How did it get like this?
2004-02-12 03:39:06 ET

So how did this world get so dependant on money and wealth? What was the turning point? Was it after WW2, when everybody figured " I don't wanna go through another depression" and started hording cash?
Was it when the industrial-revolution began?

See, I want to figure this out so that maybe, just maybe, we can find away to reverse the effects and damage that money has done to the fabric of our thinly woven society.

It'd be like blowing up all the headquarters of the major credit card companies and banks. All our debts would go back to zero.

All of us would get a fresh start, a clean slate, in a world where no one owed anyone for the roof over their heads.

We'd work because we choose to. Not because we have to. Nothing would have a set price. A pair of boots might cost you $100 now, but in my world, a commisioned 8x10 portrait of the bootmaker, or a few CDs from your collection that are just gathering dust.

I think we'd all be a lot better off then.

"I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let's evolve, let the chips fall where they may." -Tyler Durden

2004-02-12 03:53:50 ET

did you watch fight club recently?

I echo your sentiments.

2004-02-12 03:58:16 ET

Fight Club is one of my favourite movies/books.
I watched it very recently. Several times, actually.

2004-02-12 04:00:15 ET

nice to actually see a topic that really gets you to thinking. Interesting.

2004-02-12 04:31:15 ET


I would count it among one of my favorites as well.

2004-02-12 05:19:41 ET

Wouldn't a world like that be nice?

2004-02-12 06:06:12 ET

debt will never b back to has been around along time, think of the peasants that came to america as indetured servents, they had to work for 7yrs to b free in a new country with nothing

2004-02-12 06:19:39 ET

"You are not the contents of your wallet"

2004-02-12 06:35:09 ET

"You are not your job"

2004-02-12 06:37:20 ET

Rebel- actually, if you destroyed the computers that housed the financial info on you then there is nothing to say you don't own what you do. Possesion is 9/10 of the law, and without anyway to back up your debt to them, credit carrd companies have nothing.

2004-02-12 06:44:19 ET

that is true, but as much as everything is on computers, they do have back ups for it, and some places even have hard copies of it, but it sure would b funn to try

2004-02-12 06:59:38 ET

well, if on Monday morning you check you VISA or MC balance, don't be surprised you're debt free ;-P
I havent' the resources to do that.... yet

2004-02-12 07:02:30 ET

wanna hit the OSAP people while you're at it?

2004-02-12 07:02:48 ET

....well when you do get visa...that will help me out a bunch +)

2004-02-12 07:31:14 ET

i call dibs on getting my student loans cleared first!

2004-02-12 08:10:34 ET

I'm hitting TD CanadaTrust, CIBC, BMO, Visa, MC, AMEX, those fuckers at Diner's Club, Gov't lending agenecies, and anyone else who con innocent people into lives of servitude and payback.

2004-02-12 08:18:04 ET

You say you are doing this next monday?

I could make a detour into Toronto to help you out with that. ;)

2004-02-12 08:30:00 ET

Also, in regards to your question of "when did it all start" I'm going to say when the first band of people grouped together, and called themselves a civilization - and implimented a system of bartering.

As soon as the idea of "something I have can get me something I want" then immeditately you've got ideas going on where there is trade, there is desire for the material stuff, and greed.

Now, I sincerly doubt the Mesopotamians (spelling is likely off, deal) and the Egyptians went at their trade with the same zeal that we do in the 21st century, however this is where my hypothesis gains strength:

Its's "MORE MORE MORE" with us. (but "us" I mean the people of our time). There is no set level of desire for us. There is always something new. The 2005 model cars? Playstation 3? Pentium 26? Greed is insatiable and it grows. Got a kid? Well, all the sudden there is the need for college funds, enertainment, more food, and everything a kid needs. What does this all take? The acquirement of yet -more- money.

"There is no set level of desire [greed] for us"

It is always growing.

Which is why its at such a frantic pace these days that a world leader would bomb the hell out of a country and occupy it, why mothers get testy and aggrivated during their Christmas shopping, why the job we've got is never good enough.

We live within our means.

Didja get a raise? Well guess what, you also probably have an idea where that new additional income is going.

Hence the need for more when something new comes up.

Its stupid.

Its wrong.

But ya know what? Its completely our fault.

