Score, part 1

So you have so much wheat it’s going to go bad before you can use it all and you don’t have any chickens. The obvious answer to the problem is to find someone who needs wheat and who has excess chickens and convince him or her to make a swap. Maybe the person who needs wheat doesn’t have chickens but has excess lumber instead, but he knows someone who has chickens. But the chicken guy needs corn…

Eventually you get to the concept of money because four cords of lumber and thirty goats are kind of inconvenient to drag around everywhere when you’re doing for groceries.

Money emerges as lubricant for trade, but it doesn’t actually represent the goods. Wealth is a simple stockpile of resources that are otherwise scarce or in demand. Money is just a number or a token — something that can be produced cheaply in arbitrary quantities.

Money at rest is worthless. Money in motion produces, like magic, the things you need and desire.

Something is really broken when money itself can be hoarded, as if it is scarce and has intrinsic value. Something is very broken when it is mistaken for the value of a person, whereby people with more hoarded money are seen as more deserving of the basic elements of survival, of comforts, of luxuries. And if your worth isn’t measured by the money you’ve hoarded, it’s measured in terms of how much you can help someone who is already wealthy get more money than he or she pays you…

Money is a game. It is unlinked from value. Money is the score you try to rack up to show you deserve basic survival and comfort and respect, but the game is inherently broken. We’re all playing in a shared arena where some people have cheat codes. They play a different game where they try to unlock more cheats, harvesting small amounts of money in great swathes from people who hardly have any in order to change the rules so that it becomes illegal for them to not have a steady harvest of all the money they need without having to exert any effort at all.

But they do this in an arena where you still require the movement of $5 to buy a chicken.


December 2, 2010 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


One Response to “Score, part 1”

  1. […] Part one began, our kinda began, as there have been a few sketches on the general topic posted already over the years, a series I’m writing on the subject of how the economy works and why it’s busted. […]

Leave a Reply