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Friday, July 5, 2013

The power of money

Society is enraptured with the power of money. The rich know that this power is no delusion as they use money to get what they want with few exceptions, such as immortality. The poor recognize this power because they are powerless to get even sufficient food, drink, shelter and sanitation. People have good reason to put faith in this power as it has been the dominant driver of the progress of civilization - in their opinion. The creation of vast amounts of fiat money in recent times by authorities in a number of countries has done nothing to dampen the belief in the power of money. It still buys what citizens want, if they have access to enough of this intangible quantity.

The use of the term 'power' in this context is misleading as it is the consequence of  decision making by people in a position to believe actions will result from their decisions. This power is an intangible. It is not the result of a tangible, physical operation.

Consider a simple example. I have the "power" to switch on a light which then uses electrical "power". The first power is an intangible decision by me. It initiates what subsequently actually happens in a physical sense.The second power is indicative of the tangible flow of electrical energy to the light that can be measured by a meter. It is indicative of what happens.

Money is powerless on a remote island with no inhabitants. So a rich person caste ashore on the island will have to struggle to get food, drink and shelter. A poor person who is also stranded  will probably find it easier to cope because of less dependence on using money to buy the essentials. They have more personal power than the rich person.

Of course, the elite in society will continue to exercise their power without any consideration of the nuances in the meaning of the term. However, the power of natural forces have, if anything, been exacerbated by what the systems of civilization have done in recent times. Droughts, floods, storms, tsunamis, wild fires, hot spells and cold spells are examples of the power of natural forces that the powerful in society can do little about. All money can do is pay for skilled people and the required equipment to ameliorate as much as possible this impact of natural power.

Money power is bound to become impotent in coming decades as natural forces take over control from the aging infrastructure of civilization.

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