Some Thoughts on Money – Blog Post 0023

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." - Henry David Thoreau

Pursuing money for the sake of money is an empty pursuit and is guaranteed to leave you as full or empty, as successful or unsuccessful as you were prior to accomplishing such a pursuit. Money can’t bring back the ones we lost and the moments we shared with them. Money doesn’t compensate us for poor health and poor relationships. Money, in extreme abundance, becomes meaningless because the goal of pursuing more dissipates and is usually replaced with existential angst.

Nonetheless, all else being equal, money does provide for a better quality of life and allows us to access resources that would otherwise be unavailable. Our society is structured around money and money isn’t just a fantasy or mirage. It can be used to produce real change, for better and for worse. As long as people are willing to do things for money, it will retain its power and allow others to be controlled by it.

There are two classes in the world, those that primarily create money and those that primarily work for money. Money creation is a simple process and can be carried out by anyone in theory. The creation of money is the creation of debt. If you were to give a loan to a friend and expect that loan to be repaid with interest, you have just created money equal to the amount of interest charged. You have also simultaneously created a debt for your friend as they would be expected to pay back this loan plus interest at a later date.

Money creation is not without risk as it involves the temporary transfer of the creator's money to the borrower's account. Such risks are often mitigated with legal contracts and collateral, but there is always a chance of a full default by the borrower and the loss of part or all of the lender's principal. Of course, because money lenders are sophisticated actors, they have cleverly mitigated these risks and created legal structures and processes that disproportionately benefit them in a default scenario. On the one hand, this provides for added social and financial stability and serves a positive social function. On the other hand, it creates incentives for unscrupulous lenders to take advantage of the general public and exploit their ignorance when it comes to financial matters.

There isn't enough money in the world to pay off all debts because debt grows at a faster rate than money creation and inflation, under normal economic conditions. The only way to truly eradicate all debt is for a sovereign to completely default on its debt obligations and back this up with the threat of military force. A more nuanced way to default is to hyper-inflate the domestic currency to a point where the debts, valued in the domestic currency, become practically worthless. For example, if you owe $10,000 dollars but hyper-inflation devalues a currency to the point where $10,000 can only buy you a stick of gum, the debt becomes essentially worthless to the collector. However, hyperinflation hurts the citizens of the country which employs such a tactic, inevitably leads to social destabilization and eventually produces regime change. This method, therefore, is only utilized in the most extreme of economic situations.

Money is simply a tool and what you choose to spend it on reflects the type of person you choose to be. If you spend your money to organize people to solve specific social problems, you become an advocate and a leader for social change. If you spend your money on an endless stream of expensive clothes, cars, real estate and other material indulgences, you become a material consumer. If you spend your money arming radical factions for the purpose of attaining geopolitical power, you become a warmonger.

Money is an idea which derives its utility from its acceptance and use by the general public. In a free market system, spending money on specific goods and services is the purest signal for what society and individuals value. You vote every day with your dollars through your purchases. By supporting certain corporations or organizations with your dollars, you are legitimizing those institutions and giving them the capital they require to continue operations. This is something to think about as many individuals inadvertently support institutions that are misaligned with their interests.

Money isn't real.

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