economics freedom

Money isn’t the problem, people are

This is something else that came up with my kidney post. it’s from a friend of mine and I think it’s a fairly common outlook.

I guess in my ideal world, Isaac, we stop our worship to the god Money, who rules over us now, and puts himself between people and life, fun, love, education, food, nature, etc, etc, etc. It seems as people make more money, and create new and better avenues to money, they also create bigger needs for regulation and protection to control the greed produced in its wake.

Wow, where to start? How about this, the greed doesn’t come from the money. People have unlimited desires, we always want more. Of course in order to satisfy all of those wants, this world would need to be unlimited as would our lifespans. This is a limited world. We are limited.

When economists say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch (TNSTASAFL), they aren’t really taking about money. What they mean is that something has to be given up. There is labor, and time spent on lunch. Now, we could incur that cost ourselves, or we could get someone else to incur it for us. Of course, if they do that for us, they expect something in return.

Ultimately, we are all engaging in barter. I exchange my labor for someone else’s labor. Some people make sandwiches, some people sell cameras, other people do other things. But barter is really unwieldily. If I sell cameras and I want a sandwich, I would have to find someone that makes sandwiches AND wants a camera. So instead of doing direct barter, we use money instead. We exchange out labor for money and then exchange the money instead of labor directly.

Peoples’ desires for more is always what is at the root of what people blame on money. Those desires would still be around even if money were to disappear tomorrow. Of course, a world without that unit of exchange would suck. We should all be thankful for the existence of money, it makes life much easier. People’s desires, or if you prefer, greed, has always been around and always will be. What we have to do is learn how to deal with other people’s and our own and stop blaming other things for what we see as wrong in the world.

As far as the government being the best thing in order to protect us from greed, I’ll just say this; the government is made up of people too. They aren’t special people, they aren’t above anyone else. They too, are subject to the same types of desires and greed as anyone else. The difference is that the people in government are able to wield quite a bit more power than the average person. Entrusting other people with that kind of power is asking for trouble, and boy have we ever gotten it. At best, I would say that the government’s efforts have not helped at all with the issue of greed. Of course they have done that at great cost, and I really do think that they’ve made things worse anyway. Inevitably, when government “protects” us from something, they give more power to some corporation or at least give them more money. Keeping a level playing field is best accomplished without government interference and it allows us the maximum amount of freedom to determine our response to other’s greed.

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