Sunday, 5 December 2010

Money.

I have tried to write this post many times. I'm not sure I have it right even now, but I have to start somewhere.



In 1974 I thought this song was the coolest song ever. That bass line, the words you could actually hear and learn yourself, the guitar riffs... Now I find it chilling in its meanings. In 1974 I had only the beginnings of an understanding of money. I didn't care to collect any more of it than I needed and really couldn't see why everyone had to have Adidas-labelled stuff. It seemed to me they were paying Adidas extra just so they could carry around an advert.

Later, I was seduced by easy credit and ended up skint. I still didn't understand money, and I had a PhD by that stage. Okay, it wasn't in anything even vaguely money-related but even so. You'd think someone calling themselves 'doctor' would be smart enough to read the small print. Don't you believe it. That 419 Email scam is still going for a reason - otherwise intelligent people are still falling for it.

Now? Well, now money is a transition, a means to an end. I don't want a Lear jet or a yacht or a football team so I don't ever need to earn enough for those things. I like good malt whiskies and tobacco, which are still expensive but nowhere near the price of a Bentley or a ticket to Cancun in business class. I earn as much as I need to cover bills and pay for the stuff I want and then I stop.

Why? Because I am beginning to understand money, and one thing I understand very clearly is that if I get into the 40% tax bracket, from then on I am handing over more than half my earnings to the State. Including NI, it's more than half and that's before I get started on cigarette and booze duty and VAT. In all, it's much more than half. I will not work that hard. I will not work and then hand over more than half of what my work earns to some snide git who has done nothing to earn it, and who will spend it on 'No Smoking' signs and legislation that is designed to make my life miserable. These people will make up lies that drones will believe, and they will send those drones to torment me. It is bad enough that I'm paying for that already. I will not work harder and pay them more.

This year I have reached my stop point already. I might well take on more work between now and April but there will be no more bills sent out in this tax year unless there is sufficient work expenditure to bring the tax liability back into the safe zone. You know, the day might come when I send out bills on April 6th and then stop working for the rest of that year.

Pink Floyd's song is a comment on the world's obsession with money. I have no such obsession. If I won the lottery, what car would I buy? Answer - none. If I won the lottery I wouldn't need to go anywhere. Would I mingle with the rich and famous? No. I don't like most of them and I haven't even met them. Parties are not my thing, neither are night clubs, especially now that they all come with people who count your units and calories for you and then have an attack of the vapours if they find out you're a smoker. I'd go for a pint with Shaun Ryder but I'd do that now, if the chance arose. Well, maybe in summer. We'd both have to sit outside, remember.

So what would I do if I won millions? I honestly wouldn't know what to do with it. The only thing I've ever come up with is to place it in accounts that earn just enough interest to keep me just under the 40% tax rate, and run microbiological experiments for free. Pay off the mortgage. What else? Um... no idea.

If I bought a great big house I'd pay massive amounts of council tax. I'd be a target for burglars who would assume I'd have lots of valuables in there (I'd probably have lots of empty space and one of those radio controlled monster trucks Tesco are currently selling half-price). I would spend an hour every night checking everything was locked and jump at every creak and crack. I would not have staff because of the crazy laws around employment. No, I'd still live in this little semi-detached. The only difference would be that I would have ample leisure time to annoy the neighbours. Oh, and I'd be drunk pretty much all the time. I'd have that £40 bottle of Lagavulin on the day I banked the cheque.

I am reminded of that Bonzo Dog Doodah band song, the title of which escapes me but I'll rummage in the CD box later, which included the verse -

Mrs. Betty Tench was playing the trombone when she heard a knock at the door.
On opening it, instead of the turbaned ruffian she expected
She found a very nice young man.
"Mrs Tench, you've won the car contest,
would you like a Triumph Spitfire or twenty thousand in cash?" He smiled.
Mrs. Tench took the money.
"What will you do with it all, not that it's any of my business?" he giggled.
"I think I'll become an alcoholic," said Betty.

They'd be in prison for singing it now.

(Update - thanks to Snowdon in the comments for the title. It's Rhinocratic Oaths, and I have not accurately remembered the words.)

