Heavily Monetized Societies are Fragile

The vast majority of people cannot see obvious problems because they seldom think through any given situation. The following is one of them-

A society which monetizes every human interaction and exchange is on a path of decay, collapse and death.

Now, this insight might come as a shock to many people living in so-called “developed” countries because they know of no other way to organize society. Indeed, many of those morons believe that even further monetization of human interactions and exchange will ensure more stability because of the ‘profit’ motive. But is that really the case? and what are the points of failure for a social system based on the idea of homo economicus?

The points of failure in societies that monetize every human interaction and exchange rise from two sets of linked problems.

1. Who sets the price for any item, service, interaction etc and how?

2. Can you avoid future retaliation from people who cannot afford something they desire?

Let us be clear about one thing- precise prices for things and services are seldom meant to facilitate social cohesion. Instead, they are usually set by one party such that the needy party is disadvantaged. The party that rips offs the other also makes an implicit assumption that its actions won’t come back to haunt or kill it in the future.

Most people will play nice in the face of mild to moderate ripoffs in a moderate percentage of total transactions. However, they will stop acting in good faith once the ripoffs are severe, widespread or start compromising the availability of fundamental needs. The pathways for satisfying fundamental needs such as water, food, shelter, medical care and sex have to be reasonably stable and any effort to change rules governing their access will always have negative repercussions, especially if one party in the transaction is seen as disingenuous. While we have no shortage of, or difficulty producing, any of the fundamental needs and most luxuries of life- we have many problems with distributing them.

Consider the following two examples-

A. Consider a person who is well-educated, had a well-paying occupation and a decent lifestyle for years. What would happen to this previously content person if he was repeatedly laid off for reasons beyond his control or had a serious illness affected his ability to work or get rehired for an equivalent pay. How would that affect his or her worldview? As many of you now, this is precisely what is now happening to a rapidly increasing number of people who used to be comfortably middle-class.

The reality is that in our heavily monetized era, a steady income from an unreliable external source is so highly linked to the necessities of life that even small disruptions in that flow of money can have all sorts of synergistic negative effects- from divorce, loss of house, child custody battles, outlook for future employment etc.

Have you ever asked yourself- Why should a person endure an inferior lifestyle for no personal fault? Some of you might say that ‘life is not fair’- but does a person who feels mistreated or wronged care about your CONServative and LIEbertarian point of view?

B. Now consider the fate of a guy born after 1970. He faces a similar set of problems whether he is in countries as diverse as Japan, Spain, Italy, Canada or the USA. Apart from the problems due to feminism jumping the shark, he also faces socio-economic deprivation due to circumstances beyond his control.

He has heard all the talk about waiting for the baby-boomers to retire, becoming more “responsible”, “educated” etc. But guess what- he is not becoming younger, his situation is not visibly improving nor is there any realistic chance it ever will. However unlike previous eras, he also lives in a culture where the family and extended family do not support and help each other like they used to. Moreover the social safety net, which was supposed to replace the security of familial ties, is being sucked dry by both older scumbags and bankster-types as we speak.

Which brings me to another rarely mentioned aspect of such societies-

Heavily monetized societies are also heavily atomized and not subject to the previously known patterns of individual behavior and system feedback.

That is a fancy way of saying that the atomized people in such societies are highly mistrustful, mercenary, paranoid and can only act ‘civilized’ as long they feel they are somewhat secure. The USA, and the west, appear to be stable despite the obvious long-term issues because we have been able to paper over the larger cracks through demography (baby-boomers), technology (cheap food, entertainment etc) and the pretense of an extensive social safety net. The social safety net, as it exists, has never been tested with anything beyond a small number of retirees and some poor people. The real test is coming up.. very soon and may have already started.

and this is where developments in communication technology over the last decade feed into the problem. By allowing people to find out more about the world around them from multiple independent sources and communicate with each other, it creates an environment where the world view of people evolves into something very different from any previous era. The result is a world with a lot of well-informed but passive-aggresive types whose behavior and responses to situations cannot be modeled or extrapolated from previous data sets thereby breaking down the ability of social control systems based on older assumptions and models of human behavior and responses.

Comments?

See, their morals, their code… it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you, when the chips are down, these… these civilized people will eat each other. See, I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve. – Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

  1. October 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Fund is projected to exhaust its funds in 2024, five years sooner than last year’s estimate, and Social Security will be exhausted in 2036, a year earlier than previously thought, the trustees announced.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/05/medicare-and-social-security-will-run-out-sooner-than-thought/

  2. October 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    “The reality is that in our heavily monetized era, a steady income from an unreliable external source is so highly linked to the necessities of life that even small disruptions in that flow of money can have all sorts of synergistic negative effects- from divorce, loss of house, child custody battles, outlook for future employment etc.”

    Don’t get married, buy a house or have kids….

    Live below your means….

    Have a trade that will weather bad times…. Even third world economies have a professional class….

    oh, shit sounds like I just recited the MGTOW philosophy….

    I wonder why conservatives and feminists hate ‘em so much….

  3. Mr Stricter
    October 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

    stonerwithaboner :
    SNIP
    Don’t get married, buy a house or have kids….
    Live below your means….
    Have a trade that will weather bad times…. Even third world economies have a professional class….
    oh, shit sounds like I just recited the MGTOW philosophy….
    I wonder why conservatives and feminists hate ‘em so much….

    I don’t think I am going to throw my future or that of the society I live in under the bus just so some leach can have a few more dollars they can’t spend and whose only purpose is a sick game of counting the numbers. Frankly I think AD’s solutions are far preferable if we can’t get social credit or the like

    Now mind, I have no objection to thrift or having a trade. Thats sound everywhere.

  4. Ryu
    October 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Interesting. Curious how there’s nothing about prostitution there.

    And what of people who “monetize every human interaction and exchange” like hookers? And the men who use them, who in effect, turn themselves from a thinking, feeling human being into a walking ATM. Are you yourself on a path of decay, collapse and death?

    It’s alway internal contradictions which are the most damning. Of course, it’s hardest to turn the mirror on ourselves.

    Your choice is between a good no-strings fuck with a hot woman who charges by the hour OR a fat and ugly woman who rations mediocre sex for much more money and can use the law to extract money from you years after you stopped fucking her.

    What would you choose?

    • PT Barnum
      October 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Cause ya know, and I mean, it’s like so certain, that if he didn’t use hookers, the women he slept with wouldn’t be after his money!

      Like, you are so right, man. I bet he has never considered that very point before. It’s like, you are a budha or something!

    • Mr Stricter
      October 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      There is a place in society for some interactions, even ones that are not normally directly monetized like sex to be monetized.

      Its the degree that counts.

  5. October 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    The difference you perceive here, your Devilishness, is the transition of basic human needs from the personal market to the open market.

    One is pretty efficient and sustainable the other is… pretty much as you just described.


    I guess you know how it all ends, don’t you?

  6. HN
    October 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “Your choice is between a good no-strings fuck with a hot woman who charges by the hour OR a fat and ugly woman”

    You admit that the only kind of woman you could ever possibly attract is the fat and ugly kind?

    You cannot compare an average or even a moderately pretty woman to a decent looking escort. It is like comparing a Accord or Camry to a Porsche

  7. May 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I really like this article! Surely, you are correct. I am often annoyed by the dumb amount of monetizing schemes there are on websites these days. I understand trying to make a living but at least offer free advice or something! Also, I could use mods with this kind of take in my website forum. I also would really appreciate some advice on my own blog or comments perhaps. Having mods who like to monetize is one thing but one that doesn’t. That’s an interesting take! Thanks! By the way, Blogger is for squares.

  1. February 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

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