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Real economy Vs. The virtual economy

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

One of the things I expect will be very much debated in MINDUPDATE.ORG is the whole tricky subject of money, of the “valuation” accorded to each individual on this planet’s contribution to the collective whole.

After all, money is a ((tool)) originally invented by the human being for practical reasons: for  “advantage” and for “improvement”….

First there was swapping, barter and exchange. Then came the need for inventing a non-perishable “token” or “joker” which could ((nonsimilar|stand-in)) for whatever “real” product or service might be needed NOW or in the FUTURE.

So money became not just a ((tool)) but has elements of the “((code))” to it. And the whole tricky question of coding is discussed in detail in, its implications, its dangers etc.

So as money arises in the world, it makes its first appearance in the form of “coins”: gold, silver and copper in descending value. It was a tangible “token”, something real.

Then, when this became unmanageable (“impractical”), the powers-that-be decided to issue paper money backed by gold & silver. Paper money was in theory a promisory note whereby the bank agreed to swap it for a specific amount of gold or silver.

When this too was deemed “impractical”, the next great step (and probably serious blunder) was to dis-engage the connection between paper money and anything “real” or “substantial”, divorcing it from anything belonging to the ((real world)).

At this point money starts to belong more to the virtual world of ideas and concepts. Huge amounts of money become mere numbers in bank accounts, not having even a physical paper base.

And then the fun starts. The privileged few in the know, in the power lanes, discover that this “virtual”, intangible  nature of money is a licence to “multiply” it through the jugglery of derivatives and ever more complex financial wizardry. Companies requiring the raising of additional capital go “public” and thereby jump on the virtual financial bandwagon siphoning off huge quantities of money from the “real” economy, the real economy of hard work and hard-earned wages and salaries of normal trusting girls and guys in the street.

A couple of years ago there was a very interesting (premonitory even) article in the financial times describing how the money gravitates from the real world of people generating real wealth to the virtual world of the parasitic financial services sector.

To me the key question is this: money which is not actually used in the real economy is mostly “idle” money, parasitic money doing noboby but the owners of it any good. It is money which is not properly in circulation. And even the owners of it – inasmuch as it is “unused” money – end up not having much real tangible benefit from possessing it. The hoarding of money is in fact the hoarding of fear and greed. Whenever money is released, fear and greed are released and the blocked energy is able to flow again.

Now thanks mainly to the excesses of the financial services sector (plus inadequate, inept supervision by supervisory bodies) a huge part of this unused, idle, virtual economy’s money has evaporated into thin air. 
And there’s maybe more evaporation to come.

How all this will pan out is anybody’s guess but one thing is certain. Nobody anymore understands precisely what money isbut we sure all know what it and its absence does to us. heralds a most welcome and timely revision of the whole ((concept)) of ((money)).

Thursday, June 19th, 2008