Free Money

Industrialization has been a blessing and a curse to the human race. We have developed marvelous technologies for supplying goods and services with a minimum of human drudgery. Machines eliminate work.  When you eliminate the work needed to supply the basic necessities you have leisure to do whatever you like.  At the most basic level, isn’t that the reason for having machines?

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The trouble is that labor is the only commodity some people have to sell.  When automation puts them out of work they have no money.  This in turn means that the machines cannot continue to run at full capacity, because now not everyone has money to buy the product.  It is a curious situation.  With humans working, we have a product and the means to distribute it.  With machines working, we can make plenty of product but we have a serious problem distributing it to people.

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The conservative solution is to let the unemployed “root hog, or die” ,  a sentiment markedly devoid of human compassion.  The idea is that the economy left to itself will reach a kind of equilibrium where unemployment and profit are properly balanced in a sustainable way.  However, this approach has led today to the widest gap between rich and poor in American history, a gap that shows no sign of slowing its yawning expansion.   The liberal solution of forcing the out-of-work to shamefacedly accept public assistance is only slightly better.  A third solution is often applied wherein millions of unemployed are paid to do work of a useless or even destructive nature, such as making war.  This has the double benefit of enabling the previously out-of-work to buy mass-produced widgets while at the same time reducing the numbers of previously out-of-work people.

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The only rational solution to the technology/employment problem should be obvious to anyone not immersed in the peculiar social biases of planet earth.  The community as a whole should issue itself credit (money) for the work that the machines do.  This credit will be given to every community member.  It will guarantee each person at least a basic, subsistence living, while at the same time guaranteeing the managers and owners a market for their product.  With the necessities of life guaranteed, not only will poverty be effectively eliminated, but people who today feel trapped in meaningless work will be free to pursue their dreams to be artists, inventors, musicians, writers or craftsmen.  And if some small minority has no ambition but to smoke crack and watch TV, they can do that.  We would be right to guess that the latter would reproduce at a somewhat slower rate and eventually disappear by the process of natural selection.

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“Hold on a minute,” someone asks.  “Exactly where will all this free money come from?”  The answer is that money does not come from anywhere. Money is not a resource mined from the earth like iron or uranium.  As we have discussed before, money is an abstract symbol like an inch or a degree on the Farenheit scale.  It is a unit of measurement that we invent as needed.  When we invent and print money based on real, actual resources (such as the work machines do), there is no reason for any major inflation.

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There are a thousand objections to the free money plan, not least of which is that it is just against common sense.  It is also against common sense that the earth is round, that it orbits the sun and that it inhabits a curved spacetime continuum.  It has taken 500 years of eduction to get some of these ideas across to humanity, and some have yet to be gotten across.

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