illusory value

I'm mystified by the floundering attempts of bureaucrats to fix the economy. I'm no economist, but the problem seems plain to me. The ailing part of our economy is built upon information and concepts rather than tangible, concrete things.

In the material world, what makes something valuable is the agreement between the one who has it and the one who wants it. When the something is a tangible item such as food, clothing or materials, then agreement comes easily. The benefits of obtaining and using these items is usually clear to everyone.

Even services, which are not something you can touch and hold, can be valued by the result or benefit those services provide to the buyer.

But the part of the economy that got sick was the part built upon intangibles such as "mortgaged backed securities". These items are very far removed from the concrete things about which we can easily agree on value. They are more akin to concepts, globs of financial information.

The value of these vapid items was based almost entirely in the fact that they could be bought and sold. If I would buy one, its only benefit to me, the only value to me, would be that I could sell to someone else for a higher price. It would not enhance my life, or that of anyone else. And any change in the concept behind the item would nullify any previous agreement of its value.

Well, concepts are fleeting, transitory things. In the grand scheme, so are materials. But concepts are much more so.

It seems to me that there is no way to make these intangibles valuable again. Governments can pump bailout money into the economy all they want, but the concept has shifted and the agreed value is gone, never to return. The way through this problem is acceptance of the mistake, assistance to those who became collateral victims and a new focus on more stable and agreeable value. Those who wish to play in the arena of conceptual value should be isolated, economically, from those of us who just want to live our lives simply and peacefully.

I think the timing of this shift in concept is very interesting too. The collapse of the financial system correlates closely with Obama's ascention to power. I don't say this to place blame on Obama or anyone else. What I'm pointing out is that Obama represents a sea change on many levels. During his 2 year presidential campaign he talked of giving the government back to the people, of changing the way we do politics, and his person represented an obliteration of the racial status quo. As his popularity grew and his message clicked with more and more people, the financial system decayed and collapsed. He shook us from our collective daze, and in the process we came to some realization of what is truly valuable and what is illusion.

We should approach this economic crisis with gratitude and humility, embrace its lessons and help each other pick up the pieces with new and more powerful understanding.


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David Hazen wrote:
How we use our energy in this moment determines our true wealth.

Well*Stated, David

One who rest during the apparent calm, in the eye of a storm, neglects to prepare for the wrath to come... just*as:

Those who harbor social evils, allow decay its favored cove...

Unite the C.H.A.O.S.

Wealth vs. value

A crisis in credit is a crisis of credibility. The attempt to restore confidence is a con job. If we had no Iraq war costing us directly and indirectly in the multi-trillions of dollars, we could bail ourselves out several times over and have no need to do so, anyway. We are at war with ourselves, we are deathly ill with interpersonal and systemic violence inflicted on ourselves. Our vain attempts to be secure have left us exhausted, empty of resources, and questioning. The time is ripe for genuine weeping, empathy for ourselves and others, and a radical shift in our strategies for achieving security, health, and growth. Rugged individualism has lost its virtue, capitalism is collapsing. Compassionate community is the more believable, trustworthy focus of our efforts, and this is the hope that Obama brings.

The meaning of true wealth is to me energy exchanged in relationships, and only has value when it is alive and moving.  Money has nothing to do with it, money is inert, the feces-trail of activity that has passed on.  And, this is the kicker: all of our energy is a gift, freely given without conditions.  How we use our energy in this moment determines our true wealth.

Redefining Value

At Building a New World in Radford, VA this past May, I developed a new definition of value. A thing has value if I can eat it, drink it, wear it, live in it, or make love to it. Of course, I intended for "love" to be interpreted in its broadest sense.

I recently heard a definition by Swami Beyondananda that I like even better. He finds value in energy, love, and creativity/imagination. He says that the source of all energy is the sun, so that takes care of food, warmth, electricity, and other such secondary forms of energy/matter.

The Swami's notion of love includes meaning and inspiration, but interestingly enough, he finds it necessary to separate out creativity/imagination, which I included with love. I know that many would argue that love is itself a form of energy, so I wonder if we could propose to these economic masterminds that only energy has value? Hmmm...

The objection I anticipate to such a proposal is based on the fundamental assumption that any economy is based on competition for scarce resources. However, energy is (or can be) renewable, love is infinite, and my infinite love creates trust that the apparent scarcity of certain resources can be overcome by the application of creativity/imagination. Only by shining the light of consciousness on the fallacy of that fundamental assumption can we hope to extend the Culture of Compassion to the economic sector.

eat we must

Rainbow Brain wrote:

As the question remains can intelligent, conscience, compassionate life actually evolve from this process.

I think this process is essentially the mechanics of survival. We barter and trade because it leads to sustenance of our physical bodies and it connects us to each other. Yes, I think that we are evolving to barter and trade more intelligently, consciously and compassionately. But that is, of course, only a part of the life. There are other processes that are evolving as well.


Jason White wrote:
In the material world, what makes something valuable is the agreement between the one who has it and the one who wants it.

Any system solely built upon the foundation of material exchange will always suffer the rise and fall of its valued assets. The lesson being presented is to allow the development of a cooperative global entity, based upon the true value of its many parts as a whole. The natural value of the Respect, Regard, Relevance and Resolution of being at one with all, the value of loving humanity and all that supports he'r...

As the question remains can intelligent, conscience, compassionate life actually evolve from this process.

Unite the C.H.A.O.S. - Display your Heart of Peace...

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