Ahhhh, so the headline of the blog post worked! Made you curious, huh? Damn right it did, because this economy is failing most of us. If it isn’t failing you then you’re either one of the architects of this system or you’re a winner in a game of musical chairs (Disclaimer: Being a winner in this game doesn’t make you a bad person per say). Yes, our economic system is designed to have more losers than winners (actually 80% of the population only controls 7% of the nation’s wealth).
This post is going to cover the main problems of our economic system and help you become aware of a way that we, the people, can self-organize our way to prosperity without 3rd parties controlling our destinies. What I am going to explain is NOT an Utopian dream either (that damn Twitter bot, @redscarebot, always responds to my tweets with that. Sorry had to get that off my chest 😉 ). I’m going to explain how we can literally build a new economy for the cost of a cup of coffee in a practical way. So here it goes…
What Are The Main Problems With Our Economy
1. The majority of people are not experiencing Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose in their workplaces.
2. There’s not enough money circulating in our economy to satisfy everyone’s needs.
3. The unsustainable corporate motivation of short-term profit is ruining the planet.
4. The inflation created by governments is taking wealth away from the people.
These reasons I believe cause major unhappiness within people. However, a lot of us just accept it because many feel “That’s just the way it is” or because we’re not aware of alternatives.
Where's The AMP? 3rd Party Control of People's Time and Energy
Just think about it this way…How many people wake up every morning dreading to go to work? (I’ll say the 80/20 rule strikes again!) They say we spend anywhere from 70-80% of our lifetime working. Why do most of us go to our jobs? Is it because we love our work or is it so we can get those good ol’ USDs to spend in the marketplace for our needs and wants? I say the latter, which means the only value that is pursued is extrinsic, or material possessions. What happened to work being something you love to do while making a good living from it? Are most of us experiencing Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose (AMP) at our workplaces? I guess those qualities don't matter if you’re having trouble paying the bills, huh? Let me enlighten you on how USDs reach the employees of corporations.
So employees have up to 5 different entities controlling most of their time and energy via their job (Federal Reserve, Commercial Banks, Government, Private Investors, and Corporations). Some of us are aware of these entities, and some are not. Most only care about getting their paycheck. However, if money doesn’t trickle down from these entities, that’s when layoffs began to happen (To get a great understanding of the information I’m talking about, watch the movie “In Time” which features Justin Timberlake. It’s the best movie of 2011 in my opinion).
Now if you are experiencing automony, mastery, and purpose in your position, making a good living, and want to remain an employee for the rest of your life because you love your job, then great! I’m happy for you. But unfortunately, if your job consists of something that can be automated, it is very likely that a machine will replace you in the future.
75% of the work force, in most developed countries, engage in work that is little more than simple repetitive tasks. Most of these jobs are vulnerable to replacement by automation. But that’s not all – technology is increasingly taking over tasks previously thought to require human intelligence.
Office workers and managers are now under threat as corporations restructure to take advantage of the huge productivity gains made possible by the new technologies.
Quote from: The Begining of the End of Work
One thing that can not be automated is critical thinking and creativity, which is the mindset of an entrepreneur. If you think about it, everyone is an entrepreneur already (most are low risk types & a few are high risk types). Some of us are conscious of it, but most aren’t. We can freelance our talents to others without registering with the state. We can freelance as an independent contractor (which is doing work for someone else without being an employee) or sole proprietor (a one person business that doesn’t register with the state). People organize their businesses as a LLC or corporation to avoid personal liability.
Of course, not all of my peers have been so lucky to “choose” the freelance lifestyle—sometimes more accurately described as underemployed. Fast Company optimistically described the “Flux Generation”: "a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates—and even enjoys—recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions."
But often, this just means plain ol' unemployed and underutilized. Nearly half of Americans adults ages 18 to 25 are jobless. And worldwide, there are now 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34. The fact is, freelance is becoming the new 9-to-5, whether we want it to or not.
Tom Fisher, writing in the Huffington Post, reports that “contingent workforce,” meaning the self-employed, freelancers, or "accidental entrepreneurs" laid off from full-time positions, will make up between 40 and 45 percent of the workforce by 2020 and become a majority by 2030.
But unfortunately, the majority of us are trading our time and energy with corporations at a huge discount. We relinquish this freedom of our time and energy to become employees for the sake of convenience and risk avoidance (Ironically, we experience risk everyday when we walk out the door – car accident, etc). We have been programmed by traditional education and society to take the “easy route”, or better yet, the road most travelled. Massive fear is thrown at us by media and others saying 90% of businesses fail in the first 2 years. Yes, unpreparedness of the owner is a reason for that (and I feel startup incubation is a way to fix that), but remember, this economic game we’re playing is just like musical chairs; It is designed to have more losers than winners because we have to compete for scarce dollars.
Furthermore, the traditional employer and employee relationship is antagonistic. The employer aims to get the most productivity out of the employee for the lowest wage. The employee aims to give the least amount of productivity for highest wage. Why is there such disharmony in this relationship?
Are we voluntarily working at these jobs because we WANT to or because we NEED to? Would you show up at your job if you were financially secure? That is the way to find out if you love your job or not; would you go there the next day if the lack of money was no longer a problem? If you say yes, than I’m happy for you. If you say no, continue reading.
