When you turn on your television (has to be yours, as I don’t have one) and you zap to the news, you will be treated to three different kinds of doom: Natural disasters are killing thousands (if not millions), humans are killing thousands (if not millions) and the economy.Diseases and war are very concrete but (mostly, hopefully!) far away. The economy however is vague but nearby (or at least, that’s what is implied).
“The economy” is a construct, or perhaps better, emergent behavior. And the reason it spells doom goes something like this:
Companies are not making enough money, so they fire people to safe money (or go bankrupt and the employees are still on the street). Because of this there are less people who have lots of money to spend, so companies sell less and are not making enough money… Rinse, wash, repeat.
It gets a bit more complicated than that, with central banks lowering interest rates so that it becomes cheaper to borrow, with the idea that this cheap money will be used to buy stuff, so as to get out of the vicious cycle described above. Which is not really working,..
“The economy” is a hopelessly complicated way of pumping around something else that we made up: Money; pieces of metal, scraps of paper and bits of bytes that have value as long as we all believe they have value. Once upon a time banks held gold which you could theoretically get when you handed in your bits, but they did away with that as it turned out we were all gullible enough to keep pumping around our scraps without it (and after all, you’d just be exchanging one kind of metal for another).
In the end we suffer for something that can only vaguely be pictured, that produces stuff that we only “need” because everybody else has it (ancient Romans did quite well without the latest Windows update…). The economy isn’t “for” us, it just uses us (be a good wage-slave during week days, be a good consumer the rest of the time). And as it’s “emergent”, we can’t even blame anybody for it!
Can somebody please tell me where the exit is?
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!