I don't play the lottery because I don't believe I will ever win and because, deep down, I don't really want to. Money is not the stuff of life. I found that out when I had none at all. There are people who pay massive amounts of money for clothes that advertise the clothes maker. Why? All it says is 'I am a rich idiot who pays companies to let me advertise for them'. Clothes from supermarkets are just as warm. Clothes from charity shops are often better because they were made in times when clothes were built to last. I can get a plain white shirt for three pounds in a supermarket. After a few washes it goes grey. So I buy another one and drop that one in the clothes collection bins at the recycling. I know, from experience, that if you are cold and homeless you are not going to care if the shirt is a little grey or has paint all over it. As long as it's intact and warm.

There are those out there thinking 'Dammit man, what about pride and dignity? You can't expect people to wear things you wouldn't wear yourself'. To which I have two answers. First, I have worn worse. Second, the modern versions of pride and dignity are ridiculous concepts designed only to part you from your money.

Pride and dignity, in their true sense, have no connection with money at all. None. I survived many months with nothing and I am intensely proud of that. I have just banked a cheque for over ten grand and it stirs no pride at all. I worked for it. It was a simple exchange of skills for cash. It's just what I do, what everyone does. I don't actually want the ten grand. What I want is a house, gas, electricity, food, whisky, tobacco... but no company can pay me in those things. They are supplied by different companies. So money is the transitory thing that lets me trade my skills to one company and buy in the skills of others.

Money, in itself, is nothing. It's a bit of paper that says 'I did this much work' which I can then trade for someone else's equivalent work. Well, that's how it should be.

There was a time when I had a roof in exchange for my fixing skills. There was once a Mini with chickens living in it. I offered to get it roadworthy in exchange for being able to sleep in a real bed. I did it, too. Tough little cars, Minis. However, the boyfriend of the woman in question was away a lot and objected to me living in his house. I can understand that. Nothing untoward ever happened but I left without objection anyway. I had traded, without the intervention of money, a roof and a bed for my abilities. For a time. Unfortunately it didn't take long to fix that car.

If it had been a modern one I could have taken months. Then again, if it had been a modern one I wouldn't have been able to fix it.

This sort of thing terrifies government and scares socialists even more than fiftieth hand smoke. If there is no exchange of money, there is nothing to tax. If I went into Top Shop and swapped a bottle of Gut Cure Stuff for a shirt, what's the tax rate on that? If Sir Phil Green paid his utility bills in BHS underwear, where's the tax? The staff of the utility company needs clothes, Sir Phil has clothes and needs electricity, I feel a deal coming on here. Money, at that level, is irrelevant.

Phil Green does not owe us money. He didn't borrow any, he earned it. There is a difference in the real world that socialism cannot see. if I loan you money, you owe me that amount of money. If you earn money yourself with no intervention from me, you owe me nothing. Can you see it yet, Socialist nonWorkers? Perhaps it's nuWorkers now. If real workers earn money, nuWorkers are entitled to it. The word 'parasitism' is worth looking up in this instance.

Money is not only 'not everything'. Money isn't anything. It's bits of paper and now, it's bits in a computer. The old stuff could at least be burned for warmth but the new stuff is utterly worthless.

Money has become far more than it should be. I can fix your squits for money but I could just as well do it for a pie. I can tell you a tale of scariness for money but I could just as well do it in exchange for a bed for the night. Bards did exactly that, in the old days. They did have one advantage in that the story wasn't Emailed to the next village before they arrived but the principle is there.

We don't really need money. We could trade skills without it. The only people who benefit from money are those who want a lot of it.

There is more to this subject. Much more.

For now, I have to stop and try to re-marshall my thoughts. Money is an irrelevance that has become a global obsession and it's a real swine to think about.

I'll come back to it when my head stops hurting.

24 comments:

Frank Davis said...

I agree with everything you say. I have exactly the same attitude (although I've never been skint and homeless).

I don't have a credit card. I had one for a few months, and I ran up £60 in debts just for not repaying on time. Never again. I have a cash card now, because I think in terms of cash.

