0018 - Is Gu Gu JaxxonFive good? - 2018.02.05
The value of money is relative.
To a homeless person, a windfall of a couple grand can be a life-changing event, enough money to lift them out of poverty. To a middle-class person, a few thousand is enough to splurge on a new computer or a second car. If you're a millionaire, the sudden arrival of two thousand dollars would barely be enough to raise your eyebrows.
Given this fact, then, isn't wealth redistribution actually wealth generation? If you take a dollar from someone who wouldn't notice it leaving and give it to someone who would enjoy it and value it, doesn't that create additional joy, benefit, goodness... which is to say, wealth... from nothing?
Additionally, while most people might agree that going to elaborate lengths to get money is the hallmark of despicable greed, it all depends on what that money is being used for. Very few people would call an overriding desire to remain alive greedy, and fewer still would chastise you for striving to keep other people alive.
So this too comes back to wealth level. The aforementioned homeless person debasing or degrading themselves - or even doing something ethically questionable - for money might be viewed as permissable or even laudable if it rescues them or their families from a slow and miserable death. The aforementioned millionaire doing something equally questionable to make money is less acceptable.
And this is the part where you get worried, and you say "but Tailsteak, surely you aren't proposing that everyone give all their money to everyone else? That's impossible and impractical and it's theft and it would destroy the economy and you're a hypocrite because you still have money and yeah Jesus said to do that but he was clearly speaking metaphorically somehow so walk this statement back before I drag you in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee."
To which I would respond that I'm merely pointing out two obvious truths about the way money works, an inherent ethical flaw in the whole concept of commerce as we know it. Merely harranguing the rich into giving away their money is temporary and exhausting and silly. A change in the system, an overhaul of what an economy is, that's what we're going to need for the twenty-second century, particularly as automation eliminates job after job after job. We can't all be CEOs and startup entrepreneurs and Patreon buskers, after all.
You certainly can't tell me that a complete overhaul of the concept of money isn't possible. I mean, look at the difference between our modern understanding of the economy versus what it would have been at the time Jesus was telling people to give their money away. And heck - we've got computers now, don't we? If a bunch of Silicon Valley disrupting-app types can revolutionize everything else, surely they could whip up some new system of exchange and value and investment that tackles these issues.
And don't say Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is just making Beanie Babies and hoping you can cash out before the bubble bursts. It doesn't seek to solve problems, unless your problem is "how can I send someone money over the Internet without involving a third party who might snitch me out for buying all this child porn".
I don't know, man. I'm certainly not an economist that could design such a system, any more than I'm a roboticist who could put Zoa together. If Gene Roddenberry can hand-wave poverty away, I figure I'm in good company.