Earlier this week, I read Kate Hawkesby's column in the New Zealand Herald — "The alarming rise of the working poor".
The only thing I found alarming was how she — or anyone else for that matter — could be alarmed. The writing has been on the wall for bloody decades.
It is, after all, the intended consequence of a seriously flawed global financial system.
A few years ago I watched the award-winning documentary The Four Horsemen, which explains in jaw-dropping and easy-to-understand detail just how screwed world finances are, and if you think that governments are the only bad guys ... you'd be wrong.
Leading the charge are the banks. The combination of replacing the long-held Gold Standard with the fiat money system and deregulation have created a ludicrously legal way of allowing banks to make money from nothing, leaving us to believe their obscene profits are made solely from lending investors money.
Sounds bizarre, I know, but the documentary describes the process well.
To add insult to injury, banks then, through propaganda, tell us that our needs are driving up inflation and property speculation, hoping we're too stupid to realise that it's their constant "money making" that is devaluing the currency.
Their method is little more than permissible counterfeiting or book-cooking.
When the doco was made in 2011, 97 per cent of the world's money was debt. I shudder to think what it is now.
It literally would be a case of money not being worth the paper it's printed on and heaven help us if we were all to withdraw our "imaginary funds" on the same day. Instant global collapse.
This is why governments are so often forced to bail out financial institutions ... they're basically blackmailed into it. Banks ensure their success by using the threat of civil unrest and destabilisation of an economy so they can afford the demanded rescue package.
Under this current system, the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably and will continue to do so. It's basic maths.
Like any pyramid scheme, the rich at the top get the cream, reaping the rewards by "investing" early. The trickle-down effect, however, takes so long that by the time it reaches those who need it the most, the "investment" is no longer affordable as prices have risen. And guess what — we borrow even more.
Those at the bottom will perish first but, incrementally, the drowning debt levels will rise. Those in the middle can only tread water for so long, while only the top 1 per cent can afford a lifejacket.
This gross misallocation of capital ensures that the fair distribution of wealth we aspire to will never be possible.
Individuals are not entirely blameless either. The baby boomer generation saw a shift in financial thinking that has since been adopted by every subsequent generation — the rise of unfettered consumerism resulting in the squandering of the inheritance meant for future generations.
Our greed has seen us plunder resources — natural and otherwise — many of which are already at critically low levels, creating a supply and demand problem which ironically drives up prices further. And, yep, you guessed it — we're again forced to borrow more.
Banks have found the perfect way to keep us poor and/or coming back for more, and until we switch from the neo-classical ("what ought to be") model back to the classical ("what is") system, things are only going to get worse.
Our mindset needs to change. Not only do we tolerate being enslaved by debt, we accept it as perfectly normal and, worse still, we expect it.
All this from the most intelligent species on a now doomed planet? Wake the hell up!
I would much rather have given you something to smile about ... but we all have our off days.
You could try picturing me attempting to outrun the Horsemen — #dontbankonit
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