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What good is money?


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I'd rather just do my own thing as long as I can afford to live and people aren't annoying me I don't care. Money shouldn't make life complicated and if not having money is going to negatively impact my standard of living I'll get annoyed.

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Money is a lot of things. Mostly it is an abstraction of value and choice. I do action X, which has a value. People give me money to the extent that they value that action. X could be a good or a service. I take my money and I pick and choose things which I value: sandwiches and comic books and rent.

 

Of course, that's just how money works at my level. It's completely different when you have a lot, a lot being that you make your money by lending it out to other institutions. A lot being that you have a good that everyone wants, like oil. It's more like a living thing that wants to get larger, devour its competition, and not care where it poops.

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If our societies were set up where basic necessities like food, shelter, clothing, education were provided by common funds as long as you were part of the work force driving the economy, it might change our perspective on money. If you only needed money for upgrades on the basics, major travel, or luxuries, would it drive you to work harder to earn them, or would you be OK with just a place to stay, good food, healthcare, and schooling through college?

 

It's easy to look at money as the root of all evil, but it's also hard to think of an alternative that doesn't remove all the good things about money. And there are good things, like incentive, and freedom to experience. Having money can spark generosity just as much as it feeds the greed. I think as long as we're willing to provide common monies for common programs and infrastructure, we continue to progress. Often people who focus on amassing money lose sight of the fact that the common funds from taxes helped them get where they are, and they decide they're paying too much. It does seem like a focus on money, rather than on the things you build/create/work for to earn it, causes many to lose sight of important things.

 

Money is definitely a tool, usable for a whole spectrum of good and bad, all dependent on the wielder.

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It's the root of evil. Especially fiat currency. The rich countries rape the poorer countries based on currencies that exist as debt. NAH MATE. no chance.

 

The more advanced nations manipulate markets to make profits, shit the whole of europe + america intra lend with each other to debt they cant pay back so they have to sell more bonds or have a quick session on the quantitative easing or a 7 year session like america, fair play. I dont even question why america threatened china with sanctions shortly after the Shanghai's index fell so quickly, they were "attempting to hack trade secrets", well no shit, why did the ruble half in value after the crimea saga? Economic warfare based on a house of cards we as consumers allow to exists.

 

How about i'll give you some of this if you give me some of that.

 

Do you know how many EX senators hold chairs in big corps like haliburton. Follow the paper trail and you'll find the wicked witch.

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I see some of you don't like money.

Feel free to send it all to me.

 

From an ideological perspective, maybe ill take some shrooms and live in the woods though, then you can have my money.

Just to note after seeing 2 misquotes, the quote is 'For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.'*, not money itself is the root of evil.

 

*1 Timothy 6:10

 

My mention of "the root of all evil" comes from a song.

 

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So, money is a tool that can be misused like any other, but perhaps has greater consequences when it is. Still, lots of examples on either side, though I have to think that overall, money has done more good than harm. Maybe that's what we should be discussing, if you disagree.

 

Or, we could talk about an alternative. What would be better than money?

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Obviously any alternative would either be an ideology for a world wide political system or going back to the basic method of trading resources. Given the size of modern cities and the capitalist system were already embedded in any switch would be impractical bordering on impossible, however internally the idea is quite simple, a country should be totally self sustainable to the extent the government overlooks/runs management of micro communities such that every citizen has food, water, power and accommodation, then occupations dictate the relative standard of living etc. If you look at any community in a rural area you'll find they are perfectly capable of self sustainability. It's just the factor of population density that makes things complicated. This isnt communism in so much as everyone isnt equal and people arent forced into occupations by the state.

 

There are plenty of other more extreme and some what sci-fi methods aswell, like depending on you work ethic you get rewarded with points and then use those points as currency. You could say that this form of currency is the same as money except that firstly the points wouldnt be tangible objects or resources (which money always has been) and secondly points dont equate to resources the same way money does, you cant use points to buy 10 barrels of oil for example, you would be refined to items that you need or want that dont extend your necessity. So for example if you wanted to build a house you could spent your points on the resources required to build 1 house, not the resources to buy 5 houses because you know they will become more expensive. Also items you then own cant be exchanged for points, they can only be exchanged for other items which opens up a market place for trading of resources based on the value each individual are willing to trade that resource for, i could trade an old table for a new phone if the other person values my table as being of equivalence. That would eradicate alot of the exploitation of the money market.

