Money is stupid


When will we have a monetary system that isn't run on emotion? A system where the feelings of traders and bankers and consumers wildly affect our financial security?

Short answer: never.

Money is just an imaginary construct anyway. What makes us think that something we've collectively agreed to believe in will ever be free from the whims of our chemical brains?

We choose to believe in money. So when our faith gets weak, of course our money gets week. How could it not?

But what other system is possible?


  1. Money is just an imaginary construct anyway. . . . So when our faith gets weak, of course our money gets week.

    It's not such an irrational faith when the U.S. government is determined to maintain the value of the currency by maintaining reasonable scarcity.

    Also, a moderate fall in the dollar isn't actually the worst thing in the world--it's basically the only reasonable way to shrink our trade deficit.

  2. .

    Ha! That's a good point. Might help with the national debt as well, in a make-believe sort of way.

  3. It used to mean something...but LBJ saw us off the gold-standard, so now, well, it's all imaginary.

    This is also why it's good to have a President that's viewed well overseas, because that comes to mean we're viewed better as a nation, which means that our imaginary currency can be imagined to be worth more.

    But Bawb does have a point. Let's make-believe that we've paid the other countries. What do you say, Theric?

  4. .

    Sounds fun!

    But gold is make-believe too. Who says it's worth anything? We've all just kind of agreed that it is. There's nothing inherently all that valuable about it. It's rare. It makes nice teeth. Some people think it's pretty. That's about it. Why should that make it valuable?

    Aluminum used to be much more valuable than gold. Then we found a better way to work the ore. So it's not anymore. Even though it's way more useful.

  5. Tulips.

    Anything that is valued can be used as currency. Food in a time of famine is the ultimate currency (cause ya cain't eat gold).

    Bartering is a science, deciding what's of equal value that the other person wants.

    I've come to the conclusion that a good deal of what we may need our year's supply for is not just for us and not to help others but to use AS currency.

    Unfortunately, I get fat and unhappy and sick on grain products, so I'd store it ONLY as possible currency. When you think about disasters (albeit not hurricanes and tornadoes and fires and such that'll wipe you out), you have to think about what you need to survive: food, shelter, warmth, water. All equally important, all of which would become currency right quick.

    Our economy started hitting the skids with FDR and a "chicken in every pot."

  6. .

    I was about to push that line from FDR to Hoover, but in doublechecking, I found this.

    I had never thought of buckets of grain as potential currency, but of course, given a big enough (lengthy enough) disaster, that's exactly what it would be come.

    And a bag of chocolate chips would make you Rockefeller.

  7. I just spent 6 hours in classes talking about Marxism/materialism/post-structuralism, etc. I think we came to the conclusion that the problem of our society is that we have put our faith in a simulacra of a simulacra. Or something like that. My brain hurts too much right now...

    And I realized last night that I have consistently spent more money than my income during every month of the last year. I think I'm having my own personal credit crisis. Time to get back to using real money instead of credit I guess.

  8. .

    So to speak.

    I've been thinking about this this evening and I think part of the reason I don't want a job in high finance is because I have no faith in that religion. I don't believe in the god of money, not even a little. I don't think there's anything real there to find. It's just a convenient fiction to grease our wheels.

    Fascinating that this is easier to accept than, say, a united order.

  9. "But what other system is possible?"

    I ask myself that question all the time. And I couldn't agree more with your title.

    In spite of being a business major, this (our monetary system) is one of the most distasteful things in the world to me. Everyone's always saying that the most important reason for being in business is to make money. I just can't accept that. I prefer to believe those people who they say that they're out to serve others and provide for needs, but the money thing is the devil that lives in your back pocket as a business person. You can't just get what you need to do what you should. You have to have money first.

    If people could just recognize the imaginary nature of the system AND alter their behavior accordingly, we would have a united order, I think. We would be able to live by those noble motivations that get so many good people into business without worrying about the corruption that comes from money and the influence that too often accompanies it.

  10. Re simulacrum

    The exchange of currency for goods or services is simple bartering with one commodity universally valued at X. Anything you think is of worth to another person, who has something you think is of worth, and you want to trade--currency/bartering. "Money" is just one form of it.

    Re the religion of high finance

    I don't think that's a fair representation because, perhaps, some people do view it as a faith, but a lot of people view it as a puzzle and some people understand that it's a game of skill and chance, heavy on the skill. High-dollar gambling with better odds than at the casinos, and better science on the player side of the equation.

    So I guess I'll be the first one to say I don't think money (currency) is stupid. It just is. And it needs to be dealt with. How one deals with it is, IMO, personality driven.

    Money is useful. More money is more useful. You can't help others if you have nothing yourself and if you have the wherewithal to make the money to help others, then do so. Or don't.

