Fables from the Hood - Dog and Fish / Money

The Dog was getting thirsty. Combining the necessary with the enjoyable, the Dog took a pleasant hop, skip and jump to the stream to visit the Fish. The Dog and the Fish were best of friends and enjoyed discussing philosophical perspectives on life, the universe and everything.

The Fish seeing the Dog coming, swam as close to the edge as possible. Immediately the Fish began a discussion of great relevance and importance. It involved humans unshakeable belief in the money myth.

Fish: Humans do have a strange relationship to money. They forget that money is a just a myth or perhaps because it is a myth, they think that money will solve all their problems.

Dog: You mean the invisible hand of the market will make the world a better place for all?

Fish: Only humans can make the world a better place for humans. A market will make a better place for a market. What I mean is that people don’t invest in people, they invest in companies that don’t have the best interest of humans as a goal. Companies are constructs to create profit for the few and exploit the many.

Dog: So goals that don’t make a profit aren’t an interest to a company? Things like climate change, starvation, preventing wars, health care etc all these things aren’t profitable.

Fish: Direct profit is the key here. Climate change makes an incredible indirect profit: saving the planet and the people will provide a basis for all future profits. But capitalism isn’t about saving the world tomorrow, it’s about making a profit today.

Dog: So what humans need is a focus change. There is a need recalibrate capitalism to focus on non-profit oriented goals, such as health, climate and security.

Fish: That or the myth could be modified. I believe the myth of money has been over stretched. Remember the original thinking behind money was to make trade easier and thereby ensure that everyone has what they need.

[Aside to the reader: the myth of money was invented because a farmer who has apples might not be able to swap those for wheat, since the farmer with the wheat has already enough apples. But if there is a common belief in money, then the farmer can swap their apples for shiny bits of metal since and later the farmer can swap those shiny bits of metal for wheat. The second advantage is that the farmer didn’t need to remember various exchange rates between apples and grain, or apples and cows or grains and cows - money provides a common denominator for all exchange rates.]

Fish: (continues) Money now has become so essential that human freedom is restricted by it. A human is forced to pay off their mortgage else they risk landing on the street. To pay off their mortgage they need a job. To get a job, they need an education. To get an education, they need money … so they take out a loan.

Fish: (continues) This then becomes a financial cage that entraps the human, thus restricting their freedom in very subtle forms. Humans avoid controversy since that could risk their job. They tend to play along in the hope of financial advancement. Always following societal norms, avoiding the risk of losing their financial future.

Fish: (continues) Since humans are financially caged then money can be used to influence them. Hence we need not to wonder why corruption and political lobbying are so common place amongst human societies. (Aside: One side calls it corruption that other lobbying - the effect is the same.)

Dog: So the money myth has gone beyond its original supportive role to becoming a dominating control mechanism.

Fish: Yep, and worse still: money might not buy love but it does buy influence, the rich have more influence than the poor.

Here the conversation momentarily ceased as both momentarily reflected on their conversation. Each did their best to clear the heads and enjoy the sunny day. Until the Dog began …

Dog: What do you suggest humans should do besides throwing up their hands in despair.

Fish: They can do a lot of things, none guaranteed to help. They could keep making promises that things will get better. They could have a war and destroy everything. (What humans generally do in times of crisis.) Or they could change the money myth.

Dog: Changing is the money myth is probably the most difficult path to take. Humans tend to take the path of least resistance. Leaders tend not to risk being unpopular and a path that requires great sacrifice is unpopular.

Fish: Ironically popularity is also based on power. Has a small group great power than a leader doesn’t want to be unpopular with them. Has a large group no power, then it doesn’t really matter if one is unpopular or not, regardless of how large this group is or what it represents.

Dog: Oh, that doesn’t bode well. But going back to myth change, what are you suggesting?

Fish: The overreaching money myth needs to be reined in which implies reduction of money influence on human society.

Dog: So a more level playing field, reducing the gap between rich and poor, influencers and enslaved.

Fish: Right. There are many possible ways of doing this: taxing the rich, universal basic income, debt exoneration, state confiscation of private companies, replace the money myth with a more powerful myth - something that groups like Fridays for Futures are attempting.

Fish: (continues) All these have one common attribute: they are unpopular with the rich. In a setup where the rich have the most influence, it’s hard to make changes that are unpopular with the rich. So leaders avoid making change or only change that favours the rich.

Dog: Ironically there is another consideration to be made. Since the money myth has morphed at a snails pace, humans can’t recall a societal form that is much different from the current one.

Fish: Which doesn’t allow the masses to make a direct comparison between societal forms and decided which is better.

Dog: Human societal forms don’t have a refund period.

Fish: You mean a if-you-are-not-satisfied-get-your-money-back guarantee!

And with that both fell into a silence of contemplation. Until:

Dog: Do you think our discussion was more important than thinking about chickens and streets?

Fish: Has Godot arrived?