Bad Tech

Money is Bullshit

Most of us spend way too much time worrying about it, But at it’s root, money is bullshit.

For “the banked,” it’s just numbers in an account.  We live and die by those numbers, but they don’t represent anything real — they are  just numbers.

Money is only worth what we agree it’s worth, and everyday the money exchanges keep changing their minds. One day the Dollar (the Euro or the Peso) is up, the next it’s down.

Humans came up with metal coins about 7000 years ago. Whoever made them, got to say what they were worth. Usually the maker was just a glorified dictator pretending to be a diety (anybody praying to Donald J. Trump yet?).

It was just easier every April to collect coins than to cull the herds of every third sheep.

The Romans knew money was bullshit — at one point they were just making coins out of wood.

Over time a lot of fucking people forget money is bullshit.  Even when it’s just paper.  Including those people who wanted “free silver” (in the 19th Century — for the US to make all coins out of silver).  Or the modern-day idiots (Rand Paul) who want to force the US back on the “gold standard.”  And only print more money, when they get more gold.  They just want to believe that money is “real”, and there is actually something “valuable” behind the paper.

duck on goldBut gold is bullshit too.  It only has value when people say it has value.  There’s nothing intrisically valuable about gold — other than it’s use in some new high-tech devices. A dirty lump of coal has more value — at least you can burn it for heat.

Uncle Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold is only rich, because we say he’s rich. If tomorrow we all decide gold sucks, it would just be a pile of shiny shit  that would be a fucking ton of work to haul out of the basement after the old duck dies.

Cash Money

It’s easy to become deluded.  Even when the numbers in our checking account dwarfs it, we look at the pictures of dead presidents and feel richer and richer with each bigger bill.

A couple of weeks ago, I had $500 cash in my wallet for a few days.  It was mine, all mine I tell ya.

I was so “rich”, I felt like walking in the Third World bar and screaming, “Hookers and blow for everyone.” (Obviously, I have no idea how much those things cost… but PC from Pittsburgh told me $500 won’t do shit.)

He’s the same guy who said, “It’s easy to quit cocaine.  It happens when you run out of money.” Later, he said, “The hooker in Vegas was done so fast — it wasn’t worth the money.”

Need  proof money is bullshit?  Go to the US Treasury and turn your money in for what it’s worth.  Most people would expect to get a little spec of gold out of Fort Knox.  But if you go in with a $100, you know what you get back?  Two $50’s.

Bitcoin is Bullshit too

Listen to those bitcoin, block-chain assholes, for a few minutes and pretty soon you too might be convinced any government’s cash is going the way of the Spanish doubloon.

The internet will need it’s own currency, they say.  Money will no longer be something printed by governments.  It will just be electrons flipping bits in a block chain stored on a series of servers around the world.  We will all trade our bits for shit on Amazon that a drone will drop off at our dwelling.  Or they might fly it in through the moon roof of our robot-driven Uber.

Because Amazon is going to be the new Santa:

"Amazon knows when you are sleeping, 

they know when you're awake.  

And your account balance better be good for goodness sake."

Then we won’t need wallets. They will just put a chip in our heads that track our bits, our whereabouts and our conversations. Scan the chip to see if we can afford the Venti latte at Starbucks… God damn it,  Short again.

When the chip gets rejected for a soda at Circle K… then we will all fully realize that money is bullshit.

8 replies »

  1. Says the man who works for the state. His leadership has the same belief system. “Kieran, we’ve determined money is bullshit and since we care greatly for our employees we’re not giving you more of it this year”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a purely intellectual exercise about the intrinsic value/ social contract of money. It’s not a manifesto about the evils of money… Leave my cash out of it, son.


    • Yep — that’s what makes government debt different than actual debt. The government is money we owe ourselves, and it can always increase the money supply.


  2. Good post here. Yeah, you’re really right. It wouldn’t take much to make our money worthless. When I visited Zambia several years ago, they where giving away very large bills from Zimbabwe, as that money had all become worthless for anything other than souvenirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I suspect the value of money lies in the government’s ability to demand it from us. You can’t pay your property taxes in chickens or some other barter. So you can’t have a place to live without money. And that causes a fundamental demand for it. And government supplies our demand when we perform services for it. Anyway, for what it’s worth, that’s my theory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whether it’s money or chickens you need some exchange, and governments have a lot of control over it — but not all. Follow Paul Krugman, and you learn a lot about money in other countries.

      Liked by 1 person

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