Life is about exchange

You’re probably thinking life is all about money.

It would seem as if life is all about money.

Money has a way of becoming the end goal, when you have bills to pay.

The government makes things about money the way they keep inflating the currency.

Life is not about money.

It is about exchange.

Money or not, we live on exchange.

It’s possible to be 100% self-sufficient, but it’s not desirable.

Money is just a convenience, compared to actual bartering.

Money isn’t the end goal, what we are trying to pay for is. Our desired lifestyle.

The service to other people is it’s own compensation. This is what we will get paid in heaven. That’s why lower paying jobs don’t pay much, because they pay more intrinsically. Although the intrinsic reward doesn’t always pay the bills, unless you have very low living standards; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Life isn’t about money. It’s about exchange. The basis for economy is how to meet our needs and what we have to exchange for it. Money is just more convenient.

Focus on what you want out of life, and you will attract the means to “pay” for it.

The 80/20 Rule: How the world works

Proverbs 22:29. . .”Do you see truly competent workers; they will serve kings rather than ordinary people.” (NLT)

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? In the world of work, it basically says 80% of the work is performed by 20% of the people. From my experience in work, if you are in the top 20% you will know it. The same goes for the way society is structured. Everyone has no doubt heard of the 1%; these are the elitists who own everything, or the Aristocracy/ruling class. They own the corporations and control the money supply. The middle class are the top 20% who earn 80% of all the money and wealth created. This means only 20% of the money is to be fought over by 80% of society. Sounds kind of brutal, doesn’t it?

On a somewhat positive, yet dismal note, this just means that companies could lay-off up to 80% of the workforce and you probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference. Except for the 80% of people who are now unemployed. This can be turned into a positive too most of these people figure out a way to become self-employed. This explains what has been happening since the 1990’s when the United States economy peaked and Corporate America has been declining ever since.

Believe it or not, you can get an idea of how the world works just by reading the Bible. Keep in mind that just because something is biblical doesn’t mean it’s godly; for example, killing people in the name of God or dashing baby’s heads against rocks (every Atheists favorite argument against the God of the Bible).

Today’s devotional says that a man who is skilled in his work will serve the interests of kings and not ordinary people. Although it may be more godly to serve the ordinary (blue collar) people, you won’t make much more than poverty wages in doing so. A man who rises above this stature in life will likely serve the public interest, namely the government or corporations.

Don’t focus on who you’re actually serving, focus more on being yourself and creating something of value and you will attract people who truly value your work. Be the best you can be and you will probably be discovered by some corporation (today’s kings). If you reach a level of spiritual growth where you are truly content serving the common man, then you are already rich by biblical standards. All of your needs will be met in some form or another, even if you don’t get rich by the standards of the world.

Business cycle v. flaws?

I was listening to a podcast on NPR recently and heard a show that was defending socialism. I know that my conservative friends will probably disown me for being so open-minded. I would probably be classified as center-right. You know, that perfect position where you literally piss off and annoy both sides of the political debate. Anyway, the hosts of the show were interviewing one of the rare economists that actually endorsed socialism. A liberal economist probably isn’t that rare considering all the liberal schools that there are. Although most economists are pretty conservative. There was a quote by Freiderick Hayek that said, “if socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.”

The show went on to describe the natural cycle of booms and busts that occur within the capitalist system as being an actual flaw. The socialist’s solution to this flaw was to artificially inject money into the economy to stabilize it during recessions. The few people who have common sense and a head for business will see the immediate flaw with this theory. Then again the difference between common sense and booksmarts is real.

Notice the natural booms and busts occur every seven years or so. This is not by accident as the number seven is a divine number. I would venture to say that the natural business cycle was God’s way of keeping the economy in balance. The divine force is likely the invisible hand of economics that was described by Adam Smith that guided the economy. The free market if left alone can meet the needs of every member of society. The socialists want to create an economy that works for everyone and if they actually understood economics they would realize they already had it.

Maybe since most liberal socialists are secular, they lean more towards big government because they lost faith in their Creator and the free market?

Those who endorse central banking will tell you that during the 19th century, when the United States had a freer market, there were more booms and busts. Maybe that was a good thing since an educated person who knew how to time the market would come out ahead than those that aren’t as educated. The busts would also lead more people to rely on their communities more until the economy got going again.

Those that endorse central banking its offspring, the Internal Revenue Service, may have lost faith in their Creator and natural community and turned to government to bail them out of fiscal jams.

An interesting fun fact to close out on is the real reason that the Titanic sunk. It was widely known back then that there were a few men on board the ship who opposed the creation of the federal reserve. You can do your own research to verify this. Sometimes just understanding history and how the world works is all the confirmation that you need to know something is likely true.

One final thought, the natural booms and busts are not a flaw within capitalism. It is the natural business cycle that occurs. Life is naturally up and down. Someone once said that the only thing that travels in a straight line is a dead man.

Some bullshit financial advice

pile of gold round coins
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I once drove down the highway and saw a billboard that advertised, “I can help you retire in less than ten minutes.” I bet he got a lot of calls from pretentious Americans with short term memory. Kind of funny when you think about it. No joke. All that being said, I do like reading the advice on financial websites and social media posts. That is until lately when I realized how exhausting it was. I won’t deny that the advice is practical and realistic, however it doesn’t seem to work in the real world.

Here are some examples of the bullshit advice:

  1. The biggest one is that you should only pay one quarter of your income on rent, or one week’s paycheck. In the real world, most people pay nearly half of their income or more on rent and utilities. The base requirements are 2.5-3 times the rent for income. You can say just live below your means, but many people can’t lower their standards any more than they are already.
  2. The next best advice that works for most people is to have an emergency fund equal to 3-6 months of expenses. Alas, more advice that doesn’t work for the average person. Again, with the ‘you can only lower your living standards so far to live within your means.’

