We live in a society where access to almost everything is gated by money. On the low side you can of course do the basic things, be outside, walk, breath. You could even dumpsterdive but food is where freedom stops. But even there you can’t have food if you don’t have money. You can’t grow it reliably without land and you can’t own land without initial and running cost.
Slowely ownership in society has evaporated in society but for a few. Most people owning a home also have to work in some occupation
On the other end of the spectrum, so the side where you do not try to live at the fringe but live the life of your dreams, you will be stuck to the neck in debt and financial dependencies. You will have a mortgage, have to pay for childrens education, medical care, branded clothes, expensive holidays all the stuff and money will always be required to get any of these things. There are two ways of thinking about this, one is the commonly promoted thing : This is wealth, we are consumers, we have choices and enjoy luxury. The other is this is capture, we are slaves, we have to choose between a few options, the only difference with hard communism is that products do actually give enjoyment, and there are a lot of them.
Money has become the gatekeeper to life, and we no longer care to understand anything else
We agree with the idea that a lot of our current average home inventory is making our lives better. Soft couches, bright TVs, central heating etc. all these things are fine, however there is an effect of this luxury that is paralyzing our politics. We have gotten so used to the utility of money we don’t know or care about anything else anymore. When politicians talk about money our mind goes blank, we know money is a good thing. What else do we need to know? This is a fundamental problem because it means society no longer focusses on the engines of wealth but has shifted to focus on its trading token.
You can have a million dollar in the bank, but if your ATM is broken and nobody knows how to fix it you are lost
This conditioning to money is a problem, because anyone that can convince you of having influence over your liquidity now has power over you. You will start worrying about other people having money, who takes money, who deserves it. Your mind is spending its cycles on really abstract and useless thoughts, because what can you do about (for example) the Pentagon disappearing billions, or some millionair making $300 billion on his/her stock options? The amount of useless information we are exposed to is enormous.
Actual things you should know are the rules to get what you want, so you can think about how to get it. You are mistakenly accepting a first rule, which is : accept money as your master and a second which is : don’t stick differ from the others
One social rule is devastating for innovation and development of interesting personalities : Peer pressure. Social media have brought peer pressure into everyone’s life to the exact degree people are socially involved. There is no need for most things people do and own for social reasons. People will reject others because they compete to look a certain way or live a certain way, but that is all completely useless and not relevant to their actual ability to live.
We live because someone makes the stuff we need. That requires skills, materials and energy
Instead of constantly looking to each other and wondering how to look yourself, or wondering what new habit you need to be accepted, you could look into what you need, what it takes to make what you need, what is currently involved and then get shocked into the realization you may not be able to make any of it. That’s fine, that’s what economics teaches us, that you don’t have to be able to do everything. But if you can make delicious dinners, you don’t need to go to a restaurant. If you can make furniture, you don’t have to buy it. Sounds stupid and simple, but it is true. And it is a lot harder to do so it may be an interesting challenge. The economy will rush in telling you this is home-grown, hobby stuff, or cottage fabrication whatever, but in reality there are many small innovative companies that make specific high quality things that nobody else can make (I used to work for one that made a device that monitored industrial networks for failures). That started with somebody not watching a Netflix movie.
We need to focus on what is already there. On what we can do with what we have
So there are two sides to how the economy is disabling us, it is blinding us with money, it is bombarding us with products we could make ourselves, it is wasting our time with stories that serve a world view that is usually conflict oriented and/or bad for our self esteem. Meanwhile we don’t notice the challenges closer to home.
Covid has reduced shipping volume all over the world. That means shipping cost have gone up (because the fuel price remains the same but the ships carry less cargo). This could mean products don’t even make it to your local market anymore. The so called ‘price elasticity’ may not be there. You think you are set if you have money, but if prices suddenly explode because the product you wanted to buy is running out you discover the money you had offers no protection against shortages. Being the producer definitely would give you a better chance.