Selling Ourselves Short

It occurs to me that most people, in the world, have a passion and a talent, which if given the time to mature, through nurturing and the application of sheer hard work, over a long period of time, could produce work of inestimable value.  Everybody, to a man, has the capacity to produce the incredible, with its inevitable massive value, if given the time and conditions in which to do so.  But they don’t do that, do they?  Instead, they get so-called “proper jobs”, in which they produce work of limited value.  Because their work is of an unremarkable nature, they are made vulnerable to redundancies, being priced as a commodity, having their job off-shored and are therefore in a constant state of uncertainty and stress (and control), which further erodes their ability to pursue their true talents, in the off hours.  The conditions of their existence atrophy their creativity and productivity.

So why don’t they spend their time on Earth pursing the extraordinary?  Surely it would make sense, if pushed, to actually borrow money in order to develop their talent, until it was capable of producing work so unique, so personal, so authentic and so valuable, that they could easily repay the investment they made in themselves, many times over.  That’s just basic economics, right?

Here’s the thing about debt.  They tell you when you have to repay it, with interest.  The standard agreement is that you will repay monthly and if you fail to make a payment, they can call the whole amount in.  What kind of crazy idea is that?  If you borrow money to live, while you develop, train, mature, experiment, fail and eventually become spectacularly valuable, how can you predict when the moment of blossoming will be?  There’s no way to tell when your ship will come in.  It might be months.  It could be years.  It might take decades.  If you have to find the repayment every month, from the very first month, before your extraordinary productive powers have had a chance to develop, that simply becomes an unnecessary distraction to finding your way toward your own unique creative contribution and output.  It can become such a powerful distraction that it derails the entire project.

This is the thing about those that loan money.  They really aren’t interested in developing intellectual capital, talent or productive capabilities, over the long term, even if that would repay them infinitely more in the long run.  No, they want their new golf clubs today.  Why are they so impatient?  The lie that is told is that if they hadn’t loaned the money to you, they could have loaned it out to people working on something far more lucrative.  Rubbish!  Passive income is not so easy to arrange.  Everybody else they could have loaned their money to would be on exactly the same uncertain journey of trying to nurture and develop a unique capability, over the long run, with an uncertain timeline regarding when the capability will finally come to fruition and begin creating enormous value.  They might have been luckier with their timing and loaned to somebody that was just about to blossom, but they can’t have known that when they made the loan.  It’s a spurious argument for demanding monthly tributes from people that are in debt.

Indeed, the whole notion of debt is strange.  There is no way of creating money anew, other than by debt, in which money is conjured up as a number on a balance sheet, unless you mine for precious metals and are fortunate enough to find more than it cost you to look for it.  For all practical purposes, all money is debt.  All money created as debt didn’t actually exist until it was borrowed.  That means there is no opportunity cost.  If you hadn’t borrowed it, nobody might have.  It couldn’t have been spent on something else, because it didn’t exist.  The only thing that could have happened is that the money was created because it was borrowed by somebody else.

So, today we have a financial system that demands regular payment on debts, which have dubious legitimacy in the first place and this traditional contract, never questioned by either party, destroys value.  Worse, it prevents talents and capabilities of inestimable value from ever being pursued and developed.  We settle for mediocrity.  We do it because of impatience.

Some investors even “sell short” on the creators and makers, betting on their failure to enrich themselves (and thereby fund their new golf clubs).  How sick is that?  They actually get rich by hoping, praying and perhaps even engineering the failure of a creator, artist, maker, entrepreneur, enterprise or somebody else doing something that creates spectacular value for humanity, rather than encouraging the blossoming of amazing talents and remarkable capabilities.  This is the ultimate in Luddite behaviour.  Not only are they smashing productive capacity, they’re ensuring that the technology, learning, research, development, practice and skills never come into existence in the first place.  People are being actively thwarted in their desire to better themselves and their world…so that investors can buy new golf clubs.

The tragedy of this is that we all play along, supporting a system that ensures the suppression of our own talents, because we cannot believe in or imagine a better alternative.  We all think that debts have to be repaid (wonder when the US Government can ever find a way to repay theirs?)  We all think that monthly payments on debt, with interest, are unchallengeable and benign.  We don’t see the damage done by not waiting until the investment bears fruit, in its own good time, with spectacular levels of return.  Instead, we prefer investors get a little return, regularly, so that they can continue to fund their fripperies.  And it’s costing us dearly.

But we all play along.

About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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