Somehow the default mode of thinking appears to be something like, “when I have more money, access to more options, more wealth overall – it’s better.” And one of the ways most plebs imagine they can achieve that (and some, eventually, do) is by first taking a loan – to start a business, build a house – whatever. That’s small scale stuff – governments etc take loans for bigger projects, too – and they call it an “investment” – reasoning that it will generate back all the money that was spent on it – and then some.
Now, it makes sense – taking a risk – if you see the odds of making back that money and then some – call that loan an investment. People usually don’t have enough idle money lying around just to start a business – so they might need to ask a loan to get it started. And some of those businesses will earn that money back (and then some), and others won’t. And some of those who didn’t – may have gotten unlucky (meaning their idea might work out when they try it again at another time, at another place), or they may have had ideas that simply can never work.
But I think there’s also a third degree – and I suspect so many businesses in this part of the world belong to it – they take a loan to start a business – and that business deal in scams. They make back that money (and then some) – they APPEAR to generate some value (similar to a sugar rush) – but long term it’s just the shiny looking mud (and in case of sugar – no wealth was created – but the momentary happiness comes from the account of your long-term health (and the health of the land, too – when we’d get into this whole mono-culture business – but hey, I’m way out of my depth here).
Am I saying all loan-giving should be outlawed? No. I’m just exploring what the good and ill effects of it could be – I never know what to actually do about these things to improve the order of the world 🙂
I’ve taken small loans. The biggest I did was a student loan (I tried out this university thing for a little bit). Paying that one back was a really heavy bitch. I even got myself in a bit of a trouble, because the first payment thing came earlier than I expected – and it was bigger than a monthly thing (some interest blah blah, I’m not really sure and don’t care about it so deeply). I did not have a job at the time and there was no way for me to come up with such a money in such a short term even if I went to work the same day I got that reminder. How did that get solved? See, I was involved in some youth-house thing at the time, and the curator there said I could make a project and ask the money from the town – so, we drafted some event (we made events with bands all the time, we just never asked the towns money for it), some of the bands wanted money for it, and into that draft I could also issue a line as “payment” for “managing the project”. That payment was then enough for me to pay off the first interest of the loan.
Apparently this is considered a legit way of getting money – you, as the project creator/manager get to take a cut from the whole thing. Now, in case you are curious what kind of money we’re talking about, the project scope was, if I remember correctly, some 600 eur (and it was BEFORE we had euros), and I pocketed some 10 or 20% of it – not a very big deal. Anyway, apparently that’s legit to do, idk.
Now, managing the project wasn’t difficult at all (just some e-mails, talking to some people who’d come around for the event, do the sound; I did the posters myself etc). But I never did it again. Something felt off about it. I didn’t find it was fair for me to ask money for the stuff I did. And apparently there exists a bunch of people who use this method as their ONLY way of making money. Which is fine, I guess – I’m not here to judge. It’s still work, if you want to frame it that way, nothing wrong about it.
Anyway, my point in telling this part of my personal debt-problem story is that I became desperate enough to do something for it that I don’t consider morally correct in my own book. And consider that my debt was kinda small – had it been any bigger, my project would have had to be bigger, my cut would have had to be bigger. And suppose that’s how many people get into that kind of business in the first place – and often their cuts become way bigger than a 10% or 20% or whatever from the whole lot. They might even lie what the size of the money involved in the project is to secretly pocket the rest. I mean… That’s the world we live in, right?
These kinds of people get exploited and driven out of the village – but there’s always the next village.
Now, I’ve gone over why debt is dangerous – in short – in desperate times it might nudge us into doing something we wouldn’t normally feel the need to do – something that might end up being unfair towards someone else. People come up with scam businesses and they figure out ways to start these businesses without ever having to expose their own wallet into it (their reputation is always in, though – but they don’t know it, because they don’t think they will get exposed).
Another thing I realised today, and which is why I started writing this episode in the first place – not only debt creates problems – but hoarding does, too. And of all the places I realised this while reading a little bit about the history of Knight Templars.
So, these were times around 1100 – 1300; the Knight Templars basically were some Christian warrior monks and they stuck around the area of the holy sites, trying to stave off the Muslims in the territory. These monks were authorised to keep all the bounty they get when raiding the Muslims, so – they had loads of treasure. They had so much of it, they even established their own banking system all across Europe. Now, enter the King Philip IV of France, also known as Philip the Fair – neck deep in debt, causing all sorts of trouble with people who had any wealth in France (he also kicked out Jews and kept their money! What a dick!) – for a while the king was hiding out at the Templars place and there he saw how loaded they were. So, he got an idea – he’s going to pocket the next Pope and get that pope to outlaw the Templars, so he can grab all the wealth they have scattered around France. Said, done. And that resulted in a whole lot of chaos in the religious front and else.
Now – FIRST ORDER of fault I saw in the King – he did all this shit because he was neck deep in debt. Ergo – debt can make people evil, unethical, immoral.
And then I’m like, wait a minute.
The Templars were basically hoarding wealth, not doing anything with it (and they didn’t really come by it in fair terms, either – looted in raids, probably most taken from people who didn’t give a shit about geopolitics or religious turf wars) – now, I’m not saying they were evil – but they made a big mistake. Because we’re living in a universe in which it’s inhabitants can’t just idly sit by when there is a mound of gold stacking up somewhere – especially the inhabitants who have found themselves in a debt problem.
Now, I don’t care to say, “don’t hoard, be nice, leave something for others,” because that’s the moral and nice thing to do – I mean, it’s fine. But now it became apparent to me there’s a bigger reason for hoarding wealth being something harmful – it makes you a target for the most desperate, vicious people in the world. They will figure out a way to make you illegitimate (the Templars were basically accused of satanism or something (very broadly speaking – I don’t care to delve into the details here, you can read it up yourself if you want to know what “really” happened!” – I might be the odd trickster here just because I’m lazy with facts anyone can look up on the internets ok?), and they will do it, and they will take it.
So, what hoarding wealth does – you’re centralising wealth – and centralised things all are very vulnerable – if the evil power-debted person can solve all their problems just by taking down YOU – you have made their lives very easy.
Giving back makes the world a better place in more than one ways – not only are you giving to the needy, but you’re also making it harder for scammers to solve all their problems just by taking out the one node – just by letting them take out you. Decentralised wealth makes the world more robust against extreme-scale scams!
Debt and hoarding are both issues that can be further explored, I suspect, but for today, my fellow brother pal, gal, sister, I’m out of juice.
Take care o/