What has our Economic System become?

I’m an avid reader of history. I’ve read a lot of it from various cultures over various time periods. Chinese, Indian, Russian, Roman, Norse, and Greek. I’ve also read just about every single major piece of mythology that exists on Earth, and I have come to an interesting conclusion – No matter what the changes in the Environment are, no matter how much mankind has ‘achieved’, the human condition has not changed.

Vitruvian Man - Da Vinci

What I mean by this, is that the net sum of happiness and misery in the world has remained more or less the same. In spite of our economic success, our inventions, and our knowledge, man is still the same person, facing the same problems (albeit in different ways), and dealing with them in the same way. The only thing that really seems to have changed, is the relatively less amount of outright injustice, like slavery, or witch hunting.

But witch hunting has not ended. It happens every day, when we need a scapegoat. It’s toned down of course, but it’s not ended. Humans never change.

What then, I am forced to ask, has our economic success really provided us with? It has eased our lifestyle. But is that so important? I have become so soft and weak, that I wonder if it’s a boon, or a curse. Has it set me free? Not at all. The free market has removed the explicit forms of control, and has replaced it with insidious ones like subtle advertisements, and peer pressure.

In fact, our economic system has turned into a monster. In intelligent, living monster, with a life of it’s own, and it’s own interests. It was created to serve humans. It was created painstakingly, to make our life more secure. But like the fantasy novels, where the robots that man has created, become self aware, and rebel against mankind, the economic system has turned around and enslaved us.

What food does this monster eat? The food is our desire. The economic system is greased by the money that circulates due to purchases that people make. If people never bought anything, companies would go out of business, and the building blocks of the system would be destroyed.

If the beast stayed within it’s limits, and provided for mankind what mankind actually wants, then it is indeed a great boon. But the beast has it’s own life. It wants more and more, and so, ensures that we are bombarded with things we don’t need, convincing us that it is essential to our happiness. Such is it’s perversity, that it even makes spend what we do not have through credit cards.

To say that we are in control, is a fallacy. Each one of us is powerless in the face of the giant corporations that rule our lives. We’re like worker ants. We imagine that we’re serving ourselves, but all the time, we are doing exactly what we are required to do, dutifully, and even joyfully. The corporations themselves are slaves to the even bigger forces of the share market, and external forces like government regulations, taxes, and oil prices.

The more we think about it, the scarier it becomes. We are so insignificant in front of this beast, who nonetheless needs us, that it’s frightening. Is there a way out? Probably not. For that, all of mankind must mature, and evolve spiritually. But as mentioned in the beginning, man is the same, and always will be.

2 comments to What has our Economic System become?

  • Hi Bhagwad,

    I have to agree with you on one point. Human nature has not changed since the beginning of history. Our logic is the same logic that our ancestors of thousands of years ago used. The only thing that has changed is the technology. I have a bit of a more optimistic view, however, on the progress that mankind had achieved.

    The economy is not a human invention. It was not, in any way, at any time, created by anyone. An economy is simply people trading. Trading enables people to take advantage of the division of labor and comparative advantage, and thus improve their productivity. As societies become more complex, more formal institutions are created which enable more effective trading, but also to hopefully protect the rights of the members of society. That role of protection may be a proper role of government institutions.

    The problems that we face now are not the beast of an economy that has become unleashed, but rather the result of a government that no longer protects the rights of its citizens. Rather, it steals from them to benefit some well connected people, both politicians and mercantilist business people. The government blesses the actions of the central bank, which induces inflationary credit bubbles and the disastrous collapses that they precipitate. The central banks inflate the money supply and steal the value from the dollar by systematic devaluation of the currency.

    It seems to me that you have gotten the face of the beast wrong. The beast is the government. The reason that they keep getting bigger, more powerful and scarier is because people fall for the biggest trick that the beast can pull. Blame it on the market, on the economy, and call for the beast to save us. That beast is pretty clever. Obviously it is working on you.

    Quite frankly, there is a very simple way out. It is not easy, but it is simple. If we un-elect all of our corrupt leaders, quit asking government to steal for us, take responsibility for our own lives, and respect the rights of every individual, the beast will wither away. I am not too optimistic that that will happen. Too many people have gotten used to the gifts of the beast, used to handouts and favoritism and special interest pandering to be able to say no more.

    I am sure we will get through this current catastrophe, but the beast is already setting us up for the next one, using trillions of dollars of our own money. There may come a time when the beast will win, even in America. At that time, we will all be slaves to the real beast, the socialist monster that our government is steadily evolving towards.

  • Donovan

    I agree with you. I’ve been thinking about what kind of economy system that we will use for the upcoming years. As for nowadays, I think the economic system that we use is very confusing for some people, including me…

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