FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

We are taught that money is the currency of our lives. Really, everything we learn comes back to earning money so we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones. I’m not omniscient and definitely come from a privileged background, but it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where getting money isn’t the primary goal. Because money buys all the other stuff we need. Our needs are met using money.

Certainly I’m generalizing and there are exceptions to the rules – there always are. And the exceptions are very interesting because they often represent alternative strategies and systems. In the case of money, the system is to have a currency that ‘goes between’ all the other goods and services necessary to life. Imagine if we still bartered for everything.

“I’ll trade you two quilts I knitted for four of your chickens so we can eat.”

Kind of sounds like an ideal life to me, actually. But imagine how difficult it would get with all of the STUFF there is to need and want.

“How many silicon chips is that x-box 360 worth for a trade?”

Once we passed the ‘getting our basic needs met’ stage of human evolution, trading, bartering, and general commerce got so complicated we needed a ‘go between’. Enter money. Cash. Dinero. Moolah.

And so it goes. Money replaced the barter system as a standardized value indicator providing a ‘worth’ for everything of possible trade interest.

And so the obsession with money began.

The point of this episode is not to beat up money or people interested in money. I really just wanted to think about what other forms of currency might also be important in the world. Or to ponder other systems of value that provide meaning to our lives. Or. . . . really, things that money can’t buy.

Money can’t buy love and money can’t buy time.

And I can’t think of more valuable (and limiting) resources than those.

So this begs the question, “Did the acceptance of a system of commerce centered around money necessarily lead us to DEVALUE those resources not measurable or quantifiable using this system?”.

I hope you enjoy the episode and continue to wonder whether or not money is as important as we make it out to be, or whether Time and Love obey an entirely different system altogether.

Original blog post with podcast and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/08/kew-episode-37-currency-of-life/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 27: The NEW American Dream

After WWII Americans made some major advances in the pursuit of happiness. The 40-hour workweek. Worker protections via unions. Inexpensive plastic goods and TVs in every room. We purchased homes, went to college, and earned pensions for healthy retirements. We had picket fences, 2.3 kids, and stayed married (but not always happily). Our grandparents passed these ideals on to their children, and to each successive generation, changing very little with respect to goals and ideals. Depending on your age, you are the second, third, or fourth generation to come after that era that started nearly 80 years ago.

That dream worked out well for our ancestors, and maybe for their kids. But things have changed. Guaranteed pensions became incredibly volatile 401ks. Health care became more expensive and less helpful. College expenses multiplied by a factor of 10 or more, far outpacing inflation. We had kids later, and though we spent more time with them, they learned less about life because we protected them from it. The jobs our parents had changed dramatically for the worse, and by the time we got our degrees the jobs we wanted looked nothing like what we expected.

In short, living our ancestors’ dreams didn’t work out so well.

When we are born we make these and other silent agreements with our families, societies, religions, peers, employers, and other people and groups we may never meet. We obey the rules, norms, and laws of the countries we live in. We accept our familial beliefs. We learn the rules from the schools we attend. A lot of these rules are good. They keep us safe and peaceful. But some of these rules are just plain dumb, and it’s time we pushed back on the things that aren’t working out for most of us. It’s time for a NEW dream.

This episode is related to a bigger project I’m currently working on starting with Episode 43: Diversity and Uniqueness and Episode 44: Unnatural Selection.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2782869541968025

Original post with audio and video links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/10/30/kew-episode-27-the-new-american-dream/