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View Diary: In Their Eyes, We are the Damned (205 comments)

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  •  Greedy people are like pack rats. (26+ / 0-)

    They obsessive accumulate stuff of which they can never get enough.  When what they accumulate is of little or no use to other people, the obsession makes little difference and is hardly noticed. Money, albeit worthless, is not in the useless class.  When some people accumulate and hoard it, other people are deprived of a token that's necessary to participate in our modern economy.
    HOWEVER, when we realize that money is not only an intrinsically worthless token, but we can always make more, then the hoarding is only detrimental because some people, for their own reasons, prefer others to be deprived.  The general scarcity of money strikes them as a positive and so they actually encourage the hoarding of it. Michele Rhee is actually a good example of their thinking when she announces that teachers need to be "stressed." Making life hard for teachers seems good to her because she's on a power trip. (So are a lot of other people).
    Regardless, once we recognize that a paucity of money in the right hands is a problem and realize that money is a figment of the imagination, albeit a real tangible invention akin to the alphabet, and realize that it's something we can always make more of, the battle is half won.  All we have to do then, after we make more, is figure out how to keep it out of the hands of the hoarders and the people who promote the sequestration, based on the mistaken idea that if there's less money, each dollar will be worth more.

    Currency isn't exactly like the alphabet, but it serves a similar purpose.  Money, like the written word, enables us to evade the natural limitations of space and time -- to save and transmit and share physical labor and ideas for use later and/or in a different place.  Money is a token of our labor, much as the words we create with letters are visible symbols of what we think and speak.

    There's a reason there was a time when humans were forbidden access to reading and writing skills. Some people had an interest in keeping other people's thoughts and talents locked up and close to home.  That's the same reason access to money is being denied (food stamps which can't be exchanged for cash and have to be spent in specially designated shops are evidence) and, when it is attained, the system is rigged to grab it back as quick as it can. Store "credit" was always designed to keep a stable customer base.  Food stamps are a subsidy to merchants who sign up for the program, as well as producers who need to get rid of surplus. Poor people are needed as an exploitable population.

    Anyway, I think it's Brazil that's experimenting with making people less poor by just giving them money.  I suspect it will turn out that a small percentage of people just aren't able to manage money, but the vast majority will do well. People who can't think ahead, will spend everything they get on the spot, or even give it away.  But, as long as the currency keeps moving, it's OK.

    by hannah on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:02:02 AM PDT

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    •  Can you expand on that (0+ / 0-)

      Are you saying we should just print money and make it more freely available?

      I'm not sure I understand.

      •  Even if they are, what's the down side? I mean (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brian B, hannah, Spoc42

        the government is already doing this- the bailout and QE, but the money that's being given out is only going to the people who already have more than they know what to do with. That's largely why the policy isn't working. Furthermore, the people with lots of money have been investing it in the financial industry where that money only serves to enrich the people who have already got most of it.

      •  Yes, we have to figure out a way (9+ / 0-)

        to keep it from being hoarded.  The velocity with which a dollar travels through the economy on the way to registering as a dollar of GDP has shrunk from 3.5 to about 1.5.  That's because the currency isn't getting into the current.  Wall Street has become a closed casino.  Las Vegas does a much better job keeping the money moving.

        Spending money is actually fun.  Politicians who want to deprive us of that pleasure should go and become brimstone and hell-fire preachers.

        by hannah on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:53:24 AM PDT

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        •  Interesting POV, thanks, n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  yes a parallel economy that is siphoning (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, sleipner, Spoc42

          up and hogging the cash flow... it gets swapped back and forth with their investment bets and the suppliers of their luxury lifestyles... the real economy where everybody else is gets starved of the oxygen, the lifeblood it needs to keep small businesses going and people employed in the US. Wealth is transferred upwards and squandered or inflated and lost to circulation where it originated... all the wealth ultimately began with the labor and creativity of the bulk of the population and the squeezers and controllers game things so that the rewards system is dangerously skewed to reward the few at the expense of the many. The many have most of their bargaining powers in the market of life weakened or removed and end up with few options living in a huge version of a factory town shopping at the company store with few choices other than what is effectively dictated to them.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:04:13 PM PDT

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          •  So Wall Street is a toxic algae bloom (0+ / 0-)

            Credit default swaps are fertilizer that's being washed downstream to Wall Street and causing hedge fund managers to grow fungus that sucks the air out of the rest of the ocean...err, economy.  And then kills everything.

            New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

            by sleipner on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:36:30 PM PDT

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          •  That reminds me of two quotations. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, IreGyre
            all the wealth ultimately began with the labor and creativity of the bulk of the population
            "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."  -- Abraham Lincoln, December 3, 1861.

            "Labour was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased." -- Adam Smith

            Renewable energy brings national global security.      -6.25, -6.05

            by Calamity Jean on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:14:55 PM PDT

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        •  My state's food stamp program won't allow (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          recipients accounts to accumulate more than two months' worth of money or they'll withhold any more funding.  That's how they encourage their beneficiaries to spend.

          It's funny, in a way.  I've never heard of anyone who has much, if anything, left at the end of the month.

          Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

          by Ice Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:52:18 PM PDT

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      •  Social Credit? (0+ / 0-)

        It seemed like an insane idea when I was younger, but the more I see of capitalism the more I'm thinking it might be a better way.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

        by Inspector Javert on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:09:42 PM PDT

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        •  I had heard of it but until I read about it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          in Wikipedia I didn't come close to understanding it. I still don't understand it but it's an interesting approach and I'm going to read more about it.

          My own view is that the current version of capitalism in this country is moving away from capitalism as such into a kind of neo-feudalism and a withering away of the central state (in favor of corporate entities and their associations). I don't differentiate politics from economics (neither did many economists of a bygone era) and thus see our current system to be just a form of control used by the oligarchs to, frankly, enslave the public or at least turn them into serfs with some nominal independence with the ability to live in a home with their families and so on--but little else. Debt is the tool.

          I believe we can break out of this but it will take radical change and that change starts with each of us struggling as hard as we can to break out of the web we are ensnared in on an individual, clan, and social group level. The current system is toxic and to be avoided and impeded in any way possible.

    •  Brooke Astor had a saying: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spoc42, JohnB47

      Money is like manure--spread it around and it does a lot of good but too much in one place just plain stinks.

      Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

      by Ice Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:54:50 PM PDT

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    •  I know what you mean (0+ / 0-)

      Money is nothing more than a symbol, an emblem of work done and a promise of a return on that labour. It is a sign of appreciation. It has no inherent value, simply the value that we put on it.

      That's why it's so sad to see people hoarding it. It means that they are stealing the labour of others and pretending it is their own.

      FOSI: Full Of Shit Information - Both my sister and I are trivia freaks...

      by Spoc42 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 05:02:51 PM PDT

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