First, let’s talk about money.
In Socialistania, “money” is an evil no good very bad word. It’s not to be uttered any more than “Merry Christmas” is to a stranger in December. Both expressions are seen to be insensitive and politically incorrect simply because they’re so precise. Not only is Jesus not all of our saviour but how could a single number represent all that a human being has to offer?
In Socialistania, the story goes, those with more money were simply lucky in their acquisition of it, and since luck isn’t fair and nice and everything twice, money is justifiably and necessarily reappropriated from the lucky few to the unlucky many.
This reasoning is further predicated on the belief that, since we’re all born with an equal ability to use money productively, everyone should have the same opportunity and access to it. Thus minimum wage, living wage, etc. are moral obligations. Nothing less.i
But what if, now hear me out, money wasn’t just a matter of luck? What if the accrual of money involved, God forbid, other factors? What if money was far more complex than a lightning strike on a golf course that could’ve hit anyone, anywhere, but by some unnatural force didn’t? What if, now stay with me here, money wasn’t so evil after all?
If true, this idea would uncompromisingly shake Socialistania to its core, eroding the very foundation of its mythology, and calling into question its various and sundry schemes, most notably coercive taxation.
But what is money anyways?
Money, at its simplest, is a medium of exchange that only exists when a given people have produced items or services of value to other people who have also produced items or services of value. This idea of production as the underlying source of value is non-negotiable. Without production, there’s absolutely no need for money. The fundamental root of money is therefore this: production.ii
But production alone is still insufficient. It’s also necessary that production be paired with thinking. This is why altcoins are scams, why smart contracts are scams, and why run-of-the-mill entropy is a scam. There’s production of unwanted shit that seems like a good idea at the time, but is in fact massively uneducated, and then there’s intelligent production: that which adds value, not just volume.iii
Intelligent production is undervalued at the peril of any society.iv And I do mean the complete fucking peril. If unintelligent production is allowed to gain more than a toe-hold in the market, either on ideological grounds or through personal favours, it begins to subvert the government apparatus to remove competition by overwhelming intelligent production with inspectors, forms, taxes, and an intoxicating number of regulations. With this anything more than the merest of toe-holds in place, unintelligent production will ensure that its host society chokes, sputters, and fails.v
Money is only made by intelligent production and is therefore symbolic of that function. Hence, it follows that those who cannot produce cannot have money. Simple as that. It’s not that they shouldn’t have money, it’s not a moral consideration, it’s that they cannot under any circumstances be permitted to have any.vi They won’t know what to do with it any more than they’d know what to do with airplane that they don’t know how to fly.vii Money is a weapon and should be treated delicately as such. Dishing out money to anyone with a pulse and wondering why everyone has too much debt and the world is awash in plastic is akin to giving bazookas to school children and being shocked that we don’t have a population problem anymore.
Money is a symbol of the intelligent productivity of an individual.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Money cannot buy happiness, it cannot buy greatness, it cannot buy respect, and it cannot tell you what you want from this life. Money cannot tell you what’s important in this world, it’s merely a tool – if an extremely powerful one. Money, therefore, is not in and of itself corrupting, but a magnifying glass into our souls. People like to judge and joke that they’d do this or that with their $millions or $billions, not what those others who actually have the money do, if only they themselves had the opportunity.viii Yes, the fucking opportunity. That luck thing again.ix
Money is an effect, not a cause.
It doesn’t matter if you treat money like a cause any more than it matters if you treat Obama like the President of the Free World. Nonsense thinking will yield nonsense results. Always has, always will.
As such, it’s no surprise that the destruction, debasement, or otherwise misuse of money is completely antithetical to a functioning economy. To debase a currency is to debase that economy – and its people along with it.
A debased people is not what we want. A debased people is confused, hypersensitive,x and ultimately unable to produce anything of value, much less even move in a direction in which they might one day be able to produce something of value.xi A debased people can, at most, consume and consume and consume in an sordid attempt to fill the voids in their heads as much as their souls.
With that out of the way, we’re ready to turn our discussion to that of net worth.
