time, energy, human capital, resources were used in the best interest of society instead of nuclear bombs, and other counterproductive measures. What I am implying is a resource based economy. If anyone if familiar with Jacque Fresco then you will understand. Of course going from a money based system to a resource based system would not be easy. It would have to be done in stages, such as an energy stage, food, then housing, or in whatever order seems to benefit society. Watching the news, or coming on these forums just really paints more of how primitive we really are. You’re probably wondering about incentive, since money (fiat) is our only incentive that we are aware of, I’ll give you an incentive. It’s pretty simple. If you create the necessities in life on a upgraded scale for society then, your everyday bank robber, or crook would not really be. Due to the fact a bank robber can’t rob a bank cause there is no bank. Or, no need for selling street drugs, because no profit would come from it. We can go on and on with a list of benefits, but the end picture is the better we make our society the better your life will be and the better future generations will be, and will live without the threat of loosing ones job, recessions, or nuclear war. Our money system, keep us using materials and resources in a poor way. True, we enjoy many things in society in our current system, but when you look at domestic poverty and world wide poverty, we truly not using our resources and technology very wise at all. A money system can also paralyze technology, just think about what is not being told to us when it comes to abundance on the issue of food and energy. Even our current obesity problems in america can be linked to the money system, think about it. Companies need to save money, so they use unhealthy foods and chemicals and pump out some marketing jingle to get everyone to eat there, only to become obese, or get some other health related problem all in the name of profit.
Well I would write more but time for bed, hope to get some responses, maybe I can answer them. I probably can.
Do this little experiment, next time you watch the news, tv show, or movie think about how and what problems occur and see how it can be linked to the monetary system. Then realize we need to change our way of thinking.
Response to JK121:
Your whole post is based on the incorrect assumption that money is an ends in itself. Government officials or corporate CEOs don’t take bribes so that they can put the money in an offshore bank account, never to be touched. Robbers don’t rob banks so that they can take the money and bury the money, or hide it somewhere, just to have it. The reason money is valued is because of its function as a means – most basically, a means of facilitating the transaction of resources.
I take issue with your labeling of money and religion as "false ideas". How can you have an idea characterized as false, or true?
"It’s technology, technology and the intelligent use of resources is
what makes our lives better. False ideas such as money, religion, or
other have never truly Solved our problems in society only create them."
That implies somehow that technology only solves our problems and never creates them. I can think of quite a few people who would disagree with your assertion that technology is some benign force that always helps us. Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Treblinka, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz? Were these the results of monetary policy or religion? Were they not accomplished by the use of technology, your god?
"Our human behavior will never change in a monetary system." But our human behaviour will somehow change in another system? Our survivalist instincts for self-preservation and self-interest will, in some other system, be diminshed? To me, the most successful system for achieving that ends would be religion. If the threat of eternal damnation and punishment isn’t going to change "human behaviour", than what will? Also, I’d like to ask where your assumption comes from that a monetary system ought to change human behaviour?
As a spike to anyone who would challenge any lack of incentive in your system, you write:
"If you create the necessities in life on a upgraded scale for society
then, your everyday bank robber, or crook would not really be. Due to
the fact a bank robber can’t rob a bank cause there is no bank. Or, no
need for selling street drugs, because no profit would come from it."
First of all, i’m not really sure what it means to create the necessities in life on a [sic] upgraded scale for society" means. Even with that confusion, you’re totally right. A bank robber cannot rob a bank because there is no bank. That’s great. Unfortunately for us, bank robbers are a very specific subset of a more general category of criminal: robbers. While your elimination of banks will eliminate bank robbers, what’s to stop someone from riding over to your farm and stealing your chickens? Your corn? Your lumber? Or any other resource you might have? Like I said before, money is only valuable in that we can exchange it for goods and services. Remove the money, and people will just steal the goods themselves, and get the services by force. The reasons robbers generally rob banks for money instead of farms for cows is that money is easier to transport, and more convenient to purchase. If robbers were to steal cows, they’d have to find someone willing to take a cow as payment for whatever it is the robber wants.
No profit from selling drugs? Well, how about your neighborhood cocaine dealer charges something like a barrel of grain for a gram of coke, as opposed to an amount of money? If I were a cocaine dealer, and money were abolished, I’d be more than willing to give my resource (cocain) in exchange for another resource, such as water or electricity.
I will agree that we aren’t using our resources and technology as wisely as we could be. However, I find no reason to blame the existence of money.
Your last reason is basically a jab at fast food companies. However, I don’t see why this "evil" is a function of money. The reason they use unhealthy foods is because they’re cheaper, in that they require less energy to create, and place little demand on more valuable resources, while still providing the daily sustenance we need. None of that would change by abolishing money.
In summary, I feel like you’re just frustrated with human nature. The reason we have corruption and greed and competition isn’t because we have money. It’s because we’re humans! We aren’t perfect! We care for ourselves more than others, we want to be better off than others, we want to look better, eat better, live easier, and work less than our fellow man. Humans are inherently selfish. Sure, that is manifested in the monetary system. But it’s not a flaw of the monetary system. All you’re going to do is have robbers stealing resources themselves, wars fought for resource control, and drugs traded for resources. You will never be able to completely eliminate human greed and selfishness. Money itself makes no difference.