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View Diary: Right-wing myths about merit, money and morality (206 comments)

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  •  The most important point is that (4+ / 0-)

    money itself is a technology we as a society create, in order to serve all of us. The idea that the debt represented by money is fully transferable is not an obvious and natural one -- it's an agreement we have come to, because it is convenient to us. When someone "loans" another person money at interest, they are able to do so only because we have all agreed to employ a system in which debt is "fungible", as the wonks like to say. The fundamental assumption of the conservatives is that this is not the result of an agreement -- that money and debt are axiomatically interchangeable and exchangeable, that money exists only as a handy way to keep track of debt, but that no other burdens may be placed upon it. Thus, rather than the 99% simply extending credit to ourselves, we are required to borrow from people who have surplus credit piled up. This inevitably leads to an unsustainable spiral of exponential increase in debt and the accompanying vigorish.

    There is nothing mysterious about this process, it is easy to understand, it is easy to model, and by so modeling, it is trivial to demonstrate that once some people get an upper hand, no matter how small, in the overall distribution of debt, they will inevitably own everything. (what actually happens, of course, is that we experience an economic collapse.) A very simple model will show that in a toy economy of 1000 people, if one person works just a little harder -- 10% harder, for one year -- within 50 years 100% of the output of the other 999 people will belong to that person: they will all subsist on his charity. Not a bad payoff for working 10% harder than any one of those other 999 people, for one year.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:05:07 AM PDT

    •  The concept of money changes a lot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz, JerryNA

      ...depending on the point made in the conversation...

      Gold standards may have practically no inflation most of the time, but they are steady. But fiat money systems help create and continue a thriving middle class. Scary stories of 'fake money backed by nothing' scare the stupid.

      And, yes, eventually one person ends up owning EVERYTHING, just like a Monopoly game. Dude...even Moses knew this much, because that's why the Torah forbids interest and orders a Year of Jubilee every seven years--to re-start such an economy. Otherwise, tyrants take over, and the guy left with the entire pile of wealth is almost certain to be the LAST GUY YOU WOULD WANT to have a system dependent upon...

      But...SOCIALISM! Commies everywhere you look! Ad nauseum...

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 10:24:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the larger problem with gold standards is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ian Reifowitz, JerryNA

        more often deflation than inflation. but of course, deflation is pretty cool, if you're a lender rather than a borrower. either way, the real problem is that a gold standard is almost exactly as arbitrary as a fiat system, since the supply of money in that case depends entirely and exclusively on how much gold we happen to have lying around. if somebody found an inexpensive way to extract the gold from seawater, you'd see yourself some inflation, all right.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:47:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gold as a basis for wealth is totally arbitrary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz

          It's shiny and doesn't rust...  Aside from jewelry, gold is not that useful industrially and has good substitutes.  Just think about this: before electrolysis, aluminum was more expensive than gold.  A aluminum standard once made as much sense as a gold standard.

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