(Disclaimer: Now I’m not saying go quit your job and just freelance or start a business, because I understand many people have responsibilities to take care of. I’m saying you can start offering your talent part-time to others until that income gets near or surpasses your current job. What we’re building will help you do that within a network of like-minded people.)
So to rehash this section, many of us are placing our time and energy into the hands of middlemen. It’s very profitable for these middlemen to manipulate this possession of ours, but unfortunately it is at our expense. What if I showed you a way where it doesn’t have to be like this? What if EVERYONE had the opportunity to take back control of this precious resource while improving the world, instead? Social entrepreneurship via freelancing and cooperatives with a complementary currency is the way. Like I stated earlier, all of us are already entrepreneurs, but many of us are unconsciously trading our time for a lot less than what we are truly worth in exchange for convenience. How can all of us become aware of the empowering truth of entrepreneurship and put that energy towards improving ourselves and our communities? Just hold on a bit, that jewel is coming.
Control The Money, Control The Masses Time and Energy
Who controls the creation of those USDs you get from cashing your paycheck? The Federal Reserve. These central bankers have literally became alchemists or better yet magicians ever since the Fed was created in 1913. How? It’s called Fractional Reserve Banking or banks being able to lend out more money than they have in their vaults by creating money out of thin air; but at least people could still trade in their dollars for Gold in those times.
However, things really got interesting in 1971 when President Nixon removed the ability for people to redeem their dollars for gold, and the Dollar became the world’s reserve currency. This historical event literally turned PAPER INTO GOLD and central bankers into ALCHEMISTS. This event also turned numbers, which is intangible, into a thing or a commodity that would be heavily manipulated by a small group of people.
Money, at its core, is just numbers that represent people’s time and energy. Numbers, just like air and rain water, is a part of the commons, and can not be owned. But The Fed owns the “numbers” in this existing economy. That’s like saying The Fed owns the inches we use to measure things with. “What, are you serious?”, you may ask. Like I said, we’ve been tricked into accepting this. The time for that has come to an end.
People and governments depend on central banks to create the money that enables exchange of goods and services. What if something triggered an event that caused money creation to slow down? There will be less exchanging happening. But we need to exchange goods and services in order gain the resources necessary to our survival. So it sounds as if we placed this very important duty into hands who do not have our best interests in mind.
The Lack of Money Circulating In The Economy
The other problem with our economic system is there’s not enough money circulating to satisfy everyone’s needs. Imagine our economy as our body’s circulatory system and USDs as our blood. If 93% of our blood only flowed to our brain, the rest of our body will eventually die off (20% of the US population controls 93% of the nation’s wealth). This hoarding of money is incentivized by the gain of interest. When the hoarding of money happens, we have a bad economy. When money is constantly circulating, we have a good economy. In order to remove this hoarding, money needs to have demmurage attached to it, which is treating money as food; if you hold it for too long, it spoils, or loses value. This will significantly encourage spending and investment (This feature will be applied to the currency we’ve developed called The Fini).
Unsustainable Corporate Practices
As far as corporate pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of the planet, I don’t feel I have to go into that too much. Everyday we see all of the pollution, the unsustainable amount of extraction of natural resources to satisfy Western society’s over-consumption, and more. What I don’t understand about this behavior is if we kill the planet, we kill ourselves. If there’s no planet, there’s no life. We don’t need a Ph.D to figure that out. But some people may say, our economic system doesn’t make it profitable for corporations to have sustainable practices. In order to fix this, I feel we have to make it profitable for them to do so, and since we’re now treating corporations as people, they should be “jailed” like people if they break laws as well, instead of only getting slaps on the wrist by paying fines. If we take away a corporation’s ability to generate revenue if they purposely and continuously harm the planet, I’ll guarantee that we’ll see a change in their practices.
The Deception of Inflation
Last but not least, due to inflation, the US Dollar has lost 98% of its value since the creation of the Fed in 1913. Current governmental monetary policy is designed to put itself in massive debt and spend money that it does not have. The more debt the country accumulates, the less wealth its citizens have.
For those who aren’t familiar with inflation, here’s an analogy. A farmer milks cows and sells the milk to the public. Now at first, it’s 100% pure milk, but he finds a way to make more money by diluting it. So starting off, it’s 90% milk, 10% water. But the dilution starts becoming higher and higher, up until it contains more water than milk, but he is still selling it as it is 100% pure milk. The farmer is defrauding people the same way central bankers are. Guess how much a Dollar in 1913 is worth today? T-W-O CENTS! Everyday, more and more money is printed without production of real wealth. This results in higher prices and lower value of the currency.
The country Zimbabwe experienced HYPER-INFLATION to the point where they were printing 100 BILLION Zimbabwe notes which can buy you only a pack of CHEWING GUM!! 1 MILLION Zimbabwe dollars are worth less than 1 CENT! Citizen’s retirement funds lost all of their value and many were forced into poverty. This was accompanied with a near 90% unemployment rate. This tragedy has happened in other countries as well. Due to The Fed’s inflationary practices, Russia and China are planning to dump the dollar for trade amongst their countries. This further threatens the dollar’s reserve currency status. What is keeping the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is OPEC’s acceptance of it for oil. If that is removed, kiss the value of the dollar goodbye!
I highly recommend that you view this video “Inflation Nation: Dollar Collapse” to see how much of a negative impact inflation has on our lives.
Part 2: What is our organization's solution to this problem?