Life Without Economics: Part Two

Comments

1
Oh, look! Another uninteresting screed by the Stranger's Affirmative Action hire! And, as usual, no one gives a shit.

Someone pat Chuck on the head and tell him he's a good boy so he'll stop.
2
@1 - You realize Mudede lives for comments like this, right? The two of you are just feeding each other.
3
I was under the distinct impression that scarcity in modern life arises from positive-interest currencies. There are people willing to work, and there is plenty of work to be done, but spending money --instead of investing it-- is the thing nobody wants to do. Dollars are precious. Dollars become more valuable if you invest them (hoard them, even) -- but an economy works best when people are spending freely.

It's less about the *amount* of money, but the **velocity** with which it changes hands that makes for a vibrant economy. Positive-interest encourages hoarding, and reduces a currency's velocity.

If we had smaller, local currencies --like, say, the Ithaca Hour-- where there was no interest, making the currency less "precious" (investable), and a standard value, we could conduct exchanges with greater ease. Reducing the dollar's artificial scarcity.
4
Alternatively, some cultures could have fewer kids.
5
Viz the Great Depression: plenty of people wanting to work, and plenty of work to be done.. .but the limiting factor? No money to trade with.

What did people do? They invented small, local currencies which started to help situations. Only the authorities stepped in to quash these "emergency currencies" and force everyone back on the dollar, once it began to get its legs under it.

What if we'd kept those 'emergency currencies' going? Worked out the bugs, and were able to rely on them now to insulate ourselves a little bit from the violent tides and occasional tsunamis of the global economy.
6
@4 - They are. Population rates are dropping, the world over. But it will still take time for that to actually plateau.

Also, and this gets back to the economic situation more directly: With fewer kids a nation ends up with an "age wave", like Japan is doing, and the US & Europe is closely following, which puts specific pressure on the economy: How to we care & pay for these elder people when there are fewer "active workers" than there are elders?

Positive-interest currencies have little answer to this problem. Alternative currencies can actually help.
7
Wait wait wait, Charles. Are you saying the individual is an invented category? You want to abolish the individual?
8
@7 - You should read this article. In a sense, yes, the "individual" is a socially invented category. Sure, we are all individuals, but the social context of the US is that our decisions and actions and the results thereof are somehow not related to our social relations and the interdependent web in which we live. It is more complex that can be explained here, so I would humbly suggest you do your own research on the topic.
9
Back in the 80s when the Wealth Phenomena began to display itself, I used to watch episodes of Robin Leach's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. My brain's pattern matching came up with the conclusion that a rich person has a bigger house and a better car. This is at variance with the notion of the rich being "different from you and I". They are not. We are incredibly alike.
10
Scarcity is not completely invented: it's a function of what we want and our level of technical competence---the second is being ignored in this so far. Some things are very hard to do---this can change, the best example of which I can think were aluminium going from a precious metal (before the cryolite process) to something ubiquitous and disposable.

When I read some New Left and more coherent hippie writings from the nineteen-sixties, I was struck by how sure they were that all necessary work would be completely automatable real soon now---they were extrapolating upward from a 'easy-to-reach fruit' period.

And:
Shorter: Just as the State is fundamentally about the authorisation of 'deserved violence', the culture is about the delineation of 'deserved suffering'.

I wouldn't say that capitalist societies invented 'the individual', they just needed a different set of conditions attached to the concept---in mediƦval times and Christian places, no-one expected any individual to make their way without assistance to Success, since that was impossible and for the Church, undesirable...but each individual was expected to see to his salvation in the approved fashion and think it only right that they would suffer if they didn't do it right. Now, Capital doesn't give a damn about people's religion, but expect that an individual will think it only right that they suffer if they don't succeed.