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 Message Boards » » Money is a human technology Page [1]  
moron
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Do people realize this? Money is just like an iPhone or microwave, we invented it as a tool to serve society.

3/27/2017 1:04:57 AM

rjrumfel
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Have you been drinking?

3/27/2017 7:19:57 AM

NyM410
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White Europeans, am I right?

Weird thread..

3/27/2017 8:15:21 AM

eyewall41
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Yes of course money is a human construct as is wealth and poverty. Eventually this way in which we center our lives will collapse.

3/27/2017 10:12:58 AM

dtownral
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um, yes people realize this? is this thread like a "i'm 18 and just read a book about all the fallacies in the bible" kind of thing?

3/27/2017 11:57:43 AM

dtownral
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or a "no fiat money, ron paul 2016!" kind of thing/

3/27/2017 11:58:31 AM

wizzkidd
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I'm interested to hear what 'technology' the OP would define as not 'human'. Maybe poking an ant hill with a stick to eat ants??

I would also argue that 'we' didn't invent the microwave [oven] or the iPhone to 'serve society' at all.

3/27/2017 10:21:42 PM

moron
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Human technology is a bit redundant but it's meant for emphasis.

I don't see a good argument for saying iPhones and microwaves aren't to serve human society though. We created these things to attempt to make our lives easier and advantage our comfort and survival. Likewise for money.

3/27/2017 11:31:36 PM

Mr. Joshua
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All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

3/27/2017 11:41:11 PM

JCE2011
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Quote :
"We created these things to attempt to make our lives easier and advantage our comfort and survival. Likewise for money."


"We" didn't create those. Someone else did. In the majority of cases people invent/create/discover things because there is an incentive to do so, in money.

Individuals create these things to attempt to make their lives easier and more comfortable. That's why patents exist. That's why money exists. In a society it matters how much individuals contribute.

3/28/2017 12:06:40 AM

wizzkidd
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^mostly true. I would further argue that especially in the case of the iPhone it was made explicitly to make money. The 'human technology' of the hand-held computer/phone combination had already been out there for a while. Apple did what they've done for a while now, they took an existing 'human technology' and tweaked it to make it look cool.

I think that initial creators of technology are actually looking for something to solve a problem. To use the apple example the computer mouse was a user friendly way to interact with a computer vice the typical text command. So maybe they're initially created to make something easier... but then they're advanced to make money.

3/28/2017 8:05:50 AM

NeuseRvrRat
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3/28/2017 8:24:24 PM

theDuke866
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It's like, the corporations, maaaaan.

3/28/2017 9:21:12 PM

JT3bucky
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Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't there multiple species that use various forms of "money" in one way or another?

Penguins is a crude example.

3/28/2017 10:53:19 PM

Cabbage
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^I'm not familiar with the penguins, but that does remind me of this Duke study where monkeys "paid" to see porn:

Quote :
"Four of the male monkeys sat in front of computer screens. They were rewarded with juice whenever they shifted their gaze from one image to another. Some images resulted in more juice than other photos. When given the choice between a photo of a low-status male with a high juice reward and a photo of a female's hindquarters, the male test subjects refused the extra juice so that they could gaze at the sexy female images. They also "paid" with juice to see photos of high-status males. Conversely, the male monkeys required extra payment, meaning more juice, to view the faces of low-status males and females. "


http://mentalfloss.com/article/18594/yep-monkeys-porn-too

3/28/2017 10:58:10 PM

beatsunc
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audit the fed!

3/30/2017 7:03:21 AM

wizzkidd
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The animal argument isn't counter to the OPs post. Those are examples of barter. Money (or currency) is a way to barter without having to transport whatever good you have, and allowing you to exchange it in multiple ways and divisions.

Those monkeys would have a much harder time exchanging that juice if they had to transport it around the jungle.

3/30/2017 8:19:16 AM

moron
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I think people are glossing over the implication of this, since it seems most people accept this premise.

For example, we encourage people nowadays to save for retirement, this essentially means taking huge amounts of money and tying them up in various ETFs and commodities, since one day they'll need this to live off of. But this model tends to bolster financial instruments and financial system at the cost of people putting more money into their local economies, which itself has other side effects. If you imagine a world where people didn't have to save for retirement to live, this is trillions of dollars people would otherwise be free to spend, immediately, in a very diverse set of ways, possibly give more to charities or do more charitable work. Think about how much you put away for savings, and what you would do with this if you didn't have to, probably go on more vacations or pursue your hobbies/passions that might lead you into a business where your talents and abilities are fully utilized.

