The most common medium of exchange; functions as legal tender

The most valuable topic in the book! And if you buy this book you will pay money for it, I will receive money for it. I can then spend it on whatever I please (after tax of course), and the government can spend my money on anything it pleases, and the world will keep going round.

“Money makes the world go round” goes a well known saying (but hasn’t it got more to do with gravity?)

Whatever the case it seems we can’t exist without money and it would be a foolish man to suggest we could. Money is how we pay for things. Full stop.

So how much money is there in the world? 100 trillion, 900 zillion? I don’t have the figures to hand but I am guessing that it’s a lot. But money could be anything, it could be gold, stones; in fact, it could be anything given to someone else in exchange for goods or services, just as long as the recipient can then use it to pay for something else.

Trees have monetary value but you can’t keep them under your bed. Land has monetary value but you can’t put it in the bank. No, there has to be something that is easily transportable that everyone accepts. Money was the answer.

Notes and coins issued by the government, with a well known face on them, and a number to represent what they were worth. But as we all know, just because a note says one million rupees, doesn’t mean we are rich, far from it.

Thanks to international exchange rates (the charge for exchanging currency of one country for currency of another) and inflation (a general and progressive increase in prices) your one million rupees might just buy you a loaf of bread, but one million dollars might buy you a nice ranch in the united states, or a large town in a poor country. It all depends on what your money is worth in the country you take it to.

When I was in thailand, I was amazed at what 300 baht could buy – a nice hotel for the night for two people, or two days food for two people.

Translated into pounds, it was about £4.00! Four pounds! That would perhaps buy you a pint and a half of beer, or a sandwich and a packet of crisps. It was so cheap!

In fact we only had to work for a short time in britain to be able to live comfortably in thailand for many months. So you can see why so many people head to the cheap countries with their money.

The problem is, they’re not cheap for the people, and a labourer might have to work for a couple of days to earn 300 baht. Then he would have to pay rent, and food and clothes for himself and perhaps his family. So when we say a country is cheap, we must remember it is cheap for us, thanks to the good rate of exchange we are getting, but can you imagine how long a thai labourer would have to work for to go on a two week holiday to the uk? Probably several years! So it’s clear to see that the world is imbalanced monetarily, but it only really starts to show up when you move between countries.

If you live in the usa, maybe you think that everyone has the same lifestyle as you do, or perhaps you think that the people of thailand would be better off if they just worked a bit harder. But it seems that no matter how hard they work, they stay poor.

“It’s because they have a weak economy,” insist some of you, “if the government managed the economy of the country better it would only be a matter of time until they were as wealthy as us.”

Rich man pays poor man, poor man pays poorer man, poorer man pays poorest man.

If you live in one of the western “developed” (rich) nations you may have noticed that your country has started importing much of the products from overseas, especially consumer goods and food. Why do you think that is? Is it that they are being compassionate and helping out a friend in need. Unfortunately not. What they are doing is using the favourable exchange rates to pay less for their goods than they would if they were manufactured in the west.

Even technology companies are starting to move their customer services operations to places like india, so that you phone a local number and through the magic of modern telecommunications, your call is diverted to bangalore, without you even noticing! Why do they do this? Is it because of the wonderful customer service skills they have in Bangalore or is it that they can pay someone £5.00 per day instead of paying someone in the uk £50.00? Pretty obvious, no?

So as a country becomes wealthier, and their economy grows stronger they “outsource” some of the more labour intensive tasks to poorer people (what would they do if we didn’t provide them with jobs eh?) but then something interesting starts happening. As a poor country starts developing economically they in return become richer, and start employing people from a poorer country than themselves, for you know, “labour intensive tasks.”

But the question I want to ask is: What happens when all the poor countries have become rich? Is it possible? Or to be rich, does someone else need to be poor? You see, the way the system works makes it impossible for everyone to be rich. So it starts at the top with £100.00 pounds per hour, and then there is a sliding scale down to the bottom at £5.00 pounds per hour. It is economically impossible for everyone to be paid £100.00 pounds per hour, and if they were, no one would be rich, everyone would be the same, but now £100.00 pounds wouldn’t be worth as much as it used to be. Do you see?

Someone always has to pay the cost, and at the moment, it is the economically stagnant countries. Bring in the world bank.

World Bank, World Saviour?

World Bank: A United Nations agency created to assist developing nations by loans guaranteed by member governments

So in order to stimulate economic growth the world bank loans money to economically and normally socially unstable countries under the pretext of helping them become wealthy “just like us,” but then they saddle them with crippling interest rates they can barely afford to pay back, meaning that the countries who have loaned the money get rich off the interest rates, and the poor countries get poorer. Just the way we like it. Greed, pretending to be compassion!

Not everyone’s going to be rich
stop fooling yourselves

It’s a trick, a con by powerful magicians, making you see what they want you to see. You are enslaved to the rich, doing their bidding, so they can get richer. You don’t seriously think they would let you get rich, do you? Who would make all the cheap products for their consumers? Perhaps we can enslave the monkeys, and teach them to make jeans and t-shirts for the masses, after all we would only have to pay them peanuts! (sorry for the pun)

Maybe all this searching for extra terrestrial life is actually a cover to find some new race of people that the rich can exploit before their cover is blown on this planet. But their cover is blown, we see what they’re up to, but unfortunately it’s not them that are the problem, it’s us.

