Tag Archives: Economic Thoughts

Money: What is it good for?

During Zeitgeist Day 2015, Jen Wilding presented “Money: What is it good for?”

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This presentation highlights a rather important topic and some very important premises about the movement towards a post-scarcity society. Simply, the topic discussed is why do we rely on money in society today (or, in the future).  It’s evident that in times of scarcity money has been a tool used to decide who has more value or who deserves a valued good/service. However, today we have advanced technology at our disposal and can start to think about a post-scarcity society were everyone could be housed, fed, and cared for properly.

Money proponents often talk about how money is required to keep people motivated. In this lecture, Jen Wilding provides some examples and studies that seem to prove them wrong.

She starts by asking people what they would do if money was not a problem. Ask yourself this question and think about it for a moment. My guess is that very few people would say that they would be lazy couch-potatoes all day. Personally, I would continue my studies of mathematics and the sciences to someday help humanity on a further path. To realize this shows that money is not the only motivating factor. Furthermore, she makes a clever statement:

“I consider the laziness that people might fear, which is a behavior we definitely see in our current market system, is actually a behavioral response to not having the freedom to choose work that would be quite satisfying to that person and still having their basic needs me.”

Profound.

In the beginning of the lecture she highlights some important premises on why money is not actually in coherence with the market system vision that is often taught.

  1.  It presumes consumers have equal voting power.
  2.  It presumes consumers are omniscient.
  3.  It presumes business owners and advertisers would never mislead customers.
  4.  It presumes the best possible quality is always a factor in a purchase decision instead of quality relative to a limit of choices fitting budget restrictions.
  5. It presumes that the people with the most money in society have rightfully earned it through the public purchase consent relating to their high quality goods and that they serve our best interest.

Point 1 is clearly false. There exists an extremely large gap between the wealthy and the poor. In a capitalist system, how much money you have dictates your voting power.

Point 2 is proven false by one simple example. The next time you go to the grocery store look around at all the various competing items. Do you know anything about these items? Do you know the difference between the various companies producing the items? Of course not, you’d have to grocery shop for an endless amount of time before you could actually make informed decisions based on what you buy (what you vote for).

Point 3 should be viewed through the scope of the profit motive. Business owners have a high profit motive to mislead consumers into buying their product. Considering their product the freshest or the healthiest product available places the product in good graces with potential consumers, even if it false advertisement.

Point 4 regards the idea that you vote with your dollar. Unfortunately, not all of us are wealthy and often have to make sacrifices that we don’t want to make such as buying a low quality item compared to a higher quality one. By doing this, we inadvertently “vote” for the cheaper, less durable item. This has disastrous effects on the environment (think of the trash build up from low quality items).

Point 5 claims that people who have gained wealth have done so properly and based off the public’s feedback and desire for the individuals goods or services and thus, are ideal representatives of the public. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell do not want the wealthy having that much voting power.

All in all, this is a short version of the interactive presentation that Jen Wilding gave during Z-day 2015. For more lectures on similar topics, checkout TZM’s official YouTube channel.

Three Questions: What do you Propose?

Earlier this week, Peter Joseph and The Zeitgeist Movement published a video providing three essential questions regarding the current system that we live in. Essentially, the group is asking for answers to these seemingly impossible-to-answer questions that strike at the heart of the current market system.

I firmly believe that if you can sit through this video and still feel that the current system must be maintained then you are either delusional or ignorant. Possibly, you have an answer to these questions that differs from the answers obtained? If so, feel free to comment via the YouTube link and let them know your answer to these questions.

Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xGyKuyGhaE&feature=share

Read more for Questions / Answers. Continue reading Three Questions: What do you Propose?

How Capitalism Influences Resentment

From time to time, in debating the factors of capitalism with staunch pro-capitalists, I run into the argument that without capitalism there would be no way to properly value someone’s work compared to another persons effort. Examples of this may be where person A and person B work the same amount of time, but person A produces 10x more than person B. Capitalists may argue that person A’s worth is 10x more than person B’s, and demand rightful recognition or ‘pay’. Another extreme example is when one person works 60 hours a week while another person spends all of his/her time watching TV and drinking beer. They argue that without capitalism there would be no way to properly assign value (or resources) to each circumstance.

