Cost vs Power

Around the world we see a reduction of wealth due to the rise of right wing ideologies. The conservative side of politics is often aligned with the groups that secure fossil fuels and defend the country, more so than the side that thinks more freely. The result is that the entire food chain that depends on fossil fuels, from oil companies, banks to industry and even consumers, cooperate to take resources (money) from groups that do not have strong representation or can’t represent themselves. These are care givers, educators, people who rely on social support (pensioners, invalids), live in low rent houses and have little control over their lives.

Standard respons of the fossil credit system is : WHO WILL PAY FOR IT

This predation on fossil resources in the shape of money will continue until fossil fuel either runs out or stops being the dominant energy source in society. For brevity we bunch fossil with nuclear, because without enough fossil resources you can’t build, run or decomission (fission) nuclear power stations. The discouse is very predictable if you just imagine two sides : One that wants to make life better for all, and one that wants to survive another day in the free market arena.

Currencies have no mandatory value, so they can’t express burden or benefit

The way people think about realizing projects in a free market is not sane though. It is crippled in a very fundamental respect. The idea of cost, say $1 million or $1 billion expressing a specific burden on us or anyone, which is what the expressions are meant to do, is mistaken. After all a dollar is but an empty contract, it really has no value. Compare with the Euro, a Euro has to be used to pay taxes, but has no intrinsic value, meaning nobody is forced into a trade with you for your Euro and there are no resources your Euro gives you access to by law (except existing undetained by the tax collector).

Money is created with a few keystrokes, but the cost differs from place to place

If you live in the EU and you are a bank, and you need money to borrow to a client, right now you pay next to nothing. In Venezuela you will probably pay a high interest rate. How can that be because what you do as a bank is identical, you go to a monitor, type in the amount, the underlying (promised) asset and the number appears in the account. Why wouldn’t that cost exactly the same everywhere? It is because the resources which the money should buy are not equally abundant, and in response to that, and because banks can create money at will, the money system is unstabile in terms of what say one liter of gasoline costs.

Zimbabwe has been managed ghastly for more than half a century now

Money has no value, but people can believe it has. This belief is fair if the money is used fairly, so for example if a farmer needs farm hands, he can get money from the bank (no value) then hire farmhands with the money, the farmhands bring about the growth of crops, and the farmer sells the crops for the money. In this tiny system the farmer will accept all the money back from the farm hands as they buy the crops, and the money can be returned to the bank. Notice that if you ask the farmer “What does it cost to work your land” he can say “money” but he would be wrong, because he got that money at no cost. He can say “part of my crops” and he would be right. What would be paying for his workers? Not the money, because they return the money to him, it would be the crops, the solar energy stored in them by biological processes. He is not paying his workers, he is powering them. The only role the money plays is as a token of the agreement that he will deliver part of his crops in return for the money.

Money is not power until someone trades power to own money. This in our society is not a voluntarily but a forced proces. Armies protect and control fossil resources for us

The above example shows money as a tool for cooperation, with a bank that plays no significant role. It demands no interest. The farmer could make the money himself, and people did for the longest time and still do write I-owe-you’s notes of debt to each other. Today money comes with its own workers, which makes it super confusing. Money buys fossil fuels, fossil fuels can do a lot of work, they are power. So if you have money, the people that own fossil fuels will part with it, they supply your ‘worker’ and you put the ‘worker’ in your car fuel tank to make it drive you around. Money is power. This makes banks that can print money extremely ‘powerfull’. Of course that control over those fossil fuels is not by accident, it is enforced, an unfair trade is made, because we return our money to banks, but the fossil fuels are gone! This is all very mysterious, but the key idea to grasp is that our money too is POWER, and is POWERING our lives.

Focus on POWER if you want POWER

Now a hand made wind turbine, where calories of humans where burned to build a device that can deliver power, is a thing of value. Holland was one of the early users of wind power, each wind mill some 5 KwH, to grind wheat, flatten tabacco, saw wood beams and pump water. That power meant value to trade. Just like the sails on a trade ship meant it could bring goods from source to consumer, commit arbitrage and create a global market. Stocks in the VOC, the Dutch East Asia Company, had value because of the POWER in those sails, because the men where expendable, the plantation owners ruthless (just like the Indonesians themselves by the way). The money was gold and silver, it had a constant volume, its value determined by the combined power of the working people.

Focus on where the power comes from
when you want to get something done

So there are two options : The first is to think of money loosely as a tool to get things done, not making any distinction between the power source you use, so you can pay a contractor to dig a pit, and you don’t care if he blasts a hole, uses slaves, gets the community to dig or uses an solar electric or diesel digging machine. You pay for the work, it gets done. This is easy and of course made easy and promoted by banks who know that the fossil energy producers still have an abundant supply.

The second is to think in terms of power. How will you power the change you want to make. This means that if you want to build a car factory with robots, you may want to build some wind turbines first, or solar parks. Then you can do the construct the factory with electric equipment, no diesel cost, you can power the robots with wind electricity, and be productive without going into debt or dependence on power arriving from somewhere else.

Renewables are forever

The golden ticket is to know how to generate power from as little power as possible. You start with a seed, grow crops, use the biomass to power machines to make your windturbine and solar panels, use the electicity to build hydro dam etc. and from there the power grows, and you can create more and more wealth with it. Then you will have both wealth and power and a future in which you can continue to expand the power and wealth to be shared and used to keep life safe on Earth. This we call the Roboeconomy.