We want to be rich, we don’t want to spend our money, we want to hoard it for ourselves, and although we may know in the back of our mind that someone is being exploited we shrug it off and say “at least they’ve got jobs. If the west didn’t give them jobs, who would.” And so we greedily rush through the clothes stores saying: “WOW! Jeans £4.00? I’ll take three pairs.”

The poor are working for us. It’s just we can’t hear or see them because they are thousands of miles away.

Can you imagine the uproar that would be caused if we paid children a pound a day to work twelve hours in a sweat shop (factory where workers do piecework for poor pay and are prevented from forming unions; common in the clothing industry). We wouldn’t let it happen.

Celebrity campaigners do all they can to raise awareness of these issues and all credit to them but unfortunately, they can’t change the world. You see, we are all on a collision course that may take ten years or fifty years, but come it will, when the poor realise they are still poor, and they have been conned (yet again).

But what is this desperate desire for a good quality of life, for economic riches, is it not greed on everyone’s part. You see, the poor people are under the illusion that to be rich is better, but as the monks will tell you, they are quite happy leading a simple life, with simple food and accommodation. They are not unhappy. In fact, most of them will tell you they love life. But we are shown people in desperate “need,” and we think: “poor people, if only they had better jobs and a better economy, they too could have what we have.” Which is?

Let us turn our attention to the continent of africa, long touted as being one of the poorest places on earth; we regularly see video of people starving, people walking a mile to get water, who live in mud huts. How sorry we feel for them, and how sorry they must feel for themselves. But hang on, we’ve said it before, haven’t these people been survivors throughout history? Have they not been quite content with their lives? I believe they (and us) were quite content with life in general, until someone told them they shouldn’t have to live like this – that it was “unnatural for a man to live in nature, off the land,” that we were “a civilised species, and we should live in brick houses with air conditioning and satellite tv, and we should go on holiday and go out for meals.”

Well, you can just imagine what happened. People thought that that was what they should do, so they left their villages in search of this money so they could have all the things they were told they needed, but quickly found out that the cost of getting these things, was the cultivation of desire and greed, and disappointment at not being able to get the money only lead to suffering.

But by now they were hooked. They had given up their simple way of life (which if you remember the monks seemed quite happy with), and were landed in cities ready to be exploited by each and every rich and powerful person. Kept in a virtual prison, where the only (supposed) escape was to keep working for as many hours as possible. But in the end they never escaped.

Let’s help the poor, buy more stuff

We have already heard it said, by certain people, that by outsourcing the manual labour to poor countries, we will help them become wealthier, so does that mean we have to produce more and more stuff we don’t need – a process that is already taking a terrible toll on our limited resources? Are we saying that economic development in the “developing” world is dependent on mass consumerism? Let me get this straight. We must make more, so we can help more? Is that right?

But we only want to pay these countries a fraction of what we sell them for in our own shops (it’s not us… exchange rates dear boy, exchange rates…). And they will get money, so they can build cities just like ours, so they can go shopping all the time, and waste even more resources? Is that what we want? We want everyone in the world to have a car, and a mobile phone and have access to junk food, and consumer electronics. Is that what we really want?

I think that some people think it is. And it will be a sad day when everyone becomes just like us, because I’ll tell you one thing. If everyone consumed resources like the australians the british, the americans, and the other “rich” countries the world as we know it would collapse. The oil would run out, the gas would run out. There would be nothing left to exploit! Do you understand how serious this is?

We are saying that the people in the developing world should have access to a lifestyle like ours but the cost of this happening is the collapse of our own lifestyles, and I’ll tell you something, the political and business leaders of the west know that. They know that the developing countries can never be allowed to have everything we have otherwise it would spell doom for us all. So we set up world banks and aid agencies and we pretend to help, but secretly we make sure they never reach our standard of living. We are just the moneylender, the shylock greedily rubbing his hands together, after making yet another “compassionate” loan to the “third world.”

But on a last note, what’s so great about our standard of living anyway?

We only need clothes, shelter and food to have a happy life, the rest is pure greed. Why do people aspire to living a superficial life? Because it looks good to have (on paper) I think the monks might be on to something, so I might throw in my lot with them rather than mr world bank, and if I need to know what world economics really is about, I just have to turn on a tv.

Some people say that money is the root of all evil, but there’s no such thing as evil. Greed and desire wants money, lots of it, but once your mind sees through that, things start to fall back into place, and who knows, maybe you would like to try living without money for a while. I bet it’s not as bad as people make out. But if you become attached to it, being without it is probably one of the loneliest places to be in the universe.

Break free of desire and greed,
and then see how much money you want.

Being poor is a state of mind.
Think about it.

“But they are poor, they are,” cry the celebrity campaigners, as they travel from village to village in their jeeps and their sunglasses. “If only they had what we had, they would know what it really is like to be happy. We must get more money for them, it’s the only way out.”

Is it?

by alan macmillan orr

“the natural mind- waking up’



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