Okay, brace yourself. The following information will contain contradictions galore. It is not going to be an answer or solution for anything, but will raise a lot of questions…
You’re still reading? Okay, but never say I didn’t warn you.
Fresh off the presses some days back (I have a bookmark file labeled “To Blog About”) was the following story: Credit Card Fees transfer Wealth from the Poor to the Rich.
Not any shocker there. Any thinking person realizes that merchants must raise their prices in order to sustain profit margins in the face of per-swipe and transaction fees. Credit card companies with the best ‘customer rewards’ also charge merchants the highest fees – c’mon, those ‘free’ plane tickets have to come from somewhere and you can bet your boots it’s not from the credit card company’s profits.
The not-so-well-qualified buyers pay the same price or more for something than the well-qualified buyers.
Because of my first hand knowledge of the exorbitant merchant fees by Discover and American Express and the lower (yet still costly) fees by other brands, I have tried very hard to limit my use of debit/credit cards. Cash is how I like to deal and have done so for years.
This does, of course, cut off my nose to spite my face – not using credit means your score becomes the subterranean level of the whole building. On the plus side, you’re naturally safe from identity theft without paying $39.95 per month for protection.
On the other hand, I have a sneaking feeling that if everyone did this, the banks would have the same problem they encountered in 1929 and other well-known years. We’ve been lured into the ‘electronic, paperless’ banking system for so long, I really wonder if there is enough printed money for everyone to function off cash alone.
Which brings me to my next thought. IF we all went to paying cash for expenditures, would there be a rash of DEA seizures and arrests? ‘Cuz, ya know, one of the first alarm bells for those folks regarding where to search for large scale happy plant growing is when a local corn farmer pays cash for a new John Deere tractor with all the bells and whistles….
And ultimately, my brain winds it way back to what ‘cash’ really represents.
It represents the ingenuity and labor of workers who take raw materials and turn them into something life sustaining, useful, beautiful or entertaining.
Which leads me to thinking, if unemployment is so high, and people aren’t working, then the symbols that represent that work should be in short supply too.
And if fewer people are working, there should, by mathematics, be less to oversee, manage, regulate and invest in, meaning government, CEO’s and stockbrokers as well as gamblers (I mean ‘investors’) should be hunkering down with everyone else.
I don’t observe this to be happening. It seems government, regulations and the financial services markets are expanding.
I see too, that I’m a day late/dollar short on starting a local community exchange currency system. Apparently, California is starting to issue voucher money. (translation, their own currency) If they have followed in the footsteps of South American communities who did the same in the ’80s and ’90s, and have done their homework, I suspect they will realize success.
Other states will follow – soon communities everywhere will have wrested back the control of their economy via their own efforts, instead of waiting for Washington to decide if they are worthy of the fruits of their own labor or not.
I still question how much the Free Market movement will save us, given the basic fact that for Capitalism to work, it must gain 3% growth each and every year, which means, it’s a system that cannot function within limits. As much as sustainability efforts try for a goal of 100%, it’s a goal that is, to our current way of viewing the world, unattainable.
On the flip side, the metaphysical groups will cite “Energy can neither be destroyed nor created, only transformed” and that we need only function within the laws of the universe in order to realize untold abundance. (aka, “No Limit Living”)
‘m hesitating. Primarily because I’m focusing on getting well so I have enough energy to pull off this endeavor. I hate starting something and petering out before it’s realized. (Which I’ve done many times in the past years – remember my tendency for my mind to write checks my body can’t cash?)
I’ve also hesitated because initial conversations with local merchants didn’t show much interest. Can’t figure out if I didn’t communicate properly, if it really sounds to good to be true, or if in this day and age, anything suggesting that you really can be the master of your own domain is so unbelievable that I just sound like a charlatan.
Also, for those who are busy actually running a business or working for a living, there isn’t a lot of free time to do all the researching and reading I do. And the concept of having your own local currency and how to make it work is not something I’ve figured out how to succinctly explain in 500 words or less. (I am working on it – 2 drafts sit in my “in progress” folder as you read this…)
So in the end, I decided to start writing short little ditties with links to the full story. I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps my job is not to realize anything, only raise the interest and point people in the direction of further information.
If it is, then I’m up to the challenge, right now.