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Exclusive: The Basic Economic Problem. Part 3 of 4.
By Admin (from 24/11/2010 @ 08:00:25, in en - Global Observatory, read 2718 times)


“The only true lasting American value that’s still around today is buying things; people spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need.” - George Carlin

Yet, we continue to believe that ‘this is just the way it is’: that greed is natural and thus acceptable. This ridiculous notion is what all of the text books are based upon, this ‘me against you, us against them’ mentality is where the absurd and fallacious ‘basic economic problem’ comes from, and this incredible lie is what makes people maintain their nonsensical support for monetary-ism, despite its plainly horrific flaws. To truly put this into perspective, ‘the basic economic problem’ causes 34,000 people to die every day because of poverty, and forces around 3.4 billion people (half of all people on earth) to survive on less than $2 per day. How anyone can be aware of these statistics and still refuse to seek alternatives is nothing short of a disgusting and unsane disregard for human life. If you still believe that human wants are naturally infinite, rather than the result of the competitive environment in which we are raised – the environment which ‘forces us to fight with each other to survive’ – I will now attempt to provide some other broader examples.

A better analogy than the ‘blank canvas’ to which I earlier referred is the idea that all children are born holding a mirror; they reflect the society around them. A child born into an Italian family and raised in Italy will develop the mannerisms of the Italian culture; the accent, the traditions, the tastes and all other aspects will be ‘mirrored’ by the child. He was not born with an ‘Italian’ gene which made him this way. Similarly, a child born to German parents in Germany who is then adopted by English foster parents in England will reflect the English culture in which he is raised, rather than developing a German accent, etc. Characteristics such as dialect, tradition and taste are in no way more inherent in humans than greed: a man who lives alone on an island and has no competition for food and water will not develop the same ‘infinite wants’ as a man raised in a village of one hundred people who only have access to one fruit tree and one well.

Additionally, through further analogies, we can see that this is not just a trend limited to humans. In World War Two, dogs were trained to attack and kill Japanese soldiers; simultaneously, dogs were also trained to guide the blind. The dog that kills soldiers is not bad, just as much as the guide dog is not good: they are simply the products of training and conditioning, in no different a way as we are the products of the indoctrination of the monetary system. A frequently raised question is: ‘I’ve worked for what I have, why should people in the less-developed world be given the same for free?’ Let me simply remind you that you were born into modern Britain, where electricity, running water, hospitals, schools, cars, telephones, televisions, computers and every other piece of technology which betters your life had already been created. You contributed nothing to this, yet still have total access to it.

The vital understanding is that ‘the basic economic problem’ that we have been presented with is simply not accurate in the way that most people understand it: human wants are not infinite. Rather, the wants of humans raised in a competitive environment – where fighting others for survival is the norm – may be infinite, but to label this a natural facet of all men is simply inaccurate. In the world as it is today, our only motivation and measurement of success is monetary reward, and so to constantly seek more (even when we have no tangible use for it) seems a natural process. In this way, however, ‘the basic economic problem’ is not some ultimate obstacle to a transition to a Resource-Based Economy. If people can be conditioned to believe that they will demand materialistic gratification indefinitely, they can just as easily be conditioned to think the opposite. This is not even an alien methodology without grounds in the present system; in a 2010 speech to students at Oxford University, American studier of motivational patterns Dan Pink discussed the following unconventional approaches to employment.

In the past few years, an Australian software company named Atlassian has introduced a scheme called ‘FedEx Days’ – presumably stemming from the idea of delivering an overnight solution – to their business. The idea is that, several times a year, their entire workforce is given 24 hours of totally free time in order to engineer a solution to a problem of their choosing. They are allowed to work on absolutely anything, without limitations, targets or budgets, as long as it does not relate to their everyday paid work. Atlassian admits that some of its most successful software solutions have stemmed from these ‘FedEx Days’. The engineers who develop these ideas are motivated by the chance to fulfil their creative potential and express their ability, rather than by monetary reward or the need to meet a given expectation.


Author: Liam Blee - Source: thezeitgeistmovement.com