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This argument is highly disturbing to me as it determines one’s worth based on how fast and efficient you can produce things. In a capitalist system, growth is the only concern and if you can’t keep up you are valued less. This type of attitude inherent within capitalism is damaging to our relations with one another. The growing resentment over someone not doing as much work as you is not something that we want to advocate.

I find it largely unlikely that people would exist to simply watch TV and drink beer and have no further desires in a future society built around community, but even if this were the case, I would have no problem with making sure their basic needs are met in a community (food, water, and shelter).
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Another topic similar regards the welfare state. Many hard-working people complain about paying for the welfare checks of “lazy” people. They blame the poor work ethic and lazy efforts of those without a job while praising how hard they work. In this scenario, they don’t understand how detrimental the current system is on society. Capitalism has created this mess and it will continue to get worse. Before taking a stab at others, remind yourself that it could be you next year on the welfare line when a robot steals your job. Robots don’t care how hard you work, they can work harder. Instead of belittling others, stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters for an injury to one, is an injury to all. Without this type of attitude, we can’t hope to rise above the vast problems that face humanity.

Pro-capitalists assume the invisible hand of the free market does the job of rewarding those who work hard, however this couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Instead of degrading others for doing less than you, or being less talented than you, you should feel fortunate for your abilities to be able to accomplish as much as you do. That’s it. It stops there. Don’t force anything on others, and don’t expect such a high productivity level out of everyone. People have different skills and develop at different rates. We also presently live in a society that ultimately suppresses these things. In a future, community based society, desires and talents will likely flourish. In the meantime, don’t make the mistake of degrading human life because others may not be as disciplined as you are or may not wish to produce as fast as you can. Everyone deserves the right to food, shelter, and water, and we have the ability to make this a reality today.

Critique of Capitalism Pt. 2

Critique of Capitalism Pt. 2

Originally, I had planned to make my critique fit into one post. Unfortunately, the following issue proved much too vast to fit into one blog post.

Structural Violence

Structural violence refers to systematic ways in which social structures harm or otherwise disadvantage individuals.  Structural violence is subtle, often invisible, and often has no one specific person who can (or will) be held responsible (in contrast to behavioral violence). – structuralviolence.org

Structural violence exists in many forms. Capitalism creates perpetual and constant inequality by its structural design. Really, it’s rather simple to understand. Capitalism depends on the faulty sense of human nature stating that humans are inherently greedy and will always seek what is best for themselves. Everything is a competition in the monetary system. Due to this, there will be winners and losers inevitably. Essentially, this is the definition of inequality. Pro-capitalists like to argue that this is for the betterment of humanity as the overall well-being of life is raised for everyone. They may argue that capitalism has raised everyone’s standard of life, even though the gap of inequality continues to grow. While this is true, the poor today are better off then the wealthy from long before, this remains inadequate in solving the psychological and physical ramifications of inequality.

Continue reading Critique of Capitalism Pt. 2

Critique of Capitalism Pt. 1

Critique of Capitalism Pt. 1

It is critical to define terms prior to the discussion. For the purposes of this post, Capitalism refers to all general forms ranging from the so-called ‘Corporatism’ that we see today to the ‘Free Market Capitalism’ that many libertarians are hopeful for. The reason why I connect these seemingly different forms of Capitalism is because I believe that Corporatism is simply an inevitable output of the function that is ‘Free Market’ Capitalism.

If we were to erase all debts, eliminate all government programs and start from scratch by tomorrow inevitably in ‘x’ amount of years we would be back to the same inefficient and unsustainable monetary system that we see in today’s world. This is capitalism in its truest sense. Why? Well, capitalism preaches competition and subscribes to the brutal force of the invisible hand referencing individual’s freedom to make their own decisions and thus their successes and failures. Therefore, it is only logical (and inevitable) that monopolies and corruption will exist. Wow, hold on there, let’s do some thinking before jumping to such conclusions.

Continue reading Critique of Capitalism Pt. 1