Ming the Mechanic:
Money and the Crisis of Civilization

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Money and the Crisis of Civilization2008-10-14 19:56
19 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Brilliant article by Charles Eisenstein. Maybe nothing I didn't already know, but plenty that strangely has remained secret for most people. What money really is, where it is coming from, and why things aren't going well for "the economy". One should learn it in school, it should be explained on billboards. There should at least be programs about it on TV. But no, I've never seen any program on TV that even hinted at it. Strange, as it is so shockingly simple.
There is a much deeper crisis at work as well, a crisis in the creation of goods and services that underlies money to begin with, and it is this crisis that gave birth to the real estate bubble everyone blames for the current situation. To understand it, let's get clear on what constitutes a "good" or a "service." In economics, these terms refer to something that is exchanged for money. If I babysit your children for free, economists don't count it as a service. It cannot be used to pay a financial debt: I cannot go to the supermarket and say, "I watched my neighbor's kids this morning, so please give me food." But if I open a day care center and charge you money, I have created a "service." GDP rises and, according to economists, society has become wealthier.

The same is true if I cut down a forest and sell the timber. While it is still standing and inaccessible, it is not a good. It only becomes "good" when I build a logging road, hire labor, cut it down, and transport it to a buyer. I convert a forest to timber, a commodity, and GDP goes up. Similarly, if I create a new song and share it for free, GDP does not go up and society is not considered wealthier, but if I copyright it and sell it, it becomes a good. Or I can find a traditional society that uses herbs and shamanic techniques for healing, destroy their culture and make them dependent on pharmaceutical medicine which they must purchase, evict them from their land so they cannot be subsistence farmers and must buy food, clear the land and hire them on a banana plantation -- and I have made the world richer. I have brought various functions, relationships, and natural resources into the realm of money. In The Ascent of Humanity I describe this process in depth: the conversion of social capital, natural capital, cultural capital, and spiritual capital into money.

Essentially, for the economy to continue growing and for the (interest-based) money system to remain viable, more and more of nature and human relationship must be monetized. For example, thirty years ago most meals were prepared at home; today some two-thirds are prepared outside, in restaurants or supermarket delis. A once unpaid function, cooking, has become a "service". And we are the richer for it. Right?

Another major engine of economic growth over the last three decades, child care, has also made us richer. We are now relieved of the burden of caring for our own children. We pay experts instead, who can do it much more efficiently.

In ancient times entertainment was also a free, participatory function. Everyone played an instrument, sang, participated in drama. Even 75 years ago in America, every small town had its own marching band and baseball team. Now we pay for those services. The economy has grown. Hooray....
It is first of all a shockingly well-kept secret that money is created when a bank lends it out, and in no other way. It is very poorly understood that when money is created, more money than what was created is needed to pay it back (the interest), which is mathematically impossible, except for if the pyramid scheme can be kept going indefinitely. And there's obviously not widespread understanding of the systemic implications of this whole thing. The system requires that we keep inventing more and more things that we can keep from other people unless they pay us. It is all a big scam, but you're hard pressed to find anybody who'd admit it.


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19 comments

14 Oct 2008 @ 22:50 by Tim @82.69.102.182 : If that's simple, I'm a banana
Eh. There are a number of reasons why GDP goes up. Some might be considered good - the obvious one is newer technologies increasing productivity. Others are less good - chewing through limited "natural capital" (economists say "land", both for renewable and nonrenewable natural resources), increasing working hours, or, as Eisenstein is saying here, moving formerly informal activities into the formal economy.

It sounds like he's reaching in places. "Create a new song and share it for free"? Before recorded music was so widespread, listeners paid for the performance, right? Musicians in a pub are paid for by the landlord, who benefits from increased takings. Buskers have hats. Should this yield gnashing of teeth about the monetization of culture?

Of course you can't say "I watched my neighbor's kids this morning, so please give me food", to the supermarket, because that's not how reciprocity works! You and your neighbours can, of course, watch each other's kids, if you and the neighbours both have any free time, and if you trust each other, and if you don't vitally disagree on some aspect of culture which has a colossal impact on parenting style.

And, really, "shockingly simple"? Nah. The value of a banana, or a potato, or even a four minute song? Everyday things. We know them from grocers and from shops and from kitchens; we understand them. The value of the entire output of a country's economy? Of a mortgage? Of an entire country's set of mortgages? Hell no. This stuff isn't simple, even if there isn't anyone with a vested interest in making it more complicated.

