2020s >> 2020 >> no-1386-february-2020

Money: Icon of Slavery

Money? What does it do?

Who is to blame? You would need two very long arms to list the problems facing ourselves and this planet today. We all point a finger. It just isn’t us. We’re just going about our business. Trying to stay alive for as long as possible. What can we do? So we point the finger. The truth though, is that there is not one person alive today who is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. Nobody has instigated anything. We are all victims. Simply born into a system, that was ordained well before any of us came into existence. All we have done is try to get along within the dictates laid down by this system as best we can.

And you do follow those dictates. Because that’s the way it is. Always has been. How things are done around here. How you get on. So you go along. As best you can. Even when things are going wrong. You go along. Because that’s the way it is. Always has been. How things are done around here.

Essentially there is not a lot of difference between people. We all generally want the same. Family, friends, community and improving our lot, whilst having as much fun along the way as one can. Labour, Conservative, Green, Monster Raving? English, French, Romanian, Russian? Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh? We are all after the same things. Have the same fundamental beliefs and yearnings. The differences occur because we all differ in our opinions concerning who should benefit and who should pay. So we have conflict. Perpetual conflict between everybody.

Capitalism. When you actually stop and think about it, is absolutely absurd. It is a system built around the construct that somebody else should benefit more from your efforts than you do yourself. It is a system that, rather than give you your life requirements, actually denies them to you until you have paid due diligence with sweat and toil. And then ensures you continue to pay. It rations what you can do. It limits your choice and it takes away your very freedom. We all bemoan the symptoms caused by this system. Yet! We support it?

We give money the credit for everything. Built the world it did. Total rubbish. What did build the world with all the wonders we have created for ourselves is work! Hours of work. All done by people who are co-operating. Money’s only influence has been one of a coercive and controlling nature. An artificial construct that humans seem to think we need in order to facilitate. Intelligence and understanding would do a far better job. Everything ever built or achieved has been done because somebody somewhere put in a few hours of work. That is a reality. A fact. Money did nothing bar create an illusion of supposed wealth that cannot be attained by the vast majority of people.

The illusion of wealth. What is being wealthy all about? It’s something all of us dream of. And this is the thing about money. It does create an illusion of wealth. Something to be attained. What capitalism actually does is to take all the wealth of our creation away, and then dangle it in front of us like a carrot. True wealth is really down to access. Goods, services, housing, health care, weekends away, transport, leisure. Now, we as workers put in hours of work to create all of this wealth. We then allow somebody else to come along and say that we cannot have access to this wealth that we have just striven to create, because it belongs to them. And if we want access to any of this wealth, we will have to pay a cost that is way above the actual value of the item. Because profit has to be made. Does this make sense? Yet this is the system we all support. Wealth. Having access to the proceeds of our own work and not having to worry.

Our pursuit of profit is destroying this planet. Why do poachers poach? Or loggers log? Why do we over-fish? Or over-cultivate our land? Why do we dump waste into our seas? Or pollute the very air we breathe? We all know the answer. We have to make profit. So we have to cut a few corners along the way. How utterly absurd. We would lay this whole planet to waste simply to put a few extra zeros in a bank account. Good management costs nothing and all it requires is a little understanding and co-operation. Which tends to come quite naturally when individual self-interest is taken out of the equation and mutual interest is put in.

But how do we live without money? By actually understanding what holds the fabric of society together. Work, pure and simple. It is not trade deficits, GDPs or anything to do with share prices on the stock exchange. I am intelligent enough to understand that to live the life I have become accustomed to, requires a little work. I tend to believe that most people think this also. The combination of work. Different people, all doing whatever it is that their work happens to be. That is what has built this world and that is what will keep it running. Money? What does it do?

What money will do is always get in the way of something that could be better. It will always postpone a holiday. Is very good at inducing fasting regimes on days leading up to pay day. Will always prevent any political party from carrying out its agenda. Always make every little incident infinitely worse. It is absolutely brilliant at making you worry. Creating negative attitudes. Spreading disharmony. Feelings of discontent. Disunity. Abandonment. Just how long could this list go on for?

The way I see it, if you are working you are contributing towards society. A tooth on the cog as it were. So why should you not be able to then go and help yourself to what that society has to offer? Everything free. All goods and services, totally free, for everyone. Why does that concept seem so absurd to people? No matter what your present status is in life, it is a winner. No losers. Cake and eat situation.

COLIN ARIES