Saved up in heaps on the ground, they’re not good for anything but mulch. Just so, saving up piles of money is counter-productive. So, the message from the tax man is “use it or lose it.” Which, of course, was the message of the parable of the talents, as well. It seems the propensity to accumulate and hoard has to be routinely discouraged in man.
Discouragement is the order of the day. That is exactly the opposite of what the Uncle Cons are calling for. Why? “Courage” is found in the heart. So, to encourage is to make stout of heart or make it swell with love, while to discourage is to urge it to relax and let go. So, when the banksters prattle about the need for encouragement, they’re looking for people to hang on to money and let the bankers have it to manage. Bankers, after all, produce no good or service and the claim that they make money is, at least in contemporary times, false.
When the Dutch issued letters of credit to acknowledge the gold that had been deposited in their vaults, they did, in fact, “make” money. But in this day and age, that’s a function we restrict to our federal authorities, at least in the U.S. The people in the Euro zone have agreed to hand the making of money over to an unelected body, the European Central Bank. It’s no wonder the people in the cradle of democracy are revolting. It’s not capital that democracy relies on; it’s currency. Absent a currency to keep track of what people are owed for their work, they are easy to exploit, especially the ones whose memory isn’t too good. They may not even know what time it is, if they never get paid. Money keeps us current, au currant, running on time.
Time is not money, contrary to the common wisdom. But money does save time, not in the sense of keeping it from moving on, but in the sense of keeping it from being wasted on useless labor. So, money is time. Things can’t just be reversed. Which seems to suggest that the logical assumption that if A = B, then B = A is false. Because sequence matters. Time matters, regardless of whether we leave it out of our equations. Time can’t just be discounted because it is hard to account for — not if we want our accounting to be realistic. Trade and exchange are dynamic. So, a static account is bound to be inaccurate and unrealistic.
But, if that is the case, if it is impossible to construct accurate accounts from which we can extrapolate the future with confidence, how are we to proceed? If we can’t trust the facts, whom are we to believe? The answer now is the same as it was 2000 years ago — trustworthy stewards, people who manage on behalf of those they serve; not on behalf of themselves or people who have bought them off. Reliable servants. That’s whom we count on. Talented people who use their talents and don’t hide them under a bushel basked or buried in a vault.
The most telling thing about Willard was his hiding the loot of his predatory enterprises, like some pack rat or primitive pirate, in the Cayman Islands–clear evidence that he doesn’t understand money is to be used, not saved. The good thing about the dollar is that when our stewards waste it, we can always make more.
I did not know when I started writing this post just how relevant the simile to leaves is. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing reports, for example, that in fiscal year 2012, it delivered about 35 million notes a day. And, in that year, the Benjamins alone were worth over three hundred billion. So, you see, when the Congress is nattering about five hundred billion over ten years, that’s just a kerfuffle to make them look like they’re actually doing something worth while. They’re not. They’re just wasting everyone’s time–something that is impossible to replace.
The title inspired a poem:
Dollars are like leaves that grow on trees
Yet they come not blowing in the breeze
Never bury me up to my knees
We donâ€™t have enough here in the gulch
Never ever treat them like theyâ€™re merely mulch
You live in a wholly different cultch
Heaped up on the ground is not our style
We keep cash a very little while
Never even put it in a file
Money doesnâ€™t sit â€˜round here; it runs
Mostly out. We never do have tons
Of it to spend on goods, or Gods, or guns
If your talents are acquisitive
Better find some other place to live
We donâ€™t have a surplus we can give