I'm not arguing for a basic income here, but one of the arguments for basic income is that it more efficiently allocates labor, since more people are working jobs they WANT rather than settling.

If we accept the premise that money is technology, we wouldn't tolerate the vast and growing amounts of inequality. This doesn't serve society, and this is something we would change if it were any other technology.

3/30/2017 9:41:22 PM

theDuke866
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^ sounds like financial alchemy to me. How exactly do you plan to have people's retirement funded?

3/30/2017 9:54:08 PM

theDuke866
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imagine no possessions





A brotherhood of man

3/30/2017 9:54:40 PM

wizzkidd
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^^^ uhh... would you say you've purchased a car? Did you pay cash or was it financed? Do you have a credit card? I would argue that the "bolster[ing] of financial instruments" allowed you to do that because the money that someone (or multiple people) saved for retirement could then be loaned to you, so you could then put it back into the economy.

Quote :
"Think about how much you put away for savings, and what you would do with this if you didn't have to."

Are you seriously bringing up the opportunity cost of savings!?!? That's the whole point of savings is that there is no opportunity cost because you haven't spent anything, and under the current model you can earn interest (or perhaps "bolster financial instruments") with that savings to increase its value.
Quote :
"If we accept the premise that money is technology, we wouldn't tolerate the vast and growing amounts of inequality."

I don't understand how this is true at all. Airplanes are technology, and we happily accept that there is a vast inequality in their distribution. The same goes for above-ground swimming pools. I'm not trying to be a dick, I seriously don't follow your logic of IF money=technology THEN inequality goes to (or toward) zero.

3/30/2017 10:18:18 PM

moron
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^^^
Pensions.

And you're thinking "but how do you fund pensions without investments" i would suspect you could use a scheme similar to social security. With better wealth equality and an otherwise healthy society you should be able to do this.

I think back to tribal times, what was money for? It was so some people could hunt for food, other people could stay at the village and tend a farm or build houses, and at the end of they day they both could eat to live another day even though only 1 person actually acquired food.

Even if we don't/can't eliminate retirement funds, we shouldn't be afraid to continue engineering what money is and how it works, it should serve society, and I think there's a good argument to be made that the way we implement money now isn't serving society.

3/30/2017 10:30:31 PM

moron
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^^ You could also argue that the bolstering of the financial system is what caused the need for borrowing money to purchase a house/car/college education-- this is certainly a common argument from Conservatives re: college tuition costs. If loans weren't so easy to get, tuition wouldn't rise so rapidly.

This is a well known cause of rise in housing prices. This is what also allows wealthy people to gain more wealth at an exponential rate, which is a clear flaw/bug in the system isn't it? And since wealth buys power, this creates perverse political incentives where these people can entrench their corrosive wealth generating schemes.

Maybe i'm missing something, but I can't see how you can argue there's no opportunity cost for savings. I'm not against investing, but we actively promote and incentivize investing, and I think this is an anti-pattern, to borrow a term from software engineering, for money.

Quote :
"I don't understand how this is true at all. Airplanes are technology, and we happily accept that there is a vast inequality in their distribution. The same goes for above-ground swimming pools. I'm not trying to be a dick, I seriously don't follow your logic of IF money=technology THEN inequality goes to (or toward) zero.
"


I'm not saying that if money=technology we have no inequality. I'm saying that money==technology, and inequality is a failure of society to properly maintain this technology. Inequality is a pothole in a road. It's an exploding battery in a cell phone design.

[Edited on March 30, 2017 at 10:40 PM. Reason : ]

3/30/2017 10:34:32 PM

wizzkidd
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Quote :
"Pensions."

So, someone else just funds retirements? I don't understand how this is any different than me saving for retirement. I can "save" for retirement, I can pay into my pension, or someone else can pay into my pension. That doesn't change that money is being stocked away for later in life so I don't have to earn income through employment.

Quote :
"I think back to tribal times, what was money for? It was so some people could hunt for food, other people could stay at the village and tend a farm or build houses, and at the end of they day they both could eat to live another day even though only 1 person actually acquired food."

huh!??! Link for facts please. This tribal times comment doesn't merry up to my understanding of "tribal" societies.
Quote :
"You could also argue that the bolstering of the financial system is what caused the need for borrowing money to purchase a house/car/college education-- this is certainly a common argument from Conservatives re: college tuition costs. If loans weren't so easy to get, tuition wouldn't rise so rapidly."