    I don't think it's a virtue to be poor and I don't think it's a sin to have money, nor do I think it's a good thing to break your back 24/7 just to subsist.

    The thing about the ants and the grasshoppers really bothered me for years and I didn't know why. Obviously, it was a morality tale against laziness (grasshoppers) and for shoring up against the future. But the ants... What could they have learned?

    Store more. Be more efficient. Rotate stock so you don't have to work as hard to get the same result.

    I prefer to believe those people who they say that they're out to serve others and provide for needs,

    I don't. It tells me they aren't providing for their own well enough to start spreading the love and is, therefore, wobbly. I prefer people who say, "Show me the money" and create something stable, then go quietly out and serve others' needs on their own time.

    Money, having money, not being in debt, letting your money do the work for you (Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the western world--I guess I don't have to be lecturing you, Adam ;) ) gives you time and resources to help others who don't have the ability to do that.

    And let's face it--not everybody can do that. A United Order only works when everyone is in the job they do best and, preferably, ENJOYS it, WITHOUT envy, without someone thinking that someone else has too much (because that's where the trouble always starts) and starts thinking of ways to take it away from them.

    Quite frankly, not everyone who wants to be good with money has the temperament or the personality for it and so is incapable of doing what the person with money does.

    In our current fix, the "money" that was used in exchange for goods and services was never printed by our government.

    That's a far different matter from [insert currency of your choice]. Tulip bulbs were solid. Gold is solid. Paper money, coins, solid--or, well, as Kengo Biddles pointed out, when we had gold backing it up. Because gold is solid. You can see it touch it, store it, and produce it on command.

    ::whew:: Out of breath. Gotta get back to work.

  11. "I don't think it's a virtue to be poor and I don't think it's a sin to have money, nor do I think it's a good thing to break your back 24/7 just to subsist."

    I agree. We should all be able to have sufficient for our needs without really worrying too much about it. "Consider the lilies," and all that. There are other things to think about that are more important.

    There's nothing wrong with being rich, but we should remember Christ's words to the rich young ruler. Philanthropy is the way to go if you're in that situation - if you ask me, which nobody did.

    Mojo, you make interesting points about the ants and grasshoppers.

    I also see your point here: "I prefer people who say, 'Show me the money' and create something stable, then go quietly out and serve others' needs on their own time."

    However, I don't agree with the prior statement: "I don't. It tells me they aren't providing for their own well enough to start spreading the love and is, therefore, wobbly."

    In my experience, people want to help other people. Sometimes they don't have the means to do it independently, so they start an organization to do it. Because of the (stupid) monetary system, they can't just do it without becoming wobbly, as you say. It requires resources, which brings money into the equation. This means that these well-meaning people have to spend their resources on things like marketing, finding sponsorship, legal issues related to trade, etc., because the operation has to be financially stable and legal. This takes a lot away from what they want to be doing, which is just helping people. I'm sure you remember that Joseph Smith was a terrible business man because he couldn't bear to see needy people go away lacking because they lacked money. Nevertheless, the Lord commanded the opening of a store to bless the people.

    I don't see how wanting to organize in the behalf of others implies personal instability.

    Let me put my original point another way. Lets say that I have some resources with which I am not content to bless my own family, but want to range throughout the whole world, anxious to bless the entire human race. I also have a vision of how to do this. Because of the time it takes, however, I can't do it without giving up or seriously reducing my gainful employment. This would bring my family onto unstable ground. What are my options? I can not use my resources for the benefit of others. I can use them inefficiently in my spare time. I can organize and enlist others to help me. I can do it full time as I want to. Unless I'm missing something in my options, I can't give my vision the time I need without using my resources to bring in some sort of financial gain - else my family would fall, which is not acceptable. But I don't want money to be the focus of my efforts. It is not the focus. It is a necessity that I hate having to give attention to but that drives possibility for me in my endeavor. The reason I hate it is that if I can't get people to give me enough of their hard-earned money, I can't accomplish my aim. I don't want their money, I want to help them. But I need their money to help them.

    I think there are thousands of people like this who start just wanting to help, but the necessity of money turns them from the purity of their original motivation.

    There is enough and to spare here, but I'm worried that we're coming to a point where you can buy anything in this world with money, but you can't get anything - even the necessities of life - without it. And getting money is increasingly difficult and requires a more and more predatory mindset for many people. This is the system's fault in my opinion.

    I agree with you about bartering and all that. I only think that the way it currently works is wrong. But there's the question we started with again: what do we replace it with?

    The problem may arise from desire for personal gain as opposed to cooperative gain. The two don't have to be opposed to each other, but they too often are.