While listening to NPR during this whole debt crisis situation, I thought, "So, basically, everyone in the world owes everyone else in the world money." Perhaps it's more complicated than that, but that's the gist. You'll have to forgive me--monetary concerns were never my strong suit.
Which isn't to say that you should completely disregard the rest of my argument.
Seriously, once money gets up into the trillions (Hahaha, okay guys, you got me! that's not a real number!), I pretty much start to feel like we all moved to Monopolyland or something. All this shuffling of bits of information that represent money back and forth between computers. It's MIND BOGGLING! And just when I was starting to think that I was the only one on the whole planet who realized that money is this totally crazy made-up thing, This American Life did a whole episode on it. Scroll all the way to the bottom of that page and listen to it. It's fantastic.
So anyway, money is made up. And some people have waaaaaaaaay more of it than other people. Problem is, when one guy finally has all the money and refuses to share it with anybody, nobody can buy that guy's--or any guy's--products, and no one can pay their debts to anyone else, bringing us to an economic showdown wherein BARTERTOWN. TWO MAN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVE! Don't worry. I know what you're thinking. "This girl is about to go totally socialist on my ass!" Um, no. I'm going to propose something even more radical. You're going to think it's crazy, but I beg you to let it soak in for a minute before you decide that it's a stupid way to take care of economic problems. I know you have a lot of top quality choices when it comes to debt solutions.
What is this mind-blowing solution, you ask? I don't know why you would ask that since I put it in the title of this piece but: INTERNATIONAL DO-OVER DAY!
What would happen if we just erased all debts? Everyone's debts? So tomorrow I wake up with exactly the same amount of money that I have now, but I don't owe anyone anything--and no one owes me anything, either. Then we start from baseline. Perhaps there would be SOME debts allowed to carry over. My employer still owes me a paycheck, and I still owe the IRS. Maybe? Maybe not? I'm not an economist! All I know is that on a larger scale, if China owes Argentina (do they? I made that up as an example) a gagillion dollars and Argentina owes the United State a gagillion dollars, what you end up with is some kind of circular standoff. It's like when the mob offers to sell you protection and then breaks your legs if you don't buy the protection. In other words, the money is like the protection--a MADE UP THING! And if you don't want to be involved with made up things, then can't you just decide not to believe in them? No. The mob still comes for you anyway. Maybe this is more like the emperor's new clothes.
MY POINT IS that it's kind of ridiculous to keep letting money wield all of this power over us when WE'RE THE ONES WHO MADE UP THE FUCKING MONEY. Money is whatever we say it is. It's not some inherently autonomous, uncontrollable force like God or your mother. It's fucking MADE UP, YOU GUYS! I think I've made my point.
International Do-Over Day. Think about it. Make a Facebook invite or something. Viva la revolucion! And remember what Jesus said (according to the Presbyterians): "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." See? JESUS is all about International Do-Over Day!
Book Notes - Patrick Nathan "Some Hell"
1 day ago