I buy with cash at my local Tesco, even though I could use my cash card.

I don't want money any more than you do, but I've thought about it a lot. I've worked out my own explanation of it. I think it's very rational. Hyper-rational, really.

But that's just me and my Idle Theory.

winston said...

I think it's quite easy to indulge in the irrelevace of money when you don't have to sit shivering in your house. Terrified to switch on the heating as you know you will never be able to pay the bills.
Ok they will take you to a warm prison when you can't pay the fine but anyone who has been to prison will tell you it is terrifying. Plus when you leave prison you will never work ever again. The disclosure certificate will ensure you will always be reliant on the state for your sustenance.
How can you ignore money and barter when you have nothing to barter with ?

Snowdon said...

I think the song is Rhinocratic Oaths

Richard said...

You beat me to it. Wonderfully bizarre lyrics.

Diesel said...

I would love to win the lottery, but, as you say, not for the money, but for the time I would have by not having to work.

I'm involved with so many charities and voluntary groups (NOT govt. funded ones, proper ones that rely entirely on volunteerism) that I would spend most of my winnings, and time, on projects that HMG wouldn't fund even if they had the money, because they improve things for people without the intervention of socialism or bureaurocracy

Billy the Fish said...

Splendid post as ever, Leggy.

Though I never hit rock bottom, I once had a year and a half of watching my current account hit red on day two of the month once the credit card bill landed. Took me a full five years to get straight - never again.

This global obsession with money is frightening. Wayne Rooney on a quarter of a nillion quid a week for kicking a pig's bladder (badly). Utter madness.

My current pet hate is the morons who ring premium rate phone lines to vote for Simon Cowell's latest karaoke nonebrity. Way to go kids - make a multi-squillionaire even richer while ruining the British music industry for an entire generation.

Just thinking about this makes me want to reach for the Theakstons...

Michael Fowke said...

Two points:

Rich people (or people who want to be rich) rely on people like you. It means less competition.

Money is really about power. If you were a billionaire you could tell all the socialists of this world to fuck off. Sure, they would get a lot of your money through taxation, but there would still be enough left for you to live the life of a free man.

westcoast2 said...

An interesting video on Money as Debt (Never really understood fractional banking but this did help)--> Money As Debt 1

Amusing howto by 2 bears on buying silver to crash J P Morgue --> Explained

If you can't win the lottery you can of course always 'Buy the f###ing dip' --> Buy the dip

Things like the movie Zeitgeist (also on youtube) attempt to describe a world without money (after describing fractional banking as well) though some of the ideas, especially on the Venus project, maybe altruistic.

Rather than all this 'do unto others as you would like them to do unto you' try 'do unto others as they would like to be done unto'.

John said...

Money is stored goods and services. Indeed. That's all.
Sure, the way it is being played is a big con game to alleviate the peasants of the too much goodies they were able to collect under the relatively freerer Thatcher breathe of fresh economic air.
We are indeed on the road to bondage. Well, more bondage. Control. Slavery. Totalitarian control. It's coming at us quite fast.
Probably that song was the only true expression of the Floyd.
Me, I preferred Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun!
The real one went away, of course. Spoilt brat, and lived with his mom.
Not that I would advocate druggism, but I do respect creativity.

Michael Fowke said...

By the way, have a look at this -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/wheatley_letter.pdf

Dennis Wheatley the libertarian.

Anonymous said...

I'm rich.
Morrison's currently have a deal on in which you buy a packet of 20 'Youngs' fish fingers and you get TWO PACKETS FREE!
Not much to you loadsofmoney people but it made me very happy.

William said...

This always grounds me...

Money is a 'promise to pay' nothing more.
Credit is just an 'idea' nothing more.

Where it all goes wrong is banks lend us 'credits'(ideas) and then forces us to pay with money (promises to pay).

What a truly bizarre world this is.

Dioclese said...

People often ask me why I decided to retire. I usually reply "I hated the job and didn't the money."

Enough money is enough. No point in killing yourself for what amounts to a few extra numbers in a ledger. Money's not real you know - it's just a conceptual medium of exchange. I found that n order to retire, I needed a lot less than I thought I did.

