The Misconceptions that hold us back.
We can communicate instantaneously and deliver anything anywhere in the world overnight. That begs the question. Why don’t we? What are the brain farts that hold us back from making the care and welfare of my little friend Joanna as important as the rest of the world. Joanna spends her days on the streets of San Miguel de Allende selling chicklets with her mother and brothers and sisters. Why doesn’t she have economic power? That is the question we must answer, and not in ten years. Today. Now. This is not an academic question. This is the question of the ages and it is urgent. This is an emergency.
1. Our world is built around the belief that people are naturally Lazy.
Many believe that aid to the poor must be severely restricted or nobody will work. The vision of bums hanging out on the porch all day drinking beer on the public dime is terrifying to them. They will do anything to make sure it doesn’t happen.
The reality is that most people are ambitious and will strive to improve their condition. We arrange our society, actually denying food and shelter to ourselves, rather than let someone have a free lunch. The true motivation lurking behind this destructive myth is that if the poor are not desperate they will be able to demand higher wages and better working conditions.
2. The poor are subjected to the selective moral restriction that getting something for nothing is a moral hazard.
This false premise begins with the idea that the major form of help or subsidy in society goes to the poor. The opposite is true. The majority of all rewards in a functioning society do not go to the poor and the majority of these rewards are of the “something for nothing” nature.
Classifying what is called “Welfare” as a moral hazard leads to programs that are targeted to those “in need”. Such benefits to the poor are then “cut off” at the first sign of any prosperity, “for their own good” of course. This forces the poor into a choice between a low paying job and their benefits. Often they end up making less money by working than they would by doing what they need to do to remain eligible for welfare. Other members of society who receive rewards for which they did absolutely nothing are not subject to the same “moral hazard” scrutiny.
Such attitudes and the programs they elicit make it almost certain that they do not work to pull people out of poverty. Welfare recipients are demonized and separated. Ethnic and racial stereotypes allow a political divide and conquer strategy.
Getting something for nothing is not a moral hazard it is the foundation of society. The sole problem with getting something for nothing is that some get more than others. The fix is to give everyone the same.
3. Many people never get past “I’m OK, it must be fair.”
Most people’s analysis of the economy never gets past the idea that the “system” works because it has rewarded them. It’s not the rich who are the main problem here. It is not the people who were born on third and thought they hit a triple that hold us back. They are few. Much more serious are the people who were born on second and thought they hit a double, or the people who were born on first and thought they hit a single. Or the largest group of all, those who truly believe that all they need is a chance to come up to bat.
It is not that individual effort is not important, it is, and it should be rewarded. It is simply the completely false notion that every successful individual is the one primarily responsible for that success. No successful individuals start from nothing; each and every one had help. Each and every successful individual in modern societies has “something for nothing” subsidies. All societies have massive subsidies at every level and they could not exist without them.
4. We believe as individuals and a society that we can make plans into the distant future, 60 to 70 years in the future.
People believe that they can plan individually for their later year without regard to what type of society and economic system that requires. This type of planning requires a money system in which money holds its purchasing power virtually forever. In fact “Sound Money” is defined as money that holds its purchasing power regardless of the type of economy it requires to bring this about.
This requires a political philosophy and organization that will keep the purchasing power of money as its overriding goal in monetary and economic policy. In reality such systems guarantee only one thing, that the wealthy and their hirelings will be in charge of everything. Long term commitments to any other group are only honored if they are in the interest of the wealthy and their hirelings.
What I mean by hirelings are the people the wealthy hire to take care of their money. The Wealthy have better things to do with their time. These people are Bankers and Stock Brokers. They have great power because they handle all the money. We have just witnessed a “banker and broker” rebellion in which the hirelings of the rich went over their bosses’ heads and stole everything that was not nailed down. Without permission they raised themselves to the financial level of their employers by expropriating the operating capital of planet earth and are in the process of destroying every pension plan in existence.
5. The poor are responsible for their situation
The belief is widely held that the poor could extricate themselves from their poverty with a good work ethic. The truth is that the poor work longer and harder than any other group. The principle difference between rich and poor is that the rich have money and the poor don’t.
Poverty serves two functions. The first is as a threat for those workers and politically active who do not toe the line. The second is having available a large group that can be exploited, especially sexually, because of their need for money. There are no other natural reasons for poverty.
6. It is almost universally held that Thrift is Good
The Jewish Rabbi known as Jesus clearly understood the false nature of accumulated wealth. Money is not a stored commodity comparable to the food that animals use to get them through the year. Money is stored obligation, stored power. This stored power and obligation eventually destroy every natural relation in a society.
7. I don’t owe any one any thing. This is a very true statement for everyone who was raised by wolves. If, however, you speak a language, you use electricity, have water to drink, and are not subject to rape, theft, and murder on a daily basis, you owe a great deal.
8. Money is just the way it is. Money has a storied and quite varied past. It has taken many forms for many purposes. The absurd notion that as a world we must choose between a completely corrupt and criminal central banking system and some loosely defined concept of “the gold standard” is the most absurd belief of all.
Money can make many forms and perform many functions. Money is what money says it is. We all need to learn to speak money, otherwise it will get lost in translation.
These attitudes leave us unable to comprehend that we are rich enough to be generous and poor enough to be in need of help. We are operating at less than 1% of 1% of our potential. That’s less than 1/10,000th of what we are capable. When we open our eyes and we see that the person in the bread line and the person in the penthouse suite are the same person we will move past this situation.
For a society to function and endure it must put the welfare of the least well off person on an equal footing with rewarding a job well done. A Universal, Unconditional Citizen’s Dividend does exactly that.