I think "bolstering of the financial system" (We really need to define what we mean by that phrase) allowed many more people to compete for goods and services, which drove up demand, which then drove up prices. Supply and Demand.


Let's review what money (or currency) is. Money is a way to transfer goods and services without having to transport or barter stuff that isn't always needed. IE: I have a cow who gives milk, and I need wheat, a saddle, and timber. Rather than having to move my cow to people who all have those things (and may not need milk), I can sell milk consistently to a few people who need milk and can benefit from me selling it (but may not have leather, wheat or timber), and then go buy what I need from someone else, who may not need milk (or certainly not so much milk that I could build a barn with all the timber I got from trading milk).

You're arguing that this concept is what drives unequal accumulation of wealth. I would say that perhaps money makes it easier to mass wealth when there are market inefficiencies (potholes in the road so to speak), but the unequal distribution of wealth was around long before money.

3/31/2017 7:35:03 AM

rjrumfel
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Look, I've softened on basic income over the years because I feel like the way technology is going is going to knock many people out of jobs. Even the very intelligent professionals - one day many of those jobs will be automated. There will be a need for some type of basic income at some point because so many people will be unable to work.

But we're not there, and won't be for a long time.

Bur your argument about saving for retirement, I don't think it will hold water. Many young people don't save for retirement already. I think I've read in several different places like 1 in 4 currently in the workforce have less than $1000 saved for retirement. So already you have a large portion of the population spending all of their money rather than saving it. Of course, the other 75% probably have a large amount of wealth stashed away in their retirement accounts, or other forms of investments that they plan on cashing in when they retire.

3/31/2017 8:08:16 AM

NeuseRvrRat
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Central planning will solve all our problems guys! We just need smarter central planners, is all.

3/31/2017 9:21:09 AM

JCE2011
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Workers of the world unite!

3/31/2017 9:53:42 AM

NeuseRvrRat
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What exactly do y'all think happens with money that is "saved"? I'm not talking about hoarding cash, that's different.

3/31/2017 1:50:41 PM

moron
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^ that's a good question. Investing in its simplest form is neutral, it's when we make investing in the stock market tax advantaged with lower long term capital gains tax rates, and promote investing in markets with tax-advantaged retirement accounts that the utility of investing starts to become distorted. This is a whole ecosystem that promotes financial instruments and derivatives at the costs of more practical and impactful ways to invest money.

[Edited on March 31, 2017 at 4:01 PM. Reason : ]

3/31/2017 3:55:29 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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Agreed. Taxes are definitely the problem.

3/31/2017 6:04:10 PM

wizzkidd
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Quote :
"Investing in its simplest form is neutral, it's when we make investing in the stock market tax advantaged with lower long term capital gains tax rates, and promote investing in markets with tax-advantaged retirement accounts that the utility of investing starts to become distorted. This is a whole ecosystem that promotes financial instruments and derivatives at the costs of more practical and impactful ways to invest money.
"


This should have been your original post... rather than "Money is just like an iPhone or microwave"

3/31/2017 11:24:18 PM

GrumpyGOP
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I agree that money -- in the sense of various currencies and financial instruments -- are technologies designed to facilitate human interactions.

However, the fundamental idea behind money - that the products of labor have value that can be exchanged - certainly appears to be a fact of nature. Even animals don't like to give up something for free. They just don't have such elaborate methods of exchange.

Quote :
"If we accept the premise that money is technology, we wouldn't tolerate the vast and growing amounts of inequality."


People certainly seem to be OK with vast and growing inequality in every other context, why not this one?

Quote :
" If you imagine a world where people didn't have to save for retirement to live, this is trillions of dollars people would otherwise be free to spend, immediately, in a very diverse set of ways"


This is true, but it ignores the actual root problem, which is with us rather than the money. Even if we could all spend our money now to fully reach our potential, most of us would be working against the clock. We get old. Our potential diminishes, and rapidly. Eventually most people reach a point where their ability to earn money is less than their need for money.

