So I’ve Been Thinking About Things…Money

8 Oct

Today I have been thinking about money.  Money is a thing we use to buy the goods & services we need to conduct our lives.  Money’s value is implied not implicit.  There is nothing inherently valuable about a dollar bill.  We ascribe value/worth to that piece of paper based on our monetary system.  Then we take that dollar bill to the market place and the market says a dollar bill can buy “x, y, & z.”

How we attain money is through work.  Work is an exchange of labor, time, talent, skill, and energy for money.  Some people work for employers who make things.  Some people work for employers that serve the needs of others.  Some people work for themselves, managing small businesses that either produce goods or provide services.  Money is due compensation for work that is carried out.

Keeping in mind that money is due compensation for work that is carried out, how then do those who either cannot work or will not work survive in a world where money is required to purchase the goods and services needed for survival?  It makes sense that we should arrive at a collective, socially agreed upon solution for addressing the issue of those who lack the physical and mental capacity to work.  It likewise makes sense that we should arrive at a collective, socially agreed upon solution for those whose working efforts do not provide adequate resources for survival at no fault of their own.

But it does not make sense, to me at least, to make provision for those who simply are not motivated to work.  At the risk of sounding dispassionate, those who don’t or won’t work should realize that their refusal to be productive is not an issue of urgent social importance (ie: they are not entitled to any social supports on the basis of their refusal or slothfulness).  Socially, those who won’t work are choosing to live lives of poverty that a logical remedy exists for-get a job and go to work.  If they lack the requisite skills for employment I am entirely in support of providing opportunities for education and vocational training to assist would be workers in finding adequate employment.

To provide easy access to publicly allocated emergency resources, to those who simply refuse to work, is an abuse of society’s trust and it creates an abusive political environment from which emerges a class of people who embrace a way of thinking about work and life born in generational social dependency, rather than encouraging people to aspire to their full potential as human beings.  To me this is an abusive political policy that devalues the essential dignity and worth of a person.  But at the same time, supporting monetary policies that widen the gap between rich in poor in our society is equally egregious.  Disproportionate wealth acquisition is no less an issue needing addressed in our culture than the issue of paying human beings not to work, not to use their minds and bodies to their greatest potential, and not to engage in meaningful work for a good and fair wage (for another interesting viewpoint read Norman Pollack’s article, Maintaining the American Underclass).

We need money for survival.  Simply put, to buy the things we need something is traded in order to acquire the thing of necessity (food, water, shelter, transportation, other services).  How we access money, how we use money, how we care for those not in a position to acquire money on their own, and how we address people groups who are accustomed to receiving money from government service providers without an exchange of labor, time, talent, skill, and energy are questions related to monetary policy that have very important implications.

This viewpoint is a work in progress.  It will be added to and expanded by the views of others and through meaningful conversations with others who embrace different viewpoints.  I encourage those reading this to take the time to thoughtfully engage this topic.

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