This post by Betty Lim is republished from Medium.com
Check out this video to ponder whether this is the paradigm we are in.
This extract from Social movements powering the future of money attempts to explain how the Age of ‘I win, you lose’ Nonsense (paradigm) has us blindly perpetuating the root cause of all our (biggest) challenges …
“ … our society is filled with hatred and violence. Everything is like a bomb ready to explode, and we are all a part of that bomb; we are all co-responsible. We are all the policemen and the victim.”Thich Nhat Hanh
What is the biggest challenge the world faces?
Is it humans, money, technologies, capitalism, climate change, wars, terror, diseases, mass starvation, wealth inequality or social unrest? Or is each of that a ‘silo’ tool or outcome of the system we depend on, with symptoms running the gamut of fear, distrust, anger, hatred, envy, biases, etc.?
All these are systemic challenges: They have their root in how the system we depend on impacts our behavior, individually and collectively, to perpetuate a destructive ‘bullying’ way of thinking and extracting, especially by the most power-hungry:
To survive, you must compete and fake it till you make it because wanting to win at all costs is what’s prized.
This core root cause hides in plain sight and you even call it Business-as-usual.
However, with its logic deeply embedded into our culture, you may not see how in a world where we all need money to survive, Business-as-usual very narrowly focuses you on how money is for your self-preservation — at your individual level — preoccupying you with surviving/competing in a silo. As money buys you stuff, pays your bills or you may receive some as a reward for being a super money-chasing machine, are you even cognizant of the system of how money influences your behavior?
Essentially, the systemic role of money and its creation. Can that be how our means of survival has increasingly been vested with corporations (aka ‘artificial persons’) that exist solely to maximize shareholder value/profit? Is that how the corporatocracy has been able to take over our lives?
John Kenneth Galbraith, the late Harvard economics professor, provides this systemic insight:
Twenty-three years after the Bretton Woods Conference (officially known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference), he published The New Industrial State to share how capitalism had shifted from a market society to a hierarchical“industrial system” owned by a cartel of corporations he called the “technostructure.”
More than half a century ago, Galbraith had observed that instead of being markets-driven ground-up, the economy was organizations-driven, top-down. Dominated by large industrial firms controlling around two-thirds of output in key sectors of the economy then, he saw how a global elite was usurping markets, fixing prices and controlling demand for long-term production planning.
Galbraith had further disdained the scientific pretensions and formal apparatus of modern economics, believing all that math and numbers-crunching missed the point. He was also known to have quipped:
“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”
In 1973, the year after taking up Mao Zedong government’s invitation to visit China in his capacity as the president of the American Economic Association, Galbraith published A China Passage to share:
“There can be no serious doubt that China is devising a highly effective economic system,” “Greater Shanghai … has a better medical service than New York …”
and considered it not implausible that Chinese industrial and agricultural output was expanding annually at a rate of 10 to 11 percent … “rivaling that of Japan.”
Rather than being Johnny-come-lately, China could have been creating the framework for a new global system based on Business-as-usual for a very long time: The Belt and Road Initiative and the Social Credit system being two of its latest endeavors. The world’s factory also harbors intentions to become the world’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) powerhouse.
Meanwhile, using money to laser focus you on self-preservation, the “technostructure” has gradually institutionalized money into our lives, drumming up artificial Scarcity to reinforce distrust and exploitative ‘I win, you lose’ behaviors — with value creation orbiting around money.
Have you observed or even experienced such Hegelian dialectic theatrics?
A problem is created using fear, panic and hysteria. Two polar opposites (good cop vs bad cop) surface, one opposing the other to create division (divide and conquer) so you (the masses) will clamor for a predetermined solution.
Over time, is that how the global elites have been able to turn money into a public utility for a global payment system — governed exclusively by Big Business — powered by us surviving for ourselves?
In this dangerous world, only they are our saviors because they NEVER see Business-as-usual as the key fundamental root cause — it is always us, the people.
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde
Money serves these key functions
- Transfer of value (buy and sell goods and services and pay debts/taxes),
- Store of value (accumulate to transact goods and services later) and
- The most critical, psychologically as a numeric unit of account (common measure for goods and services to be exchanged) so whoever has the most money and power can very easily control and manipulate you — e.g. rewarding (giving money) or punishing (taking away).
Meantime, whatever has the most meaning (e.g. love, trust, care, friendship, authenticity, innate gifts) cannot be measured. So, although we are all vastly different, money has enabled our value (e.g. time, ideas, skills, energy, passion, resources, rights, etc.) to be captured, standardized and monetized. Even weaponized, as we compete for attention, grades, jobs, promotions, market share, funding, etc.
Most of all, by transforming human value into exchange value, money allows business entities (middlemen) to systemically facilitate transactions and to take a cut. Legally obliged to pursue the bottom line, these rapacious ‘artificial persons’ have no higher god than growth. Once they take over our means of survival, we are held hostage — money lets them increase prices at their whims and fancy, including outsourcing their risks to jack up their bottom lines, and to do whatever else they want with us.