I see three possible solutions to this disparity, one of which is unpalatable to the vast majority of people, and two of which run into the problem you're addressing here. We could kill everybody who can't earn enough to sustain themselves. That's the unpalatable one. We could save a portion of our labor from our more productive years through "money," a purpose of which is storing the value of our labor. In the meantime, that deprives us of some of that value, that could be invested immediately for greater return - but again, the alternative is that we get put on an ice floe once our productivity gets too low. Or we welfare state it, and take part of the value from the labor of currently productive people to pay for the presently unproductive. Obviously this has the same issue, just spread among different people.

Quote :
"That's the whole point of savings is that there is no opportunity cost because you haven't spent anything"


Bull-fucking-shit. Plenty of opportunity cost in savings. When interest doesn't keep up with inflation, you end up with less value later on. When banks fail or financial crises happen, savings can take a hit or get wiped out. You'd be stupid to save money in a bank if you knew massive inflation was coming, because it would end up being worth less than what you could have gotten if you spent it right away.

Or, if you prefer a more personal level, all savings for the future has one big risk: you might die before the future. If you breathe your last with ten million dollars in the bank, that's ten million dollars worth of fun you could have had while you were alive.

I put away as much as I can for retirement, but every time I do I feel a pang of regret and fear that I could be dumping it into a black hole. Donald Trump is president of the United States, and I like to drink whiskey and eat fried chicken.

4/2/2017 2:53:58 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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the fact that humans "invented" it doesn't mean that we can make it do anything we want it to. just as the laws of physics govern what is and is not possible for machines to do, the laws of economics govern our money. central planners can fight it all they want.

4/2/2017 7:19:08 PM

dtownral
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you can't have money without some kind of central planning

4/3/2017 10:10:59 AM

NeuseRvrRat
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Is gold money?

4/3/2017 2:02:18 PM

synapse
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Yes

Quote :
"something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment"

4/3/2017 5:08:30 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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Agreed

[Edited on April 3, 2017 at 5:43 PM. Reason : Ben Bernanke disagrees with us, though.]

4/3/2017 5:38:22 PM

TerdFerguson
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Gold only becomes money, in the modern sense, after it has been weighed out and minted. You have to standardize money (to some degree) or else you are just bartering gold and weighing it yourself (which defeats the purpose of easing transactions).

4/3/2017 5:47:12 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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even after it's turned into coins, you still need to weigh it. governments have been known to trim coins. now they just print more notes, but it's the exact same thing.

so is the purpose to simply make transactions easier to conduct, or to allow government manipulation?

[Edited on April 3, 2017 at 5:51 PM. Reason : adsf]

4/3/2017 5:50:33 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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that's what i assumed moron was trying to get to with this thread: that money is a "human technology" and that means that we should be able to manipulate it to "serve society".

i mean, it never works in the long run, but at least he doesn't dance around the idea. he owns it.

4/3/2017 5:56:34 PM

TerdFerguson
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Yea I'd say it's purpose is to ease transaction and to allow for manipulation. It can be both I think.

4/3/2017 6:19:05 PM

dtownral
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^^^Then you're just talking about bartering, in this case with gold, not money

Money requires some kind of central planning

No one wants to live in your shitty libertarian society you made up in your head

[Edited on April 3, 2017 at 6:20 PM. Reason : .]

4/3/2017 6:19:18 PM

JCE2011
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Unsustainable national debt and inflation also require central planning

[Edited on April 3, 2017 at 6:34 PM. Reason : .]

4/3/2017 6:33:53 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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^^^thanks for owning it

4/3/2017 6:36:07 PM

TerdFerguson
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Owning that manipulation is possible? Or that it might be useful?

4/3/2017 7:05:08 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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both

4/3/2017 7:12:12 PM

Cherokee
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/history-money.html

4/4/2017 10:31:16 AM

wizzkidd
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Quote :
"Bull-fucking-shit. Plenty of opportunity cost in savings. When interest doesn't keep up with inflation, you end up with less value later on. When banks fail or financial crises happen, savings can take a hit or get wiped out. You'd be stupid to save money in a bank if you knew massive inflation was coming, because it would end up being worth less than what you could have gotten if you spent it right away.
"


hmm... maybe you're right. I was thinking in the purest definition of the term, but after doing some online research, I can't find anything to support my definition, that doesn't also substantiate your interest argument.

4/4/2017 8:53:23 PM

HOOPS SHALOM
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Lydia, an Iron Age Anatolian kingdom, may have been the original inventor of this technology.

4/4/2017 10:45:11 PM

LoneSnark
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I can't believe you like money too. We should hang out.

4/11/2017 6:16:24 AM

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