The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

November 23, 2009

Money is Freedom

Filed under: Navel Gazing,Politics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:50 am

Most people seem to think that money is something one exchanges to get goods and services. It is that but at a deeper level, money is freedom.

Currency was developed as a general way to exchange one service or good for another service or good without the limitations of bartering. Bartering requires me to carefully negotiate each transaction since there is no fixed way to determine how much a service is worth in comparison to another service. Money helps us be lazy in that respect. There are side effects to having a currency system. Without currency, there really isn’t a way to have interest or passive income without exploiting other people. Investing in a business would also be hard without the concept of money.

The view that money is a vehicle for getting services or stuff ignores the fact that in almost all cases, you are trading money for time. A farmer spent time cultivating the wheat which goes into your bread. The baker spent time making the bread. You spent money for all of that time put into making the bread and you spent time making money to buy the bread.

Some time is worth less then other time under a currency system. The fellow at the drive-thrugh taking your order makes just north of minimum wage for his time, while a sales person can make ten times as much for the same amount of time. Most people toil long hours for the money they make to trade for other peoples’ time.

What is time? Without getting into philosophy too much, time is a commodity which we can exchange for anything we want. We only have so much of it to trade. Any time you don’t use to ensure you have life’s necessities can be used for whatever you want.

To some extent, money and time are the same. They can both be invested to make or save more. They both have varying values depending on how they are spent. There is a limited supply of both, but the limits can be raised somewhat.

Money is time is freedom. The more money you have, the more time you can spend doing what you want. The more money you have, the more valuable your time spent can be. The more time we have, and the more valuable time we have, the more freedom we have.

You were wondering about the politics flag? I’m getting to that. Some of the services we buy with our freedom are provided by the government; roads, police, fire departments, the infrastructure to keep us safe and civilized. These are payed for in the form of taxes. We all agree more or less that we need to invest some of our time and money (freedom) to keep civilization from falling apart.

I have a couple of issues with how our time/money/freedom are used by the government. The first problem I have is redistribution. The government takes some of my freedom and gives it to someone else. This is freedom that I worked hard to acquire and that this other person did not work for. Does this other person need my freedom? Maybe they do for various reasons, but it should be my choice (via charity) whether I give my freedom to him.

The other problem is the inefficiency of how my freedom is spent. The federal government is notorious for not getting a good value for their money spent. I saw a lot of this when I was in the service. Parts which cost $1.75 off the shelf cost the government $50. There are many reasons for this including Military Spec. certifications, but at the end of the day, they are identical parts. Government corruption adds to the inefficiency. We hear stories every day about some public official taking bribes or giving favors. I also consider earmarks a form of corruption. Come to think about it, the whole inefficiency issue is an extension of giving my money and time to people who didn’t earn it. The money spent above the cost of a part goes to someone who didn’t earn it. The money lost in corruption is going to people who didn’t earn it. The difference is that inefficiency hides the redistribution.

All I want is adequate value for the freedom that I pay to the government. They should be doing the necessary things to ensure that society functions, and do it efficiently and well. Outside the necessary things, just let people decide how they spend their freedom.

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