If so, doesn’t the systemic role of money make us their sources of profit and transactions, our toxic way of life? Hasn’t money turned us into (human) resources to power the system we depend on?
Byextracting our value and funneling that to the “technostructure,” our collective value and worth is rendered invisible but individuals with the winner-takes-all mentality are encouraged and rewarded.
The operating system of artificial Scarcity does not value humans
“If you’re in a system where you must make profit in order to survive, you’re compelled to ignore negative externalities, effects on others.” Noam Chomsky
Money is mandatory for urban survival. As escalating cost of living fixates you on self-preservation, too many will perceive that value only comes with a big price tag. Expectations honed by societal norms also reinforce that belief. Then as you use money to self-organize and to self-allocate yourself and your priorities, money scarcity will hammer this simple numbers logic into your psyche.
Once that becomes an unconscious lifelong habit of ‘I win, you lose’ (divide and conquer), you will be territorial over whatever it is you perceive you own. Psychologically ingrained, (the lack of) money focuses you on seeing things as you are rather than as they are. In the here and now. Systemically conditioned to take things personally, your sense of self-worth (ego) then becomes an unwitting custodian of Business-as-usual as your empathy, the long term and the system fade out of sight.
So, much like the frog in a pot of slowly boiling water, you may not even realize the human layer is disappearing — money lets you complete transactions quickly without needing to understand anyone. Already, no human is required to transact on online platforms. With billions increasingly engrossed with self-preservation, unintended and negative consequences can and will arise. As trust collapses, fear will then push you to blindly accept utter nonsense as norm.
To have you continue doing whatever it is you believe you must do to survive, unaware this is how the system influences you to systemically create booms-and-busts.
For example: As we scramble to survive for ourselves, we invariably create a mountain of debt for all. Globally, a staggering 97 percent of all the money is debt. As we chase after shelter, food, healthcare, education, energy, security, etc., so many of us powering the system willy-nilly also drive up the cost of living to mega insane heights, unaware:
“The financial system does not, in fact, consist of ‘national monetary flows.’ Nor is it made up of a mass of tiny, anonymous, microscopic firms — the ideal of ‘perfect competition’ and the economic analogue to the individual citizen. The overwhelming majority of private credit creation is done by a tightly-knit corporate oligarchy. … At a global level twenty to thirty banks matter.”Adam Tooze, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
Our post-war world economy was originally structured to prevent speculators from trying to attack fixed currencies. To keep money within the countries they were acquired, only long-term investments could move overseas. Oliver Bullough shares in the Guardian that this was to “keep governments from using trade as a weapon with which to bully neighbours, and create a stable system that would help secure peace and prosperity.”
However, Moneyland is also “a place where, if you are rich enough, whoever you are, wherever your money comes from, the laws do not apply to you.” Bullough calls that “the dirty secret at the heart of the City’s rebirth, the beginning of the process that eventually led to today’s stratospheric inequality.”
But back in September 1970, as US businesses grappled with the initial impact of globalization, Milton Friedman’s article clumsily rallied their key drivers to make profit their social responsibility.
Then on 15 August 1971, US President Richard Nixon ripped apart the Bretton Woods agreement, officially ending liberal economic order. As currencies became legal tender (fiat), Business-as-usual ushered in a new phase of globalization tethered to neoliberal policies. The movement of capital unleashed, the rich and powerful (including institutional investors) speculated — using money to make money — the world, their global casino.
‘Hot money’ (e.g. ‘eurodollar’ and ‘eurobond’) legally moving across borders has torpedoed us back to square one, exposing us to escalating episodes of debilitating instability:
“With the creation of the Euromarket, bankers in both countries [United States and Britain] ambled on a solution to the problem of how to reconstruct the London-New York financial axis that had been prominent in the 1920s.”Eric Helleiner, Treasure islands
Was our biggest shove into artificial Scarcity(and inequality) when our world economy legally became a global casino — covertly helmed by the failed Bretton Woods institutions?
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The Social movements powering the future of moneyebook is now available on Amazon. Depending on demand, a paperback can be in the works.
If you are ready for a paradigm shift out of ‘I win, you lose’ Nonsense, please please watch out for and sign our petition when it’s out. Once it reaches 10,000 signatories, I hope to have observed/figured out the initial guidelines to try to catalyse the shift to True Abundance where strangers anywhere can potentially empower and build trust with one another for everyone’s benefit.
To try to buck the Business-as-usual trend where Big Business retains all the key benefits, net proceeds from that very emergent initiative will be shared with the best crowd actualizers, very broadly as follows:
· 1/3 for core team
· 1/3 for best crowd actualizers and
· 1/3 for next True Abundance project.
But we have a huge chasm to cross first — to unlearn ‘I win, you lose’ so we can relearn ‘You win, we win’ by doing.