The big scam, in my opinion, is that you can throw one big all-encompassing theory and explain everything in one fell swoop.  



16 Oct 2008 @ 05:13 by vaxen : Debt based...
What you're describing is 'fractional reserve' banking. The Federal Reserve "banking system" is fractional reserve and based on the creation of 'debt.' A debt based financial system which benefits only those who are charging interest essentially on nothing.

It costs as much in pennies to print a 1000 dollar (misnomer)bill as it does to print a 1 dollar bill Federal Reserve Note (And just what is a note and what is a bill?). This system means that debt will never end for those who 'buy' into it. Another name for it is 'usury.'

The federal reserve insurance script, and most currencies in this world, are no longer based on real money which is gold and silver, traditionally, but can be anything which has intrinsic value and worth. The Federal Reserve currencies, most world currencies, stocks, bonds, financial instruments, are tainted, based on boom and bust cycles which the progenitors of the pseudo banking systems control.

They bankrupt people in order to steal something of value, i.e., real estate. Then toss the owners thereof into the street! Though no one can be said to own anything anymore because of the rigged systems of so called law, other than Commerce, extant and under the control of the financial archons of our day.

It is an entirely fraudulent system based on deceit and lies. Under this system people are naught but resources like cattle/chattel or textiles or...

And it must go if ever there is to be peace and wholeness in this world. It is a flawed system. Flawed at it's very core. You cannot pay a debt off by debt and a capitalist system which is based on having no capitol is a total lie and will fall, eventually, of it's own accord regardless of how much the deceivers try to prop it up. You are witnessing the beginning of the end of that phoney totalitarian system based on eternal war and eternal debt.

The thing they are hiding most of all is that there is NO money! We are challenging them on many fronts today. The essential, in any of their administrative courts, is that the US, and other countries, are bankrupt! Their fiat currencies are not based on Constitutional 'money,' which is traditionally gold and silver.

Consider these words of Murray Gell-Mann, co-founder of the science of complexity at Sante Fe Institute.

"Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole."  



17 Oct 2008 @ 01:58 by a-d : Funny, Ming ,
that we chose to post the same article at the same time!....(At least you knew how to put that splendid photo in there!.... I was soooo upset because I don't know how to pics in.... Scotty was the one, who helped me for years to put in pics for me... and then my hubby has helped me a couple of times.) Yes, I though that this article sums it up pretty well!.... Then again; rense.com is full of articles in these lines today... People are getting really pissed... of course, that's "The Plan", but to think there will be some twist to it all that these dorks did not take into count when plotting the shit.

I'm glad we are coming from "all directions" to "educate members as it were, eh?

Greetings/A-d  



19 Oct 2008 @ 20:01 by mortimer : Tim Is a banana

and the new zeitgeist movie is out - ZEITGEIST: ADDENDUM (RELEASED 10/2/08)

The first Zeitgeist movie goes through the gamut of the history of religion. The second movie, Zeitgeist Addendum is more about the monetary system and Corporations, it speaks of free trade and sweatshops etc, how profit rules over people.  



22 Oct 2008 @ 10:46 by Andrius Kulikauskas @80.65.163.10 : Obligation to Monetize
Flemming, you write so well what I have been thinking about and talking about recently - the modern society's obligation to monetize an exponentially increasing amount of our lives. I have started blogging at the PBS website where I have posted a "hardship letter" that David Ellison-Bey and I wrote to his mortgage company. His experience shows the many consequences of our economy's logic. Andrius Kulikauskas  


29 Oct 2008 @ 22:23 by b : New Civilizations
today  


30 Oct 2008 @ 19:11 by Ton ZIjlstra @83.160.170.75 : Interest / Pyramid / Knowledge Economy
Hi Ming. Indeed the 'money out of nothing' is an intriguing little aspect of the money system as currently designed. And also ironic is the role of interest. Even though it is a primary reason for inflation (because the interest is not created at the moment the debt is, and thus you always have to grow, i.e. charge more than just your needed profit), it is also treated as the primary 'cure' for it by central banks.

