Monday, January 26, 2015

Can you explain?

Do you feel as I do?  Do you feel as though you're watching a pageant that is being loudly celebrated and admired, but which, to your puzzled gaze, seems nothing more than confusion . . .  unbalanced confusion?

Let me explain . . . and please stop me if anything I say is completely inaccurate.

Am I right in thinking that, in today's society, we use money to represent the value of essential goods and services . . . that money is the ingredient that makes such an exchange possible?

For example, by means of money, milk from the farm can be transformed into a morning paper.  Similarly,  a teacher's daily work in the classroom can pay the weekly shopping bill.

We value the farmer's efforts, the teacher's skills . . . they are rewarded accordingly, and the money that their work represents is reinvested.

The important thing being that, of itself, money is worthless.  Its value resides entirely in what it represents and the exchanges it makes possible.

So far so good.
But this money we've invented, although worth nothing of itself, needs organising.  Over the years people have decided that it might be fun to look after the money . . . to organise it, play with it, and to give themselves money for doing so.

This is where things get confusing.
How is it, I wonder, that it's ended up that the people who organise the money (money that we've agreed is of itself worth nothing), are esteemed and valued at ten times the rate of the people who produce the goods and services represented by that money?

How is it that playing with money is considered so estimable that those who do this have become the most affluent and influential members of our society?

How is it that they can give themselves more and more money and that no-one dares to point out that this might be both unfair and ill-advised?
On the contrary, the more money they choose to give to themselves the more deference and respect they receive.

By what process has this money that we invented become so important?  So important that, when faced with economic problems, our governments increase production not of goods but of money?

Money can't create milk, for that you need a cow.   Money can't create a newspaper, for that you need journalists and printers.
Yet money and its handlers have managed to  become more valuable and powerful in our society than farm produce, the morning paper, or anything else you like to mention.

Added to which, as I'm sure you've noticed, more and more money seems to be ending up with fewer and fewer people.  In fact Oxfam claimed this week that, by 2016, the richest one per cent in the world could, between them, own as much as the bottom ninety-nine per cent.

Have we got ourselves into a real muddle . . . or am I being foolishly simplistic and naive?
No . . . you needn't answer that one!