Captalism, its blessings, and its discontents
Some of us get paid to spend money because capitalism likes us. The credit card offers a little kickback and at the end of the month. The same thing happens to money that isn’t spent. The bank account (or whatever) pays interest. Stocks pay dividends. And while we’re at it, maybe we can spend a bit more upfront on insulation or fancy lightbulbs to see some huge savings later. It’s not that we did anything to earn this money. It’s just that we have some money, and we have an economic system that says that if you don’t really need money, you can have a bit more money. And if you really don’t need money, you can have a lot more money.
On the opposite end, it does the opposite thing. Companies demand that payments be made by certified check or money order. It costs money to spend money. Accounts with a negative balance collect interest. The nastier the financial situation, the nastier the costs of being in that situation. We have an economic system that feels that if you’re struggling maybe the playing field needs to be tilted a bit more.
This isn’t news to most people. It’s just sort of something we live with. But whenever we’re discussing policy, I think we need to keep two things in mind.
- In this particular division, it’s not the 99% vs. the 1%. Most of the people reading this are probably on the winning side of this slanted playing field.
- We don’t have a planned economy—but our economy does resemble one that was planned by a complete asshole. And, in a way, it sort of was. I mean, things didn’t get this way by coincidence.