That our money is basically a pyramid scheme is something the know very well below the equator I guess, as they have been on the duped end of things for quite some time now. Which made it such fun to see analysts describe the Second Life economy as a pyramid scheme, where all it is is a small contained economy where you can actually still see the pyramid shape of the system.

As to GDP, my main reason for commenting. Years ago, Martin Johnnie and I postulated over lunch that in a true knowledge economy GDP would shrink, as the value of a k-economy would probably be outside the scope of current measurement. Blogged that here, including a few remarks of Noam Chomsky on GDP.  



9 Nov 2008 @ 21:08 by sindy @190.59.32.179 : Freedom
Today is a good day to die.. so am being short just like many that spoke out and saw, I so manage to survive for a while because I did what was necessary to give me enough time to see what is behind the scene...all food comes from underground, you cannot produce enough food to supplied this world and all is engineer by our santa helpers and the many other names they have.. there is no such thing as money.. that too the people fell for.. it is the said choice the natives not only america but other world tribes that kept the sacred script and law of one died for... they knew the out come and like many others that pass and remind the people not to fall under such material bondage as freedom was to enjoy life for a moment as it is physical and what is physical is for a time,,,,,, so enjoy it.. but no no we the hu-man became grrrrrreedy and want more and forgot the priciples of living into such embodiments.. we are and have to now accept the continuing of SLAVERY!!! AM ready for them to take me but they are only going to take the body as they seem to feel they own it.. on the cloak of ninhursag*  


19 Nov 2008 @ 13:26 by Corey @66.216.149.196 : My take...
Ive often thought about one of the flaws of a capitalist society. I am by no means an expert in financial matters but here goes...
The capitalist economy dictates that we work for money.
Our goal (correct me if Im mistaken) is to reduce work through technology and allow more free time to spend on our own pursuits.
These two rules seem to be in direct conflict with each other.
As technology saves work.. less people are required to work.. they are paid less and cant afford the goods that are being produced by this new technology.
Capitalism is in direct conflict with our ultimate goals... you cant have both.
As work is needed less.. will workers be cut back to 20 hours of work instead of 40? But still paid the same? No.
If a robot takes the place of a man at a factory. How does that robot benefit that man? It doesnt.. the man is now out of a job.
This pursuit towards technology in a capitalistic economy simply produces poorer citizens.. increases the income gap.. and produces citizens who cant afford the lifestyle that technology can produce.  



6 Dec 2008 @ 18:27 by Roan Carratu @98.202.60.98 : Economics
Economics... The use of symbols and an irrelevant and spurious
evaluation of everything in terms of those conceptually rootless
symbols has to end. The concept of 'exchange' between individuals is a
falsehood which humanity cannot sustain in the long run. Everything
comes from the ecosystem of this planet, including humans. The 'worth'
of everything is a function of it's existence, and not something which
has worth only in terms of human conceptualization and use.  



21 Dec 2008 @ 17:30 by Jan Karlsson @90.227.207.167 : Economic Psycology
As long as we have the majority of Earths population believing in the need for external authority in one form or another, we will have slavery.Economic and otherwise. On the other hand, When the collective consiousness of the population makes quantum leap evolutionary jumps (as I know it is doing right now ), we get a disolution of all systems that limit, controll and manipulate.

The trip towards our own liberation from these enslaving thoughtforms we call life, is going to be a rough one. Never the less, humanity, viewed as enlightened consiousness, will prevail..

-Trading life for economic survival is not liberty
-Liberty is freedom from both fear and survival
-No Life needs to earn the right to live
( Quote: Diana Luppi )
 



14 Jan 2009 @ 08:11 by Jan Karlsson @90.227.207.167 : Economic Psycology/Ego
Below is a letter I recieved as a comment to my comment here under this current topic, and below that, my letter back to him:

Hello. I agree with your blog, Dec 21/08 on Flemming's "Ming" Perhaps one day we will become Liberated. I do not know if we will ever again in our lifetimes experience "Liberty". I guess it will depend on what our interpretation of the word means to us. We will never be completely free of Fear as this emotion is what helps us to survive. It is the fear of starvation that gives us the incentive to plant a large garden and to build a root cellar to store this food in. It is also the fear of cold that makes us get out and cut up enough wood and bring it into the wood shed so we have heat to enable us to survive the cold winter that we know is coming. Have a good day. Bernard.

