More Refusal Of Work

Recently a passage in a work, copyrighted 2003, jumped out and dated the book’s contribution, making it questionable. The work drew on economic realities found in the decade just prior to its publication, reasonable enough if you consider how many just published “authoritative” books cover events post 911. The 2003 work promoted the advantages of savings, and how a certain equilibrium can be achieved where the interest generated from the savings may displace, offset or supplement a worker’s earnings – freeing up that individual as well as providing the opportunity of this employment availability. Analysis found all this to be quite quaint, to say the least. Unfortunately, it immediately dated the book, much as a Peter Max poster would a movie setting. No one decorates with Peter Max anymore. No one collects interest on savings (some institutions even charge for this “service”!). Yet the late capitalist dream of money making money is closer than ever to this ideal of a perpetual motion machine (today’s news is of the DOW achieving 18,000 status). What happened to savings and interest, etc.? With a recession, money essentially goes on strike, demanding it be worth more, make more, before it will return to its (new) normal function. Unlike the many countries of the EU, which agree to abide by the policies and dictates of an independent central bank (or risk reverting back to separate countries with separate currencies), the US is authorized to meet its debt through a constitutionally sanctioned mint (so much more than a peppermint pattie!). Like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, the Federal Reserve manages that process so it is just right, not too much, not too little. Americans are repeatedly told the Federal Reserve, the country’s central money manager, cuts interest rates to stimulate job growth. The interest on little money (the savings of “the small people”) disappeared (forever?). Small price to pay for the good of the country, huh? The Fed maintains rates near zero. The jobs didn’t materialize. Big money, not needing to pay interest on money borrowed from small people’s savings, used the readily available low interest Fed money to pay off its own big debts, to pay penalties for criminal acts that led to the financial meltdown of 2008, to make speculative and/or overseas investments, mergers, etc., much in the manner one would consolidate credit card debt or refinance a mortgage with easily available cheap money. Big money essentially created more money (for itself) but not the intended jobs. Whereas the author of the unnamed 2003 economic work speaks of savings, and savings’ interest, as a means to responsible living – able to respond to the needs of the saver such as security, free time, family, or personal development – as well as for a social benefit (the expansion of the availability of employment opportunity). The disappearance of interest on savings resulted in those who opted for the 2003 prescription being forced to work, at jobs they may never have intended to consider, let alone commit to for such a low wage. A refusal of work is associated with, results from, the violence of forced labor, imposed work. It may not be the violence of an AK 47 or cattle prod but the elimination of interest paid on small sums of money (savings) effectively performs the same function. It forces human beings to work, work that they otherwise may have refused (for whatever singular reason). Yes, the recession resulted in money going on strike, insisting it receive more before it returns to the function it was meant to perform. Money can go on strike anywhere, even in right to work states.

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