There is, among some of my friends, the belief that I am all about money. I do talk about it quite a bit on this blog and most of my economics posts seem to center around money. I guess I only have myself to blame for not making things clearer.
Most of us do not value money for its own sake, but for the possibilities that it represents. When you have x amount of dollars, you can turn that amount into a computer, a hamburger, a charitable donation, a trip, education, or any number of other things. Naturally, we all prefer having more things/experiences, or at least higher quality things/experiences than less.
What people seem to discount (no pun intended) is how we get it. The bottom line is that we can only get money by doing something that other people want. The potential for making money is directly related to how great a want we satisfy. Working, and profiting from that work, is a benefit to society. As you profit, you employ others for your wants. Other people can make your lunch, drive you to work, clean your suit, educate your children, or whatever comes into your mind.
This is the real definition of a wealthy society. People use dollars to satisfy their wants and they can only get them by satisfying the wants of others. The more people that do this, the wealthier we are. Not because of the dollars, but because of the services and products we make for others.
Too many people make an artificial distinction between monetary freedom and “personal” freedom. They are the same thing, this is what economics is all about. Somehow people have gotten it into their heads that things like taxation and education are not related. They think that we can discuss health care and civil liberties as separate topics. No one seems to see the connection.
If you restrict things on the monetary side of things, you will eventually impact things on the freedom side of things. Imagine that taxes have to go up in order to pay for some things. The money you pay in taxes is diffused throughout the country so you will inevitably not see the direct effect of your money paid to the government. So you end up getting less money for the same amount of work, or you work more for the same amount of money. Monetary issues have taken away some of your time, liberty has been lost to a monetary measure. The same thing happens with any regulation that increases the cost of a product or service. We must work more for the same benefit…
If you curtail liberties, it will eventually impact the wealth of the nation. Remember, wealth is determined by people satisfying wants and needs of other people. For people to achieve their potential, they must be free to pursue what is important to them. Remember, there are always two people behind every transaction. They must be free to pursue what is important to them, and be free to pursue what is important to others. Doing both of those things is the very definition of wealth, you can’t have wealth without freedom.
In order for society to function, there needs to be some limits, I’ll admit that. But I tend to lean more towards things like prohibiting murder and leaving things like marriage, food, recreational chemical usage, etc. up to the individual.
So the thing that I have as my primary subject in my posts is not money, but freedom. Money is usually a good short hand method for talking about freedom and liberties in general. Most people tend to only look at liberty OR money, I want people to reconnect those concepts…