 

This idea is totally sci-fi based, theres a film called "in time" (its not that great of a film but a good concept) where basically time is the currency, in the film humans have found a way to live forever but use the time currency to keep the population from growing exponentially. You take the concept of time as a currency as apply it now in the same way i did with points, essentially depending on your work ethic and product-ability you rewarded with time that you can then spend doing whatever you wanted (as in not having to work) but this would rely on the original system of your country being self sustainable and resources managed by the government.

 

Another option, though this doesnt eradicate the problem it just creates global equilibrium (as opposed to the gross production of slavery and resource stealing that currently exists) is to have a generic currency for the world, that way countries cant be manipulated for resources or labour as easily. However theres still the opportunity for corruption and greed given that some countries have masses of important resources while others can barely sustain themselves.


In regards to whether is money has done more bad than good then it's completely relative to perspective and subjective beliefs of what could have happened if money didnt exist in the first place. If you take perspective into account then generally most western countries (or people living in them) would say its done good because it has been a driving force in the evolution of technology and social advances, it also allows for opportunity such that if you try hard enough or come up with an invention then you can become wealthy and arguably deservedly so, it also gives complete freedom to the individual to use it as they wish. However in contrast to that is the perspective of the less technically advanced countries that have been either used as slaves or had their resources stolen, which is utterly unethical and corrupt to the very definition. In this respect money has been used as a tool to facilitate greed on a global scale, which is ridiculously bad.

 

In regards to money being the driving force of technology and science that only really applies to the last 2 decades where capitalism has been the primary facilitator in respect to organisation or corporations competing to make better products etc. Before then a country tended to gain resources from its advancement in technology and countries would trade out resources and land mass etc.

 

And then theres the argument of aristocracy and oligarchy whereby you (undeservably) inherit money and power because your great great great great great great granddad did well in war or because your religion allowed you to exploit other religions (Jews having banks and Christians being banned) giving a huge amount of power and influence to greedy people. Oligarchy is as true now as it was in the ages of colonialism where the invaders would essentially be oligarchs to some degree (or aristocrats depending on the country etc) Except now its multi national corporations, media and the politically elite (eton members etc) that are the oligarchs, anyone attending bilderberg conference falls easily into this category. Modern oligarchy is basically a system of self preservation, if me, my brother and my cousin together collectively owned 1/4 of the worlds wealth why would we want to loose any of it? we wouldnt so we'd meet with other such people to sustain our wealth, which is a horrible mis-justice to the capitalist system and to third world countries they exploit.

 

The biggest flaw in the system is that its a house of cards, made by consumerism, which fundamentally means we only have our greedy selves to blame (to some degree anyway). Even when we know a curtain company is driving slave labour or paying completely unfair prices for goods we still buy them because were lazy. And even when we know we are only invading a country for resources, control and money we sit back and watch, most the time supporting it because of our own countries self preservation. So i suppose fundamentally we can only blame ourselves, even if were born into such a corrupt system were still too lazy or ignorant to make the life style changes required atleast dampen the resource stealing and slavery.

 

Threfore i can only say money served its purpose and is a bad thing because we as individuals are instinctively greedy an lazy and hence propagate corruption and control.

Edited by DevilSolution
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...If you look at any community in a rural area you'll find they are perfectly capable of self sustainability. ...

I don't think so. These folks rely on all manner of products and resources they can't produce. They also can't produce many parts to fix those products, such as ball bearings and the like.

 

In regards to money being the driving force of technology and science that only really applies to the last 2 decades where capitalism has been the primary facilitator in respect to organisation or corporations competing to make better products etc. Before then a country tended to gain resources from its advancement in technology and countries would trade out resources and land mass etc.

Again I don't think so. Were it true, the quote from millennia ago that I gave from 1 Timothy wouldn't exist. That is to say, folks back then were using money to raise and equip armies and pay soldiers, as well as common folk using money to pay for having things built such as boats or houses.

