When I was a kid, I didn’t know anything about politics or stock markets. Now that I’m older I know a little bit about that stuff, and I keep coming back to this thought: when did things get this complicated? 401Ks?! I don’t have one, I don’t know much about them, and honestly I don’t think I ever will. There are plenty of acronyms for things I will never know the meanings of. IRA? CD? NASDAQ? How about a hedge fund? What’s that? That seems to be a really popular way to make mind-boggling amounts of money. I looked it up one day to see what it was and one of the first places I looked said that the term could not be defined in a way that everyone can agree upon. I gave up right there and then. I don’t want to learn a whole bunch of stuff about economics to understand what a hedge fund is. I’ll probably look into it another time just for kicks, but it made me think: this is what mankind has amounted to. The most ‘productive’ people in the world-by which I mean those capable of making the most money-have an occupation that many people can’t even define. Some people build houses, others farm vegetables and livestock. Those are things we need. Then there’s some guy in a high-rise in Manhattan who makes more than any carpenter or farmer. Heck, they probably make more money annually than a hundred carpenters or farmers do combined, perhaps a lot more than that, even! So, they obviously do something very important. If they make that much money it must be something like saving lives or something that could be valued at that level. My point is: wouldn’t it make more sense if money was allocated to people who can provide a tangible service or product in return for it? The folks farming food are among the most important people around, without their farms we either have to hunt for food, steal food, or starve. Plain and simple. Doesn’t that make their occupation among the most important? I don’t think I’d starve if a hedge fund manager lost their job or had their company fold. I mean, did the first settlements established have farmers, builders, and hedge fund managers? Were they the 3 key components to a successful settlement or society? I realize there is more to running a town or settlement than just buildings and food, and some important jobs are a bit more abstract. I don’t understand some of these positions though, and maybe that’s my own fault. But it seems to me that anyone making money should have some sort of service or offering that can used or employed in some fashion-something most people can use. If our monetary system suddenly collapsed and we had to retreat to the barter system, who would be the most well off? The farmer would easily be the most important, I would think. At very least they’d have the most “currency” in the form of food: something that everyone needs. I cannot say the same of the hedge fund managers. They may have been worth billions of dollars before, but when it comes to the barter system, what do they have to offer? Investment futures? What the hell are those anyway? I mean, I know what it is(kind of), but what the hell is that? Where does that fit into a post-apocalyptic world where the basic essentials become coin of the realm again?
I realize that living in the modern age has kind of spoiled me, has probably spoiled most of us; I can’t just drop everything to become a hunter-gatherer and just walk off into the woods in an attempt to simplify my life. Heck, there aren’t really woods left around here for me to attempt that type of a living in even if I wanted to. I would probably get brought in by the cops whilst wearing an improvised loin cloth, carrying a shoddily crafted spear. You can’t even try to live that way anymore. All the land ‘belongs’ to someone at this point. Not that they can actually own the land-it doesn’t actually belong to anyone anyway! The earth has existed for billions of years, who owned it all this time? (God?) Who are we to say that the property we live on belongs to us? Who did it belong to before us? The very concept of ownership is very curious to me. For instance: there is a small settlement of homeless folks in Lakewood who established a little tent-city because of their inability to hold down a job due to any variety of reasons…leaving them in a position that they couldn’t pay someone else money in exchange to occupy the land that person “owns”. So, with the aid of a compassionate local lawyer, the homeless people started their own little settlement on a piece of public property. Nothing glamorous, I don’t know how many foyers they have or how many full or half baths, studies, or observatories they may have constructed. Nor do I think they have any kitchens with granite counter tops and an island that has it’s own little secondary sink, or a Sub-Zero full size refrigerator next to a Sub-Zero full size freezer-both with custom panels installed to camouflage them with the surrounding cabinetwork. None of that-and I’m sure for some people it would seem like they’d be better off dead. But alas; the human spirit is hard to break. They may have nothing but a tent and some old clothes, but they still want to live. They could easily walk out in front of a car on the highway or jump off a bridge if they really want out. But they don’t. They just want a roof over their head and a little space to occupy and sleep. Of course, they don’t own the property-it is public property. And the city council is attempting to get them to evacuate. If they succeed, those people will have to migrate somewhere else and try again. Kind of like pre-civilized life with nomadic tribes making temporary settlements. Now we have a system in place that makes it punishable to even attempt to live that way anymore. Oddly enough, those people would get better access to medical care, food, and shelter if they committed serious crimes and landed in prison. It’s a far less friendly environment than most are accustomed to, but it’s 3 square meals a day, a climate controlled environment, health care, and shelter. For free! Now if only the common law-abiding population could be guaranteed those benefits with the same tax dollars that keep the prisons afloat, maybe we wouldn’t have folks resorting to tent cities, or committing crimes in an attempt to get the money they need to survive…which could also potentially serve to reduce prison populations! How novel!
