Money is Not Human

Do I need to explain this? I think not, it is obvious.

But it is something we must repeat, and repeat often:

Money is not human.

Our relationship to it is puzzling. We made the stuff, and we can hardly live without it – but at the same time we feel it is repulsive, and is not us at our best.

And right here is where most people will say “I don’t want to think about it!” If you can get them to say anything at all. Most likely, they will just give you the evil eye, and shut the conversation down with a slam, without saying a word.

I think they are wrong – we do need to acknowledge that money is a curse, but one we cannot get along without.

We have to carefully keep it in its place. And be fully aware that we are doing this.

This is not going to be easy, because our global economy assumes that money is the ultimate value – more important than anything else. It isn’t, of course – and everyone knows this – but without thinking about it, they will act as though it is.

When asked to justify this belief, they might say that other values are indeed more important, much more important – but they are not easily quantifiable. Money has this powerful advantage – it can be counted.

But with the Information Economy, this is no longer so. Other things are just as important – ethical behavior, for example – as shown by the Great Recession – where the Money Bags took advantage of everyone else. And the Economy crashed. Something is wrong with a culture that allows this to happen!

This has been known forever – by the Greeks and Romans – who also struggled with corruption. But our highly advanced culture has not done any better at coping with it. What is needed is a better (a more transparent) way of handling money.

Secrecy in money matters gives some people too much money. We need to change our way of doing this – and change it fundamentally. But to do this, we have to make it clear what we want to do – limit the accumulation of wealth, by tracking where that wealth is – and where it is going.

Immediately, powerful voices will object, and object violently – and claim terrible things will happen if this is done. Terrible things, indeed – it would make them less powerful!

Assuming we can ignore them (a big assumption, to be sure) we can proceed to ask how this would be done. And the answer is Big Data (made possible by the Computer) – backed up by Big Government (representing everyone). Big stuff!

To really work, this would have to be done globally – to track the global economy. Clearly impossible. But the United States is a big country – and keeping track of the money there is possible.

This can be done – but will it be permitted by our Money Bags?

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