During a conversation with a friend last night, the matter of my own personal net worth came up; specifically, how much of “it”xii I figured was “earned” vs. how much was “undeservedly gifted” to me by my parents, and what I’d do if I only had the former. As I hope I’ve elucidated in the above discussion of money, this question is akin to asking me whether my other qualities, characteristics, and attributes – including but not limited to my jewfro-cum-manbun, my affinity for the theatre,xiii or my love of languages – were “earned” or “undeservedly given” and what I’d do without them. As if they had distinct and separable causes. As if it’d be an interesting gedankenexperiment to ask “What would you do if you weren’t you?”
A more interesting question might be to ask is: “Pete, what would you do if your parents sold you down the river like Moses’ parents did?”
Well, like Moses, I’d simply adapt. I mean, it’s not as if my inherited wealth is exclusively financial, it’s just that my non-financial wealth happens to attract the financial variety.xiv This is exactly how it worked for my ancestors 70-odd years ago in Romania when my maternal grandfather’s family fled from the Russians (because they were capitalists) and my maternal grandmother’s family fled from the Germans (because they were jooz). Both families left with only what they could carry, survived the war, and with a bit of luck, hard work, and time, voilà! Here I am.
So regardless of where and when and how Pete entered this world, I’d still be me. The path I’d chart would depend on time and place, as it did for those before me, but I’d still get where I needed to go. I’d still find the cheese.
Isn’t that what net worth really means?
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- This, of course, ignores the fact that money doesn’t grow on trees, or at least it didn’t up until forty-two years ago, and that injecting more trademarks into a closed system just raises the prices of goods and services, or creates more optimal stock where previously none was required. No additional value is created in this way, nor can it be, because productivity has in no way increased. It’s a scam of the first order.
Oh, you think that people who earn a legally-enforced minimum wage of x are more productive, by any consequential measure, than those who earn a market-driven wage of 1/x ? How the fuck do you figure that ? Because “if they earn more, they’ll have more time to spend with their families and on creative side projects, etc.” ?? Let’s think about this… seeing as how earning more trademarks doesn’t in any way mean that you have more purchasing power, and seeing as how pumping more trademarks into a system raises the tide of all prices, raising wages may buy a bit of time where purchasing power is temporarily increased, but anything resembling a market will ultimately reflect this increase in circulating trademark by increasing prices proportionately (and occasionally disproportionately, as is the case with hyperinflation). Of course, things are considerably simpler and saner in the Bitcoin economy where the currency inflates predictably. [↩]
- In Bitcoin, this production is the transformation of geographically isolated computing power and electricity into a geographically universal and deterministically scarce medium of exchange. [↩]
- This is the what separates the written words of redditards and those produced here. I completed my 6-month IRC Yeshiva. They didn’t. [↩]
- Thus the exodus from fiat to La Serenissima, where bright minds go to meet… and produce. [↩]
- There’s probably a magic threshold of intelligent-to-unintelligent production that’s permissible in a society before the latter inevitably consumes the former, but I could only postulate as to what that figure might be. It’s likely culturally dependent anyways, and therefore less precisely knowable still. [↩]
- This doesn’t in any way undermine the value of charity, it’s just that charity without a productive aim and to an unproductive person is misspent, in my humble opinion. [↩]
- And if you think I’m hinting at the fact that 9/11 wasn’t productive, what isn’t productive about lobbing the intellectual head off a giant and watching its headless corpse spend its final decade of relevancy loading a double-barrelled shotgun full of debt with which to shoot itself in the chest ? [↩]
- When you hear shit like this, imagine that the speaker is saying: “If I were a bird, I would fly north for the winter, not like those dumb ducks and geese who fly south. God they’re dumb. I’d do it so much better.” [↩]
- Besides, if you want to talk about corruption, let’s talk about potato science first. [↩]
- You think that widespread dietary intolerances to gluten, lactose, soy and a shocking array of other foods is anything other than an affliction of modernity wrought by worthless fucking USD? Ok, you keep thinking that. [↩]
- This is manifest in the “Why should I get in the WoT” argument. [↩]
- “It” fluctuating in the 6-7 figure range in 2014. Granted, this is nowhere near MP’s 9-10 figure range, but he has a few years on me. Fun fact: MP is currently worth as much as 24-year-old country music singer Taylor Swift. See? It’s all relative. [↩]
- Stages, not screens. [↩]
- And as Bitcoin rises, any sum that I’ve financially inherited will increasingly pale in comparison, leaving… all the rest of my inherited wealth. [↩]