Solutions for the bullshit advice:

  1. Find the cheapest place you can stand to live. And then economize and look for deals on everything else you want or need. Fortunately, the high cost of living is only in few areas: housing, healthcare, transportation, education; you know all the fields that the government has their hands in. If you can minimize costs in these areas, you can maximize your potential no matter your income. Maybe look for co-living or cohousing opportunities if you are into communal living. I am okay with this as long as I get my own space and individual autonomy.
  2. Save as much as you can but have a credit card with a low limit and keep it paid off for those “oh shit” moments. Most financial advisors say cut the plastic, but they do come in handy if you use them right. If you ever get a six figure or unlimited credit limit, you can invest in business opportunities to supplement your income. Even small loans are okay as long as they aren’t too predatory. Keep it small and dont take more than you need. 730% for a payday loan may sound huge but it’s only 2% per day, as long as you pay it off quickly. Always wise to just avoid them altogether.
  3. If you take out loans to go to college, major in something that is marketable, otherwise just look for scholarships or pay your own way and go part-time if you have to. I noticed when they quote the cost of college, it is usually $25,000-$100,000 per calendar year. However, when you look beneath the surface, tuition is only maybe 1/3 of the cost. Room and board and books can be paid by the borrower. It’s amazing most people would rather use student loans to pay their living expenses rather than just getting a job and paying these yourself. The only thing expensive about college is the tuition and this is all you need to borrow for, if you must borrow at all. There are all sorts of scholarship opportunities out there; you don’t have to be a genius.
  4. Take advantage of communal wealth. I don’t think anything will happen to Social Security, understanding how the economy works. The Democrats fear the Republicans will eliminate it, and I read about how they want to privatize it, which means putting part of it in the market, so you earn a little more. It was never meant to be a sole source of income anyway. You have to supplement it with a retirement income, paid off home mortgage, family, part-time work or business if you are able in your golden years. Some states even do away with property taxes once you pass 65.

In closing, it is not that the advice I hear from financial “gurus” isn’t practical. Most of these people understand finance from a booksmart point of view and not from the real-world point of view; at least from the working-class arena where most people are. They are usually academics who are out of touch with the average person yet make huge incomes from corporate sponsors. The advice does work well if you an elitist, i.e; usually white collar. No one cares about blue collar anyway, right? Now I am starting to sound like a Democrat. Don’t even get me started on politics. All the government does is subsidize people, welfare, and make them more dependent on government, while the capitalists use that as an excuse to hike prices and make things worse. Both sides just play off of each other to keep us trapped in the rat race.

The “poor” of the world are God’s people. Trust in the Divine and remember He is the One who ultimately prospers us. Even if we look poor by the world’s standards. Becoming wealthy isn’t a matter of “just work harder”. It all has to do with your social class and who you are networked to. If you are born working-class, blue collar, you are automatically poor by the world’s standards; with only a 1% chance of upward mobility. That sounds pretty bleak, but you have to hear the bad news first before you can hear the good news. And I gave the good news at the start of this paragraph.

What makes someone a capitalist?

What comes to mind when you think of capitalism? The first answer most people will give is money. That is, except for those that understand the purpose of money and that the currency is largely made up to facilitate trade and value assets.

This blog post will entertain the idea that anyone, or most people, can be a capitalist. Many will claim to be anti-capitalist because they are not interested in “playing the game”, or they are content with their life and not into raising their standard of living.

Let’s start with the definition of capitalism:

Capitalism is defined as a system made up of private owners who control a nation’s industry and trade for profit, as opposed to being controlled by the state. At one time these private owners were mostly small businesses. Throughout the end of the 19th century and the 20th century, the private ownership has tilted more toward corporations.

Is capitalism all about money?

Technically capitalism isn’t just about money, since currency is a social construct. The definition says it is about profit though. Money is a tool or a resource that is used to make said profit. The profit is made by being of service to others. However, it trends toward favoritism because a capitalist is only serving people who can pay for the created product.

Money may not have necessarily been the end goal during the early stages of capitalism. As standards of living rose, so did the cost of living. In the 21st century, we are moving into supercapitalism, or hyper-capitalism. This is where few of us will experience the highest standard of living known to man. The pitfall is money becomes more of an end goal with most successful capitalists giving in to the “money is everything” mentality; most religious people would see this as idolatry.

Is capitalism a biblical system?

The kingdom of God is bigger than money, no doubt. The underpinnings, or ideas, behind any man-made system may come from the Divine; though humans are flawed and can corrupt anything.

More about this topic in a recent blog post with the same title:

Is capitalism a biblical system? | Daily Evotionals & E’isms

The most interesting answer to who can be a capitalist came in some recent article that I read recently. It said basically that anyone who believes in the free market is a capitalist, while anyone who believes the government needs to have more authority over our lives is a socialist. According to that definition, you can be an exploited worker and still be a capitalist. Especially since all socialism seems to offer exploited workers is dependency on government welfare programs. Even most people who profess to be anti-capitalists would choose capitalism over any form of communism any day of the week.

Since there has always been a system of free enterprise as long as there has been money, I wouldn’t worry about all the fear mongering surrounding the possibility of collapse. Especially when you understand that the market is rigged not to collapse anyway. Businesses do adapt though. Like everything else, economies hit their peak and then they go backward. The benefit of moving backward is everything that went out of style may become popular again.

We may be in late-stage capitalism but if it did crash it would just start over again. Remember no matter what system you live under, including a traditional economy which is what most third world (or developing countries have) it is God who brings true prosperity. When we give credit to a system, that shows we are making an idol out of the system.