Money is Time 

Friday, May 23, 2014, 03:54 AM - Philosophy


It seems we, as humans, have an insatiable need to organize, classify, and quantify the things around us so we can understand and bring some kind of order to our world. ALL of our science is based in some way on math and theories don't become scientific law until ALL the math works out. We've even gone so far as to organize and graph every species on earth (there are 50,000 species of beetle alone), the elements of the universe, and completely map out our own planet, not to mention the moon and mars. Everything comes back to numbers and organization because it's the only way we can represent in a non-anecdotal way, not only to ourselves but also to others, the things we've learned and done. Math and numbers are always the same. Not just to you, but to everyone.

Money is just a numeric representation of our personal efforts, as far as we can reckon. The problem with money however, is that it doesn't have the same value to everyone, which clashes with our need to accurately quantify things. To a poor person a dollar is worth far more than it is to a rich person because they usually put more effort into obtaining it. To a minimum wage worker, $8 is worth an hour. To a rich person, $8 may only represent seconds. With such a disparity in the perceived value of money, the more affluent among us cannot grasp the real effect it has on others when they lose it, or don't have it at all. Would Paris Hilton worry about misplacing or spending $100? Not at all, yet a poor person would. This dichotomy is the root of almost all class conflict. When you can employ not only your own effort, but the equivalent numeric effort of hundreds or even thousands of people just by opening your pocketbook, severe imbalances begin to form and cause resentment.

But that's not all. Money can be taken from you. Someone can actually steal your time and labor when you convert it to a number. It's extremely hard to run off with an entire field of wheat, but you can take the dollar value of it and an entire year of effort is gone. It's the pain of the lost effort, or the attraction of easily acquiring the compiled effort of others so easily that has caused many of the worst wars in history. Time may be money, but money definitely represents time. Our time spent working. Take someone's money, and to them, even if it's subconscious, you're stealing days, months, even years of their life from them.

Unfortunately I think it's a hard-coded part of our analytical minds to organize, classify, and quantify, which means we'll always place some kind of number on anything we feel has value. That's why money has been around since the beginning of time and won't be going away any time soon. It's in our nature, as much as we don't want it to be.

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Comments

Seven 

Friday, May 23, 2014, 04:48 AM
First

HighAlpineCat 

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 04:48 AM
I've been forced to work 'under' someone because I'm otherwise unable to sustain myself from the land I occupy. Some hippy chick I used to bang said, "It all started when some asshole locked up the food". It made no sense at the time and it was entertaining watching her hop gates at outdoor bistros to eat wasted food before staff could throw it away. I'm pretty sure she was just repeating something heard while kicking the hacky-sack around, She was right though. Every form of corruption and manipulation is only possible because someone has positioned themselves to coerce work out of others. Food and water are at the root of that scam. At the current rate, Air will be as well.

Nature has no patience for such shenanigans and the balance gets settled with each new season. There are Billions of people living in areas that cannot support them short of water pipelines and trucks dependent on gasoline. The consequences of any breakdown to those systems will be catastrophic in unimaginable ways. It is guaranteed to happen given enough time. State-side we divert flow from the Mississippi to otherwise uninhabitable areas each spring, Sometimes communities get "splashed" several states away and those politicians get paid well by the residential developers. The river has actually 'shrunk' by several hundred miles due to this type of water theft.

There is a solution though. When communities build themselves around natural and sustainable resources, the opportunities for corruption go away. So does the risk of massive human die-outs and all associated suffering that happens when shit hits the fan.

Nietzsche 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 10:35 PM
I like this. I can appreciate your point on the psychological effects of money that you mention. The representative element of money definitely has its downsides. Because it is a physical manifestation of an abstraction (value), we are unable to properly register what it represents (i.e. what actually went into what we buy). If I work a white collar job and get $20 an hour, my perception of a $5 shirt is skewed. Fields were plowed, cotton processed, and designs made in order to produce the shirt, yet $5 is almost nothing. The unsightly experience of the people that produced the shirt is tucked away behind the dollar sign.

[Okay, on my second reading, I think you might be referring to capitalism here, in which case, disregard this point] I disagree on your point about theft. This is not unique to money. All that requires labor represents time. If you steal my computer, television, or car, you have effectively stolen my time. Money being *concentrated* value definitely makes the loss greater and more centralized though.

I think you might enjoy the very short essay "Time and the Machine" by Aldous Huxley. He describes the way that industrialism impacted the human experience by creating situations that revolved around numbers, time, and repetition. http://thispublicaddress.com/tPA5/archi ... chine.html

Zarniwoop 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 10:35 PM
It's funny. Some of us have managed to transcend this behavior...money is a symbol. Symbols aren't real. *shrug* Humans have problems with the simplest of things....almost cute if it weren't so destructive.