Incidentally, I just reviewed my blog's stats and it seems that most of the referrals I get come from your site - so I'd just like to say thanks very much.

David C said...

Nice writing Legiron, as usual.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

"Money is stored goods and services. Indeed. That's all."

You are quite right, John. Exercise for the money-haters here: how could any technologically-advanced artefact be made without money? By barter?

Something as complex as, say, a pencil?

Delphius1 said...

Most of the current global financial problems stem from a select group of people who already have billions wanting even more billions.

In their reckless ambition to amass ever more money, they have ruined countries.

fmwatkins said...

The goal of the globalists is not to amass more money really. They already own the banks that print it. What is more important for their scam is that they have the populations constantly clamouring for money, while constantly finding ways to take it off you.

It is like a ladder 'they' convince you to climb, but with every step you take, they take a rung from the bottom and put it above you.

40% tax. I mean really. WTF. For someone to demand a cut of your productive output is to imply part ownership of the producer. Like dividend payments. I know the real world tax is actually over 80%, and we all know what's what when a shareholder owns over 51%. And what for? So they can divide it amongst their global corporate interests and spending it on new ways to convince you to give them more.

Keith Richards said the reason why the Stones moved operations to the States is because if they stayed in this country they would be paying 98 cents on the dollar in tax.

I'm not even going to comment on that.

Leg-iron said...

Snowdon - Rhinocratic oaths it is. I can remember most of the words but never the title.

Leg-iron said...

Winston - I don't ignore money. I'm a long, long way from that stage.

Okay, I could ditch everything and go and live in the woods. I've done it before, not through choice, and it's no fun at all. I was much younger then and probably wouldn't last long now. I'd rather not try that, so I'm stuck in the world of money.

My attitude to money is that it's a convenient trading method. I can't go and do some bacterial research for the electricity and gas companies, some for Tesco, some for every shop I want stuff from, some for the mortgage company and so on. So I trade my work for money and then trade the money for what I need.

The problems arise when money becomes the end in itself.

Large Melot Please said...

Entirely on the piece of music it is remarkable. It is written in 7/4 time, ie there are 7 beats to the bar. Most music is 4 beats to the bar or like a waltz 3. Blues is a derivative of 4 beats to the bar with each note swung.

There are only a handful of pieces of music that are 7 beats to the bar, the theme from the Bill, and John Miles' Music are the only ones I know of. Dave Brubek's Take 5 funnily enough is the equally rare 5 beats to the bar.

On Money the middlfe section is 6 beats to the bar before returning to 7. Clever stuff.

Richard said...

You didn't listen to much 1970s prog-rock, then. Or Holst's Planets, for that matter. 'Mars' is in 5/4, just like Brubeck.

If you want difficult, try Billy Cobham's amazing drum riff in Vital Transformation by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. If you can count it (and it ain't easy), it's 9/16.

Frank Davis said...

Leggy, you might be interested in the Masters of Money. It's a 22-part series of videos. Lots about the Rothschilds, etc. But also a lot about English and American history.

I didn't know, for example, that American colonists issued their own scrip money. And that the English government put a stop to it in about 1760, causing an economic slump. Benjamin Franklin said that this was the cause of the Revolution.

Part 4 (which is about this) is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn_bAjUQf00&NR=1

William said...

The real problem isn't money it is the conflagration of money and credit.
Assuming I made pencils from my own source of graphite and wood I could choose to give the pencils away for free, exchange them for something I required say paper or exchange them for money.
I could then use this money to buy something else I needed from someone who didn't need pencils.

That is how money is meant to be used.
What the crooks do is lend us credit and ask us to pay for that credit with money.

Money isn't meant to be hated but it isn't meant to pay for credit either. Use it for what it was designed for and you have cracked the system.

All in my opinion of course. Never believe anything you read on a web page go find out for yourself.

John said...

As a basic (common sense) view of money and what has gone wrong, Money: Sound and Unsound at the Mises Institute is pretty good.
A brief review and quite a good summary of the situation is at:
http://mises.org/daily/4860

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