Bitcoin, Ponzi & Capitalism
Just some passing thoughts I felt like spitting out. Coincidentally I watched another episode of Adam Curtis‘ excellent Can’t Get You Out of My Head documentary series last night.
I’ve seen talk of Bitcoin as being a kind of con, because it’s all virtual. But virtually all money is virtual since Nixon dropped the tie to the gold reserve.
A situation that Curtis brought up was that of the Appalachian coal miners in days of yore. They worked for the coal company, got paid in the coal company’s own currency which they had to spend at the company store.
Nowadays, the company isn’t so easy to demarcate. But a miniscule percentage of people control the vast majority of wealth. It may be someone middle-class that owns the store, but they are still company employees. It’s the company‘s definition of money everyone has to use. Hard to point the finger very precisely, but a vague direction might be bankers, the uber-rich and most politicians. Oh yeah, and the management of Google, Facebook, Amazon & co. It’s popular to blame the mass media for a lot of things – but I reckon they’re more like symbiots, creatures down the scale that live on the pickings of the bigger fish.
That may sound verging on conspiracy theory, deep state etc. But it seems to run deeper than that, and isn’t even hidden, not even in plain sight, it’s apparent all around.
Such a system might be considered just the way things are, the lesser of various evils (fascism, USSR-style communism), at least for folks in wealthy Western nations.
But a fundamental flaw in this setup is that it’s inherently unsustainable. The generation of wealth currently comes from the exploitation of natural resources, and the way that’s currently done, they are finite. A side effect, of greater concern, is that the climate is getting messed up.
A crude umbrella term for this system is Capitalism.
I’m no political theorist, not sure I’ve read more than a page of Marx or a paragraph of Adam Smith. But as a student I was briefly drawn into a pyramid scheme (not long enough to lose more than a tenner, but still). Is a well-known company, I forget it’s name. Cleaning products mostly, you make your money by getting other people to sell the product for you. But these systems collapse because there isn’t an infinite tree of sellers/customers. Well not collapse exactly, the money gets funneled uphill.
Seems to me the current use of the planet has a lot in common. The resources of people further down the tree, in time, are being funneled into the profit now. People in the past have being sold a future based on the wealth of people now, and in turn we’re sold of that of those not even born yet. In this context wealth equates to livable conditions and breathable air.
Count as a rant? Whatever. Penned it, can get back to consuming.
PS. Bum. I used Bitcoin as clickbait, didn’t really follow through. It’s just an extreme form of same-as. Extreme in the fact that it cosnciously seeks to waste natural resources to make (mine) money. If an alien wanted to turn this planet into a place more hospitable to sulphur-breathing hell beasts, perfect invention.
Incidentally, long before I knew anything about Bitcoin, my old mate Reto came up with an eco-alternative : Greuro