I just don’t understand why life needs to be so complicated. We have so many products to show for all of our progress. So many innovations and clever devices. If electricity fails us or ceases to work anymore though, we will all be in a huge heap of trouble. I heard earlier today that 17,000 people in Connecticut have not had power restored to their homes since that crazy snowstorm 9-10 days ago. They lost their refrigerated food, businesses have been unable to operate…suddenly it’s like they’re back in the dark ages. Instead of picking up the pieces, they all start yelling at the local authorities and power companies-and who could blame them? They spent all their time honing their skills at jobs that don’t teach them anything about self-reliance or survival without electricity. I mean, they’re beyond that! Right?! We have stopped relying on ourselves to acquire the things we need for survival, and every so often we get to watch the ridiculous circus that ensues every time mother nature rears her head. Remember the hurricane a couple months ago when water suddenly became such a hot commodity that even Best Buy was selling bottled water for just over $40 for a 24 pack of 20 oz. bottles? Yeah, shit suddenly gets a little too real when our actual survival suddenly lies in our own hands. I remember seeing the huge bottled water section of our supermarket cleared out, the lines in our supermarket the most packed I’ve ever seen. It rained hard for a day or 2 and it was over. Some people lost electricity, but we managed to get by unscathed here. When all was said and done there was suddenly a massive flux of returns, all this bottled water suddenly was not needed and people wanted their money back. As if it was some mass delusion, suddenly everyone woke up when the storm passed, and saw they had 30+ gallons of water filling their closets or pantries. For a moment during the mass-mania it seemed like money may not actually be worth what it had been merely a day before-it was only worth things that you could buy, and some important things suddenly weren’t available. But as soon as the potential disaster passed, we all just buried our heads in the sand again and forgot that our survival isn’t simply guaranteed, or something you can just throw money at. Everyone goes trading that water back in for money so they can spend it on a bunch of useless shit that will be irrelevant if their survival should depend on it. I can guarantee those same people will be back when the next blizzard comes or the next hurricane or what have you. They’ll fight through crowds of other crazed people in order to acquire their share of the life-preserving liquid. They’ll stand on long lines, sit through traffic, and sure as the sun will rise, they will return after the storm is over or the snow is plowed to get the money back for the water they once again didn’t need. While I may not go crazy with the water, I’ll be in line buying shit just like the rest of them too-I am no better off than any of them. In reality, if we find ourselves in a position where we have no means of acquiring potable water for an extended period of time, having all that bottled water is merely going to prolong our inevitable deaths. We’ll just sit around worrying if the power will be restored instead of taking matters in our own hands and attempting to devise a means of acquiring a more consistent supply of necessities. It’s a shame and it’s actually kind of scary to think we rely on others to provide us the things we need for survival. Our whole lives used to be based on the acquisition of food and water and the other few necessities. Now we simply take for granted that those things will always be there and we waste our time pursuing other interests-many of which have little to no relevance in the grand scheme of our survival. That deserves a look of disapproval, so here:
Whoops! That’s an entirely different look, though I suppose it could be construed as disapproval–here’s the one I was aiming for, however:
As long as I’m posting images, here’s one that I linked to in the article… just in case you didn’t click the link, this one should earn your own look of disapproval:
The crazy thing is that the prices above will actually seem reasonable if the circumstances should ever get that dire. Money is merely paper after all, and if things should ever get that bad I guarantee you that water–*WATER*–will be worth infinitely more than money. Those billionaires better have their own water towers ready so they can hold onto their ‘liquid assets’.