Thursday, September 18, 2008

RAW Thought of the Day - In light of the US economic meltdown.

"...an issue that agitated philosophers and theologians from Aristotole to the late Renaissance: how can money, an inanimate object, reproduce itself? Only animals can reproduce, right?

...Many, especially St Ambrose, analyzed the fraud closely and decided that it rests upon a monoploly over the coin or currency. Hence the Banks of Piety, which... lent without charging interest, thereby abolishing or diminishing usury.

By 1692, the Banks of Piety had ceased to exist... That year, William Paterson, founder of the Bank of England, boldly declared the miracle of miraculous multiplication in an advertisment to prospective share-holders, promising they would have "benefit of interest on all the moneys which the bank creates out of nothing." Ever since, we have lived in what La tour de Pin called the "Age of Usury." Others, more politely, call it Finance Capitalism.

All of us, born into debt, remain in debt all our loves and the debt will pass on to our posterity, multiplying not only miraculously but faster than bunny rabbits. Economists call it compound interest.

Money not only has learned the art of fucking, but even that of reproduction. The people who demonstrate agains the World Bank and the IMF have not invented an original and radical idea but merely rediscovered the view of most of the Western classics."
- The Thing That Ate the Constitution, by Robert Anton Wilson

As I watch financial news, I'm increasingly [with age] surprised as how everyone else doesn't seem aware that the value of money is something that is entirely made up. There is no "there" there, and whatever value we say it has is simply in accordance with whatever game-rules we agreed upon. Or, as usually the case, whatever value is dictated to us, at large, by the government or the FED.

The value of stocks, or of companies has little to do with what their "worth" is, and instead with the ideas that speculators and investors have about their worth.

[A brief aside, a lot of political libertarians point the US abandoning the gold standard and turning to "fiat money" as the first sign of financial mistep, resulting in whatever the current economic crisis might be. And that's true, as far as that goes. But they don't seem to follow through the thought process and see that the valuation of gold, in and of itself, is a process of imaginary values and guesses.]

Money is all made up, basically. An observation that helps no one and nothing as their 401k dwindles, but still, there it is.

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