2004-02-12 08:45:24 ET

Thousands would die in the chaos after. (If you bombed all the credit companies and managed to take out their offsite back up somehow. Those guys in fight club didn't change a thing unless they covered that in their plans.)

If no one owned anything then we'd start fighting over "everything" all over again. People would fight over land and resources like hungry wolves.

I think the infrastructure for a new society would have to be prepared to lessen the impact of change. In any event, it's the huma element that threatens even the best plans. So many people out their would use the opportunity to cease as much as they could for themselves. Taking advantage of the lawlessness (and you will have lawlessness), and securing positions of trust to abuse.

Humans. Pfft.

2004-02-12 08:48:54 ET

"Pfft" indeed.

Thats an interesting point that I didn't consider...

"If no one owned anything then we'd start fighting over "everything" all over again. People would fight over land and resources like hungry wolves."

You're right, Vega. I just assumed we could be civilized and respectful.

2004-02-12 09:46:01 ET

Someone who places handcuffs on themselves, when freed, will put handcuffs back on. Freeing someone isn't the whole answer

2004-02-12 10:26:41 ET

So the notion of a "free" society is, in essence, a dream not worth pursuing?

Happiness In Slavery
slave screams he thinks he knows what he wants
slave screams thinks he has something to say
slave screams he hears but doesn't want to listen
slave screams he's being beat into submission
don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
the devils of truth steal the souls of the free
don't open your eyes take it from me
i have found
you can find
happiness is slavery
slave screams he spends his life learning conformity
slave screams he claims he has his own identity
slave screams he's going to cause the system to fall
slave screams but he's glad to be chained to that wall

don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
the blind have been blessed with security
don't open your eyes take it from me
i have found
you can find
happiness is slavery
i don't know what i am i don't know where i've been
human junk just words and so much skin
stick my hands thru the cage of this endless routine
just some flesh caught in this big broken machine

T. Reznor

Maybe that sums it up?

2004-02-12 15:21:41 ET

I'd say so! And a good way to sum it up too :-D

2004-02-13 04:56:12 ET

I don't buy the argument that greed is somehow intrinsic to human societies, because if it were then how does one explain that consumption was more or less a constant for the first several thousand years of our existence, and has exhibited this constantly upward behavior only in the last few hundred?

Similarly, how would one explain that the Roman system never developed into capitalism? It wasn't for lack of capital.

I would offer you to read THE IDEA OF PROGRESS, by T. Shanin of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. horribly excerpted below.

"The major inheritance of the 17th-19th Centuries' philosophical origins of contemporary social sciences has been the idea of Progress.
...I would like to suggest that...the idea of progress was generated as a paradoxical...solution to two major riddles the Europeans faced at the dawn of what came to be later called "modernity".

The first was the rapid growth of evidence concerning the diversity of humanity.
...The endless and growing diversity of human societies known, had to be made sense of or at least ordered and categorised in a way acceptable to its discoverers. It was a puzzlement.

The second riddle historical experience placed on the way of Europe's secular minds was to do with a changing perception of time.
...Old images of time and of natural repetition of events were out of joint. The end was no longer the beginning but something else, a linear perception of time and a change moving into an as yet unchartered future reflected what centuries later would be called a "take-off" period for Europe. It was a puzzlement.

The idea of progress was a dramatic resolution of two massive puzzlements through relating them to each other. Why diversity? - Because of different stages of development of different societies. What is social change? - The necessary advance through the different social forms actually present... "

I think I need not labor the point, but the dynamic you describe owes a lot to the idea of progress as an expectation of societies and of individuals. Once that is established, acquisitive behavior becomes a norm.

sorry about ruining your color scheme, but I can't read black text on that background.

2004-02-13 06:28:45 ET

The text isn't black, it's blue. It might be the tube in your screen. All the colours look good on my monitors (Apple Flat Panel and the LaCie at work).
theGirl says the same thing. But that's why I shelled out WAY too much for a computer screen. Damn photography industry.

2004-02-13 06:30:29 ET

ok, this is black. blue = even worse, the background is blue. I should have said I can't read dark text on that bg.
As for my screen I use a laptop full-time, governed by Chips+Tech 65555.

I call it Fish and Chips for short.

2004-02-13 08:08:31 ET

(I too have a hard time with the blue on more blue on my ghetto screen) =P

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