Since I am most certainly not blessed with a natural understanding of economics, I can only write about money in a naive, lay-person manner. I leave myself open to correction, but feel free to indeed correct my understanding.
The currency, sterling, of my country, was so named as it represented sterling silver on which it was linked. Each bank note was convertible into silver if needed – the note was issued on that promise.
But eventually, the artificial, abstract nature of bank notes was exploited – the link to tangible metals was removed. This allowed governments to print even more money than they had done before since they had no duty to back it up with tangible assets. The world’s financial assets can and have grown out of all proportion to the world’s assets they are meant to represent.
In parallel, capitalism was flawed from the start because it was predicated on growth. The context for such growth – our planet – is finite in resources. To ease ourselves from the immediate plight of economic problems can only be a temporary solution, a fudge to the big problem.
The key to the world problems, as elucidated in the excellent Michael Ruppert film “Collapse”, is that these two distortions to sustainable human life are colliding with massive population growth.
But no one country or government owns the population problem, much as none own the global warming problem. Who can afford to make strides? History shows that unified efforts are slow and lumbering and fractious.
So my feelings share those of Ruppert. That we are on a crash course, and the best advice is for each of us to seek self-sustainable life-styles.
But one final thought. The vast bulk of the money in the world sits with people who have no time to spend even a fraction of it. But even if it were now distributed to the poor and needy, that would help sustain an even further population growth. And even greater consumption of the world’s resources. So, you see the problem is a deep, almost intractable one. In the much-studied pond-life, there are boom and bust cycles – populations grow too big for the resources available and collapse rapidly, only to recover as the balance is regained between resources and living things. So it may simply be that this is what is and will be happing to us.
In a sense, it is like a time-bomb ticking. The run on banks when people suspect there money is at risk can close them down. If the rich decide to do something similar and liquefy some of their vast fortunes by buying tangibles, then prices can rapidly escalate for the rest of us. We would get caught up in a financial game that of course suits the rich minority far more than the relatively poor masses – we would be pawns in the game. But the point is that we are already there, teased into submission and dependent on institutions for the bulk of our needs.
One way or other, I anticipate brutal times ahead.
For more on this subject, read The end of money.