As James Carville said back in 1992 to help Bill Clinton (D) prevail over George H.W. Bush (R) in what now, looking back, seems like a downright quaint presidential election during much simpler times – “it’s the economy, stupid”.
That part still hasn’t changed much. What may have changed since then is how much more faith people seem to be putting in (D)s and (R)s to help shape their destiny, solve all their problems, and determine their ability to lead a more fulfilling life going forward. It’s as if everyone’s looking for a deity (or a scapegoat), and few can think of more than two places where they might find it.
We’re going to keep this simple (well, sorta).
For all the horrors taking place in Minneapolis this week, the shamefully unfortunate circumstances in NYC’s Central Park, the role of “Jack vs. Zuck” in determining who should be allowed to say what, and of course our ongoing response to COVID-19 (and the renewed symbolism of the “face mask”), it’s clear that we all have a tendency to get caught up (and probably too easily) in the emotion-driven “political” themes of the moment that pit one against another, diametrically. Whether it’s black vs. white, rich vs. poor, male vs. female, cisgender vs. transgender – you name it, it’s cool to pick a side. At least, it seems comforting. Once you know which side you’re on, you then know which side to blame, which then makes it easier to let your anger out because you have somewhere you can direct it. And letting your anger out feels good, because lord knows there’s plenty to be angry about these days.
The problem? Painting the world in such simple colors is ultimately a recipe for mass misunderstanding, and a world plagued by mass misunderstanding is much more likely to focus on all the wrong problems – or at least, be distracted from the ones that might actually matter most if we could solve them.
Is “mass misunderstanding” just an unfortunate by-product of an inherently complex world clashing with the inevitable limitations of human nature, or is it a conscious policy and a deliberate attempt to mislead and misdirect? We’re not sure, but Fed Chairman Jay Powell seemed to offer an inadvertent perspective (by accident?) during his briefing earlier this morning that at least has to get you thinking: Why all the misunderstanding? Because you have better things to do…
Powell: “Most people have better things to do with their life than to understand the details of central banking.”— no pullbacks (@no_pullbacks) May 29, 2020
Most people think they have better things to do than trying to understand basic finances, democracy, governance, and central banking and a whole bunch of other fundamental shit.— Trump was briefed on Nov, Dec and January. (@luis_a_espinal) May 29, 2020
And thus, this is how we are in this pickle.
“Most people have better things to do with their lives than understand how central banking works”— Markley 🗣 🦠 🌏 (@Jackson1Markley) May 29, 2020
They don’t want you to know that they devalued your bank account by printing trillions.
To diminish nothing of the very real scourges of racism, sexism, and other “isms” that affect some of us more than others (as we once talked about here), it seems there’s at least a remotely legitimate chance that some people might be trying to keep you from focusing too much on at least one particularly universal scourge (or at the very least they don’t seem to mind if your mind wanders a bit), and it’s the one scourge that at least indirectly touches and influences almost all of the others, whether we realize it or not. That, of course, would be any such scourge that denies or prevents the concept of “value” itself being related to the things you actually value.
Or, in other words – who’s in charge of the “value” of the very dollars you get paid in for your work (love or hate what you do), that you use to buy things (whether you need them or not), that you use to sell things (whether you wanted to or not), that you use in any transactions that help you pursue your own hopes and dreams (whatever they may be), and that you probably use to calculate your very own personal “net worth”, however high or low? Hint: It’s not you, it’s not your parents, it’s not your employer, it’s not your employer’s CEO, it’s probably not your “rich” neighbor, it’s probably not even just a specific race or gender (apparent correlations aside), and it’s usually not even your President (though some presidents end up having a little more influence than others). Nor is it even the God you might pray to, even if your God is Plutus or Mammon. Nope, it’s even simpler than that.
It’s a single, private, central bank.
Wondering who determines the value of your life savings if you saved it in dollars? Them. Wondering who ultimately determines how much a given “need or want” – whether it a be a house, a car, a vacation (especially one you took out a loan for) – or a donation to your favorite cause – or the very food on your table – could be worth relative to your life’s work and the values you stand for? Yup, them too. Now, we’re not here to debate whether their intentions are nefarious or not (we’ll leave that to the genuine conspiracy theorists whose theories we have no way of proving or disproving on this blog). We’re just here to call attention to the fact that they are, well, central. And if something is central and you haven’t been invited to have a seat at the table (not unlike that whole “Jack vs. Zuck” thing?) that means you don’t have a say either way.
There’s an old quote attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild (that, admittedly, no one seems to know for sure if he actually said or not)…
“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws”
Maybe good ol’ Mayer Amschel (or at least whoever quoted him) was just trying to make a point? You know, just a little 18th-century snark?
In any case, it doesn’t seem like we’ve learned much since then. And it doesn’t sound like our friend Jay Powell is particularly interested in seeing us start now.
All the while, arguments like #DemocratsTheEnemyWithin vs. #RepublicansAreDestroyingAmerica keep getting more attention than things like #debt vs. #savings, #SoundMoney vs. #UBI, and other things that actually matter.
It’s ALWAYS about the economy, stupid. Especially when you realize that most of the things we fight over have to do with our ability, as individuals, to live out our values – whatever they are, and however we got them.
Or are you happy to keep sitting at the kids’ table arguing over your favorite colors while the “grownups” at the central table decide what you get to eat for dinner? (if you get to eat at all…)
Another possibility: We need more tables?
We have quoted “Tweets” from select “Twitter Users” in this story because we thought the views & opinions expressed by those “Twitter Users” were relevant to the topics being discussed in this story. These “Twitter Users” have no affiliation with the Economorals blog, and we make no assumptions about any particular political, religious, or other affiliations of any kind that may or may not be held by any of the “Twitter Users” quoted, nor the specific validity or credibility of what they say. Again, we just thought a few “Twitter Users” had some genuinely interesting words & ideas to share in the context of this story’s main themes, and since they’ve already shared those words & ideas in the public domain, we wanted to share them again here too. Because if there’s one “market” we can all hopefully agree on, it’s the “marketplace of ideas”.