 

People came up with the idea of money because as I first said, it is convenient. If you raise cattle then you may have meat and milk to trade but not everyone that has something you want necessarily wants or needs meat or milk. Suppose that person who doesn't need meat and milk makes nails and you want nails, then you have to find what that person wants in trade for nails and go about finding some chain of trades that gets you what the nail-maker wants so you can make that trade. Money cuts out all the intermediate trading which consumes not only resources but consumes time, and as we hear, time is money.

 

Money is not the skill of the tool, but the measure of the rule. :P

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In my opinion there is nothing inherently evil about money, even fiat currency. As other people have said money was simply invented because it is convenient.

There are many different concepts of “money” that would fulfill our needs of such a tool. Of course we’re probably all familiar with the idea that gold is the only thing whose value is fixed, but that is not necessarily true. Gold is not very useful for a whole lot, you can’t eat it. You can’t make any useful tools out of it because it is too malleable. The only reason it can be seen as having a “secure” value is because there is a finite amount of it, and of course because people want it (for some reason?).

 

Fiat currency actually has a genuine advantage over a currency that has a fixed amount like gold. When you are looking for capital to embark on some new economic undertaking you could (though it might be somewhat unlikely) run into the very real problem that no-one has any money that is free right now to lend / or give to you. Your project comes to a dead stop. With a fiat currency or fractional reserve system you can basically never run into this problem, because everytime a banking institution comes across an investment opportunity that they think will pay off / justify its existence they can just create new money, poof out of thin air.

 

A problem with this system is that obviously this slowly devalues money in general. This devaluation is even worse when an investment completely fails. In general everyone ends up “paying” for failure. Exponential growth of investments in such a system is unfortunately required for the system to remain stable. If you constantly create new money, you have to make back all of that money plus extra or you are not outpacing the inflation (slow devaluation of all money) that is a fundamental property of this system.

Neither system is perfect, its basically a situation of picking your preferred poison. I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand the way that trade, money and debt, work, and there is a lot of intentional misinformation / people lying in wait to screw other people over. Which would probably still be true in any economic system but the fact that ours is already complex and difficult to control doesn’t help.

 

I watched a talk at my university a little while ago about something related but not completely on topic. The talk was about what kind of role private investment and public support plays in the adoption of new “transformative technologies”.

 

A few examples of “transformative technologies”: atmospheric flight, electricity, computers, internal combustion engines, etc.

Definition of “invention vectors”: Research and development (prototyping engines, understanding physical laws regarding electricity / magnetism), building of infrastructure (cars need roads to drive on, they are pretty much useless without them), mass production / commercialization (transformative technology is transformed into a product sold to consumers).

What was really interesting was the results that these researchers (economists and sociologists) came up with. They identified around 12 (I think) transformative technologies since the dawn of human civilization and the private sector (private investment from companies and private interest groups for profit) had a significant influence in all three invention vectors for only one of them.

 

This transformative technology was electricity, the first commercial electrical grid around newyork from the hydro dams at Niagara falls. What is amazing though is that the private sector only played a significant role in at most one of the invention vectors of all other eleven transformative technologies.

This is interesting because obviously people always tote “free market economics”, or laissez faire as being the ultimate method of economic control. That when people only do what is in their best interest good things rise to the top, actual data does not support this. Most transformative technologies only exist because they provided a strategic military advantage to whatever nation pursued them, and so they did. Economic growth as a result of these transformative technologies eventually finding commercialized uses in society happened most of the time, completely by accident.

 

A very interesting and funny example actually comes from electricity. The first electricity grids were an entirely commercial venture in all invention vectors. Afterwards though the American government wanted to bring electricity to rural areas, basically as an act of charity to bring these areas into the 20th century and so they did. What is funny is that once people on farms had electricity they began to realize that it is useful for a whole lot of things, automatic milking machines, electric machinery etc. Productivity of farms increased dramatically creating economic growth, but this was completely not the original intent of the expansion of the energy grids.

 

So in my opinion not only is money not evil, it is also incompetent.

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In my opinion there is nothing inherently evil about money, even fiat currency. As other people have said money was simply invented because it is convenient.

