All About the Benjamins

The book is thicker than a Bible that has the original Greek, the translation, and commentary all packed into one.  It’s called the Great Deformation and I’m not going to read it.  It was in the library at work and it seemed like the kind of reading you might want to do if you are writing about the end of the world.  Except that it isn’t.  Surely no point takes 712 ages to make.

Besides.  I’m about full up of outrage.

From what I did read, the book is complaining about the divorce from the gold standard, corporate bailouts via TARP, printing money, the Fed…Basically, what we have isn’t pure capitalism (duh) and this is outrageous.  Nothing is real and it is the end of the world.

Which has the ring of truth to it, but fails to take the argument to its full and logical conclusion: money is a social construct.  Value is a social construct.  If we had all agreed that a tree was an acceptable denomination and a real standard of what a man was worth, Donald Trump would be telling us he owned more trees than any other mofo on the planet.

We’re in a play that isn’t a play, fighting on stage with no audience, using weapons that draw blood from people who don’t get back up when assaulted, fighting over bright pink monopoly cash.  It only means what we say it means.  We’ve all agreed that these things are real: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Benjamins…  but they are only real because we say they are real.

Not that I know what to replace it with.  We all know I love my house and I’d have something to say to anyone who tried to take it from me.  But I got that house because my mom traded time at work for symbols of value, which she traded for different symbols of value, which turned into more symbols of value in the stock market.  And then she died and those symbols came to me through no merit of my own.  Without ever touching anything, I signed a couple of papers and those arbitrary symbols turned into a house, which I, in turn, trade my time for new symbols which get turned over to the bank for the privilege of the various and assorted things that go wrong when you own a house from 1955.

I love my house.  I really do.  I’m sorry for talking bad about it.  It ought to be proud that it’s still standing 70 years later.

Anyway, it’s absurd.  As is only getting worked up about one aspect of a ridiculous system without getting worked up about the whole.  As is getting worked up at all.

So what do you do?  One of the maddening things about media is that they pile on all of this anxiety–both sides are guilty of this–without providing anything to do about it, which tends to foment impotent rage.  Impotent rage eventually finds an outlet and that’s never good (see Fox News, white supremacists, comment sections, etc).  There’s no need for it…  Take the liberty of laughing.  The emperor has no clothes, but he’s the emperor…  Dethroning one emperor only brings on another.  The far-sighted ones go for benevolence.  I mean, no one is going to overthrow Queen Elizabeth for being malevolent.  Maybe for being too expensive, but not for being a murderous tyrant.  The Royals might lose their jobs at some point, but not their heads.

There are times when revolt is required.  A successful coup against Hitler would have been nice.  But here in the US?  Meh.  (I’d be less meh were we to have a President Trump… viva la revolucion?)

The system is bogus, but it is only vaguely relevant.  What matters?  Love.  Family, lovers, friends.  Making someone smile.  Touch.  Community.  Kindness.  A bogus system doesn’t keep you from showing up.  From trying.  It doesn’t stop you refusing anything predicated on the suffering of another.  It doesn’t keep you from making your corner of the world better/kinder/more welcoming.  Money is only a stand in for time, and you don’t need a Benjamin to add value to the world with your time.

All About the Benjamins

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