My comment to this letter:

Hello Bernard, and thank you for your comment. My basis for writing and expressing myself as I do, comes from an internal experience of freedom. Experience, not interpretation determines my use of words. One interpretation ( or intelligent guess ) that I have gone through, is that, If I'm experiencing this, so are other people. And indeed, over the past 20 years I've met many people who are experiencing similar occurances.

The baseline for what I know is happening is, that human consiousness IS, going through a radical change in it's makeup. It is what I call a quantum leep in emotion, mind and spirit( raising of internal energy level and scope of perception ), that eventually dissolves the level of thinking and feeling that has generated controll, manipulation and greed. All of which are traits of the human ego, assisted by its willing servant, the reptilian brain of man.

The above mentioned " raising of consiousness " creates a mindset that is geared towards compassion instead of competition.

Survival is a fact of life and not something that can be questioned or put conditionalities on. But when the the human mind and emotions are used by the ego and reptilian brainstem, it creates fear , based on the assumption that there is a "past-time" to learn from, and a future to try to speculate about and controll for the purpose of conformity, status quo and predictability. Given enough time, and that is definently the case now, The above mentioned fear-based mindset, will seriuosly impair human "knowingness" about WHAT life is at its core.

I wish you all the best...

Jan Karlsson  



9 Feb 2009 @ 22:03 by Roan Carratu @98.202.60.98 : What do you think of this movie?
It's called 'We are all One.'

[link]  



13 Feb 2009 @ 23:53 by FX @203.147.0.48 : Creating an Economy
Yes, many things that were once free in life you are now charged a fee to use or enjoy. This of course, provides revenue to somebody, either an individual, business or the government. In virtually every case these revenues result in job creation. And once a job is created, the entire process starts over of expanding the economy and creating more jobs.

So, is not necessarily bad, that some things we once got for free, we now pay for. Because of the simple fact, our income has increased much more than the additional cost created for those items due to the expansion of our economy.  



1 Apr 2009 @ 15:59 by chaiyah : Our future is the Past Revisited
I believe when all is said and done, and the astronomical changes that we are due have taken place, this planet will move BACK about two hundred years, back to the time when relationships mattered; when business was based on Trust and not on marketing; when simple answers were found for simple problems.

Chai  



2 Apr 2009 @ 20:50 by keith @98.164.237.135 : g20
I was watching the G20 protests on tv the other day and while I am not an expert on their position, the basis that the news station stated was that they are protesting an imbalance of wealth and that some people are rich and some people are poor and it should be redistributed. Which to me sounds like a great idea as I dont really feel like working anymore and I would much rather have the people that have worked to get money just give me theirs.
Ok seriously My question is that shouldnt these people protesting the g20 summit be protesting on the premise that there is no money and that this whole thing is a scam ?  



14 May 2009 @ 07:07 by Andrius Kulikauskas @78.59.191.246 : Hi Flemming, what's up?
Hi Flemming, How have you been? What are you up to? Andrius  


20 May 2009 @ 06:09 by a-d : Does this sum up how
"History" has been --and is-- written daily for the last --ooohhhh....-- 5000 -10000 years, or so? [link]
time for us ALL and not just Alex von Tunzelmann, to come to an understanding HOW VERY FAKED /PUT TOGETHER ; as in 'FABRICATED' all so called Social TRUE Events really are!....hence we NEVER have learned ANY REAL TRUTH about ANYTHING at ALL, by the SYstem we've live/d in these past 5-6-10000 years!
[link]
Learn more about Alex and her passion for finding out the Truth that the Controllers always steer us away from!....

[link]

http://www.alexvontunzelmann.com/Biography.html


Yes...when all is said & done, it always boils down to THEIR (NEED of )OUR MONEY= OUR LIFE(ENERGY to sustain their ,lives via the money!... So always always follow the money whenever looking for truth about any event today or ANY of Yester"days"!  



15 Oct 2010 @ 18:02 by Aruve @92.113.80.193 : sharing
thank you for that great piece of writing... i couldn't agree more.

barter and trading home grown food, books, used clothing & trading energy healing is something my friends and me do and it doesn't cost us any money.

sharing is a wonderful thing that can make us all come to love one another even more. our skills and craftsmanshipa shared art. perhaps more commune type lifestyles will become popular again... we can all work together to live and to love eachother and the planet.  



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