There are many different concepts of “money” that would fulfill our needs of such a tool. Of course we’re probably all familiar with the idea that gold is the only thing whose value is fixed, but that is not necessarily true. Gold is not very useful for a whole lot, you can’t eat it. You can’t make any useful tools out of it because it is too malleable. The only reason it can be seen as having a “secure” value is because there is a finite amount of it, and of course because people want it (for some reason?).

 

Fiat currency actually has a genuine advantage over a currency that has a fixed amount like gold. When you are looking for capital to embark on some new economic undertaking you could (though it might be somewhat unlikely) run into the very real problem that no-one has any money that is free right now to lend / or give to you. Your project comes to a dead stop. With a fiat currency or fractional reserve system you can basically never run into this problem, because everytime a banking institution comes across an investment opportunity that they think will pay off / justify its existence they can just create new money, poof out of thin air.

 

A problem with this system is that obviously this slowly devalues money in general. This devaluation is even worse when an investment completely fails. In general everyone ends up “paying” for failure. Exponential growth of investments in such a system is unfortunately required for the system to remain stable. If you constantly create new money, you have to make back all of that money plus extra or you are not outpacing the inflation (slow devaluation of all money) that is a fundamental property of this system.

Neither system is perfect, its basically a situation of picking your preferred poison. I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand the way that trade, money and debt, work, and there is a lot of intentional misinformation / people lying in wait to screw other people over. Which would probably still be true in any economic system but the fact that ours is already complex and difficult to control doesn’t help.

 

So in my opinion not only is money not evil, it is also incompetent.

 

Why do you think debt is good? as in the creation of money?

 

The system isnt sustainable, its a house built on sand, we as consumers are the only ones allowing the system to exist via ignorance and blind faith usually.

 

The periodic recessions are proof of how unstable the system is, soon, in the near future someone like china could have a complete monopoly on the open markets due its work force, technology and population. They manipulate there own markets now (and so do most countries tbh) just to keep the house of cards standing.

 

A country can be in surplus its just very rare these days, its the accepted thing to have certain amount of deficit relative to your GDP and GDP isnt an accurate model of a countries economy eithe, just compare china and americas GDP and you can tell it isnt an accurate indicator of of a countries economy the fact that government investment is included just means that you can print loads of money and push it into universities or any project it fancies but that doesnt make it accurate. For example if america invested half the money it printed into say renewable energy then that effects the economy, if it instead decides its going spent half of its newly created money on pumping water into an arid desert so it can grow some flowers there, thats not a reflection on there economy. How the money is spent should be weighted.

 

All that aside you totally skip over the fact that western nations profit greatly from fiat currency while developing countries dont get the same AA ratings meaning they are not trust worthy enough. Which just makes the western world able to manipulate other countries to the point they have to sell their resources so that they can feed their starving population.

 

Not to mention people born into wealth get more opportunities just because there great great granddad started a successful company that gives loans to poor people......just goes to show that humans are not born equal and people born into poverty will be sucked in by it, with very little room to escape, and the system likes it that way, thats its real function, self preservation, the rich get richer and the poor get shat on.

 

And to top it all off governments are usually at the mercy of the banks, banks that create recessions but still give out billions in bonuses. They pretty much have a licence to as they wish because if theres a run on the bank the government has to bail it out or its citizens loose saving etc I could keep writing line after line of how corrupt the system is and how naive you are trust in it but if you cant see how the capitalist system is analogous to a virus in the way that it spreads and feeds of peoples greed while also growing exponentially and eventually it shall kill the host organism, us.

 

I dont know about the US but in england workers have lost all their rights, thanks to privatisation, our country barely owns any of its own assets anymore which makes it totally reliant on taxes and lending to other countries in a web bigger than the internet.

 

Bottom dollar is money is power, those that can control it can control the balance of power as i previously mentioned if you follow the paper trail back to its origins your will see who the power brokers are, but its not always as obvious as the rothchilds, rockerfeller and JP Morgan etc, there are forces at play in the capitalist system that almost ensure that those with money always come out on top, its like a game of monopoly, you've just started playing and are in old kent road and then find out that the all the other assets have been bought and have hotels on them, now try getting around that board with the initial money you started with without going bust. Goodluck to you.

