Or so I thought when I was read this piece, From crypto to meme stocks to NFTs, money has never felt more fake – Vox, especially this:
… NFTs — non-fungible tokens, little digital assets that exist on a blockchain — are having a moment. What’s not really clear is why. Then again, everything about money feels a little strange at the moment. Between NFTs, crypto, and GameStop, AMC, and other meme stocks, money has rarely felt more fake. Or, at the very least, value has rarely felt so disconnected from reality.
Two thoughts on that. First thought: money does seem fake for many these days. In times where there is a surfeit of capital and assets have highly inflated valuations, money can seem unreal.
Second thought: it’s important to backup and define what money is. Money is a medium of exchange. That’s it. If you are well off, and you are using money to exchange one abstract good for another, it can see fake and unreal.
If you are poor, then it is a different story. If you are poor, the things you need your hard earned money to exchange for are very concrete goods and services. Concrete things like food and shelter and medicine and transportation. All those things are denied you without money. For poor people, money is not abstract at all, and the absence of it makes life difficult.
The richer you are, the higher in abstraction the medium you call Money is. But for poor people, it is not an abstract thing at all.
What can we learn from the obituaries of the not quite famous? I thought of that when I was reading the sad fate of Hash Halper, here: Hash Halper, Street Artist Who Adorned New York With Hearts, Dies at 41 – The New York Times.
Obituaries in big newspapers tend to be for the rich and famous and powerful and great. Mainly. But sometimes you read about someone who was none of those things, who was struggling, yet who affected people in a positive way. Someone like Hash Halper.
What we learn, perhaps, is that it doesn’t matter if you were rich and powerful. Bernie Madoff was rich and powerful. It didn’t make his life better or more worthwhile. Hash Halper did more good with his chalk hearts than Madoff did with all he had. In the end, it all washes away, save for the things you did to affect the lives of others.
We can learn many things from the obituaries of the not quite famous. Maybe we can learn/be reminded of what it is we want to do in the world, while we are here. That’s a very fine thing to learn indeed.
Rest in peace, Hash Halper.
(Image Kholood Eid for The New York Times, link)
Is outlined here: Taxing the Wealthy Sounds Easy. It’s Not. – The New York Times.
It’s worth a read. It’s thoughtful, even if you may not agree with it. Also, just because something is not easy does not mean do not attempt it.
Taxing drives behaviour. My thought is drive behaviour in the right direction. Tell affluent people to use their wealth in directed ways that improve our society or tax them so that it can be done. If they disagree, then it is time to make explicit the social contracts in place and ask what has to be changed to make for a better society. Because for most societies in the world, including Canada’s, the social contract can be a lot better.