The only value symbols have are the value we give them, therefore money as a transactional mechanism, while most "feel" it's bidirectional, is in fact a unidirectional symbol. Translation, it's value and hence meaning are derived from one party. While market forces may shape or help influence the party's decision, it is solely up to the individual as to place value on his/her efforts, time, resources, et al.

This becomes especially clear when you have a large amount of money, suddenly things don't have such a "hard value" to them. Things that can't be purchased gain true value and things that can be purchased become devalued. It's a strange paradigm that most (since most don't get exposed to obscene levels of money/symbolic wealth) never experience.

Personally I believe the money issue is a rather easy one to address but it's because people still believe money is real, that it's an actual thing. Once someone begins to circumvent the monetary system using any basic barter/trade system, a loan/exchange meachanism of transfer or any of the other methods of moving goods and services sans a symbolic exchange mechanism, they begin to see the uselessness of money as an object. It's only if you liquidate that field of wheat, transfer it into a symbolic representation that it becomes a volatile asset; otherwise it's rather secure. Trade or transfer the value of the wheat directly skipping the middle step and you're free.

All of this becomes incredibly easy using a distributed model of production, growth and development for required items for modern life. All food stuffs should be produced using micro/macro method. Each home when built (or retrofitted using a public works project) could be outfitted with hydroponic/aquaponic gear. Each neighborhood sets up instead of a home owners association, another group that organizes neighborhood food production. (one house can do tomoatoes, one does lettuce, etc). Animals can be done in a similar yet slightly expanded fashion. Water also should be socialized and returned to the people for use, not massive industries to piss away.

Energy can be handled using any of the litany of next-gen (and even next-next-gen) technologies that have been purposefully stagnated.

Subsidize 3D printing as a municipal service and you then have rapid part production for every township/city/neighborhood.

I could keep going. Each one of these things reduces immediately and effectively the need for a transactional mechanism (money). Again, not difficult to fix these problems. It's just people lack vision.

You don't arrive at truth by exclusionary techniques, which all of science and math are, they exclude by creating categories. Anyone who regularly experiences the shamanic/universal/psychedelic/enlightened state of mind can end run these obsessions that humans seem to have with categorizing things. This form of calculus is not necessary or even required. Anyone who's ever tripped and had the sudden knowledge slam into them that all is one realizes how silly an endeavour this is. Like I said...vision.

With all that being said though, things are turning around. I fundamentally disagree with your premise that things are going to maintain or get worse. Too many people have been woken up to the corrupt nature of those that dare to state they control the world...I don't have any friends who aren't gaming the system in various epic ways. This wasn't so 10 years ago, now more and more people realize they're being fucked and working on fixing things around them. Within my neighborhood people are growing and storing food. I know multiple businesses who are working outside typical fiat currencies, making arrangments with providers and service companies to bypass banks and credit agencies. What appears as things getting worse are in fact the birthing pains of a better world. Money may be here to stay for the time being but it's role in our lives is going to decrease...

throwaway 

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 08:46 PM


A quibble leading to an alternative.

" ALL of our science is based in some way on math and theories don't become scientific law until ALL the math works out."

No. There is a strong scientific tradition of observation. Example A would be Darwin's theory of evolution, gleaned through naturalistic observation of species in their habitats. We can also speak of more "human" sciences such as medicine, anthropology, history, sociology, and psychology as fundamentally observation-based and not calculative.

However, if we modify your point to speak of the *dominant* form of science as a science of quantification, then your point stands (at least in the West -- I would hesitate to speak of other contexts).

I would argue then that one way out is to use observation and other forms of inquiry, rather than calculation, to find past practices or discern future ones that could provide alternatives to the system you describe, rather than claiming that all human activity is determined by an innate calculative desire.

In addition, even if we focus on time and money, there are so many practices involved in either that to speak of them as universals is empirically wrong. There are many time-practices that are divorced from wage-work, based on, say, natural rhythms, local customs, or specific contexts. Your point about money is more sound: it is relational, and more subjective.

To this end, what Zarniwoop is talking about is part of it -- people look to the past (past practices of agriculture; other systems of exchange) to make a different future. Eradicating a supposed universal (money) without serious thought about alternatives and what they might do (and not do) would be a mistake. So too would be the assumption that the only course is to fight our "hard-coded" quantitative selves -- which on the terms you lay out would be hopeless, anyway.

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