Edited by DevilSolution
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Those are all good examples as to how the system can be corrupted, I am not trying to make the point that it is currently not corrupted. What I am trying to say is that while our current system of money / economics is systemically flawed it does have in principle at least one good characteristic. The fact that it is relatively easy to acquire capital to fund business ventures compared to other systems.

 

EDIT:

 

Furthermore, thinking about the other half of my post makes one wonder whether this is even a nescessary characteristic for an economic / or money system to even have. There is some interesting data that shows that a lot of events in the world don't create economic growth as much as a transformative technology / or technological revolution, and as I wrote before laissez faire economic controls often don't create those, or if they do it is usually by complete accident.

Edited by RuthlessOptimism
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Yeh im quite aware of government funded projects (like the Manhattan and Mkultra ) only joking, there a documentary on top doc about how the government invests in the technology and usually companies reap all the rewards with no recognition going back the government for giving out funding for specialized labs etc however they get the the tax money from the new technology aswell as having a highly skilled professional within the country for which ever field it is they were funded.

 

To be fair i have nothing to complain about, living in england im entitled to free health care, education, social services, police ( i also got my university education before the tories got into power so i got that on the cheap too) , they give you housing benefits, tax credits, child benefits, unemployment benefits, libraries etc etc

I think were probably the model for a welfare state to be honest. But im one of those people that dislikes unhonesty and with the current system you dont have to be a rocket scientists to see its many many flaws. I suppose if you were greedy then you would be as free as anyone to exploit the flaws in the system but eventually as i mentioned earlier a house built on sand wont last. The more people become aware of consumerism and the effects they have in other parts of the world where people struggle just for basic necessities the faster it will decline, or it will evolve, maybe a 2 class system of the greedy and the selfless or more aware.

 

Well i think ive said my piece, ive offered some fairy simple alternatives and explained i think the system is corrupt to its very core. I'm surprised more people dont agree, but then again when something works for you, your not gona break it i suppose.

 

I'll always be an ideologist whether i stick to my ethics or not, ill always argue the toss. (im vegetarian, dont buy nestle products and mostly buy from thrift shops so im probably going to heaven) Nah on a serious note its very hard to go against the system, where do you put your money from a company that doesnt pay in cash (not even sure if cash is legal anymore lol) and where do you buy your food? Its a big life choice if anyone decides to make it. I think any little thing helps, whether its not buying from a specific store because of their ethics towards farmers or choosing to go off grid and live an alternative life style.

 

sometimes ignorance is bliss and i suppose you can choose to bury your head in the sand but your only cheating yourself, if your a fully aware person of the mass corruption that surrounds the capitalist system and you make no conscious effort then you probably have your moral compass upside down.

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Just a little detour back to topic; Modern society couldn’t function without money or a facsimile thereof.

 

The problems of money are the illusions it creates and the fear that inspires:

 

That one’s safe with enough of it.

 

That one’s happy with enough of it.

 

That one’s better, more powerful with enough of it.

 

That one’s problems can be solved with enough of it.

 

And yet coins/paper/digital information can provide none of the above, because these illusions are so powerful; the fear of not having enough money can inspire such depravity and spite.

It’s little wonder that those with the most money not only, seem to, have the most ‘skeletons’ but also, seem to, fear the most.

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  • 4 months later...

its definitely a tool it could be destructive depends on who's hands its in. I think it is more good then bad because its mostly used for people to survive, its a way for people to exchange their work and favors.

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http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.full

According to the study above, more money is not associated with more happiness however, less money is correlated with emotional pain. Who would have thought 'balance' was best?

I personally wouldn't want to be a struggling student again, worrying constantly about how I'm going to make ends meet week after week. Being a recent graduate I am not on a great income but it's comfortable and I am able to do the things I love. I care about money, but I am not materialistic by any means; I'm a minimalist and spend a small percentage of my income after expenses on consumables but instead on experiences. I believe it's people, shared experiences, hobbies and leisure which make us happy (not factoring in the genetics or health).

I believe when some of you say you don't like money, you're really saying you're not materialistic.

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