The Unflattering Reason Behind Extreme Accumulation of Money : 1

More than a few of my previous posts have centered on, or around, an odd but rarely asked, question.

“What is the point of accumulating money beyond the ability to spend it?”

Now, stupid sophists defending the status quo might say that its is impossible to determine what is enough. Curiously these sophists are seldom well off, let alone truly rich, making their defense of the status quo a bit odd. Perhaps they believe that their incessant barking on behalf of the rich might get them get a few more table crumbs or leftovers. But who knows..

Anyway, back to the question at hand. I have previously written that the reasons for accumulating money beyond the point of usability cannot be rational. But what if they are still logical. Confused? Let me explain. An action can be simultaneously logical and irrational, because logic is a mechanistic process in which the inputs don’t have to be factual or real.

For example, burning women accused of having sex with the devil requires that particular entity to exist in the first place and is therefore irrational. However it can be perfectly logical if you were one of those perpetually fearful and greedy semi-retards who believed in the existence of the devil, especially one interested in having sex with human females.

Coming back to our era, a closer look at much of what we think is ‘normal’ and ‘right’ just does hold up to rational scrutiny. Many of my previous posts are about the sheer irrationality underlying a wide variety of systems- from the basic structure of “civilized” society, the bizarre illusion of money, the worthlessness of supposedly important inter-personal relationships to the futility of loyalty to institutions that demand it. To put it another way- most conventional expectations, norms, rules and behaviors are not rational. But what if they are still logical? and more importantly- what does that say about the real nature of the human mind?

One of the main feature of conventional models for the human mind, be they religious, secular or “scientific”, is the assumption that human beings are intrinsically good, rational, caring or at least capable of all those things. Even religious models that portray human as sinful and fallen, or whatever their secular equivalent are, allow for the possibility of being saved, lifted or “enlightened”.

But what if that is not the case? Could it be the vast majority of humans, including the supposedly smart ones, are fundamentally incapable of being rational.

This question is best answered by looking at the entirety of available evidence (aka historical evidence from multiple sources) factoring in the inevitable underlying contexts and biases. Throughout most of the last 5,000 odd years (aka the age of civilization) the general standard of human living was very low and even the very rich were an infection, poisoning or puncture wound away from death. To make things easy and clear, let us temporarily ignore the actions and behavior of insecure and desperate people under constant stress or duress.

We will therefore, for the time being, willingly ignore most of human history- even though it strongly suggests humans are highly irrational.

Let us focus on societies where a combination of resources and technology make it possible to deliver a very high quality of life to all their members. In case you are wondering, I am talking about the situation in developed countries after WW2- especially after the early 1960s. Studying such societies allows us to eliminate the role of scarcity on human behavior or the ability to reason.

Does the functioning of these societies suggest that humans are capable of rational behavior when not under any real resource constraints?

The answer to this question is complicated. From the end of WW2 to the late 1970s, the socioeconomic changes in these countries suggested that human beings might be capable of rationality- at least under certain conditions. Those times were characterized by very significant technological progress and considerable improvement in the living standards of the median person in those societies. This era was also characterized by fairly low income inequality and a realistic chance to improve ones position in society. It was as if after millennia of screwing around without anything to show for it, human societies had finally found the ability and institutional structures to provide a safe, stable and reasonably good existence for almost all of its members.

But there have been many changes since the late-1970s and almost all of them have taken those developed societies increasingly further away their early post-WW2 vision. But why? It is very clear that we do not lack the technology, resources, productivity or ability to extend the general socioeconomic improvements that occurred within the first three decades after WW2. But every single developed society has abandoned the path of improving the lives of its median, let alone its poorer, members.

How can we account for the rise of neo-liberalistive/neo-conservative (neo-feudal) ideologies throughout developed countries since the early 1980s?

There are those who see this is the result of clever propaganda, institutional capture or mass media-driven brainwashing. While this line of thought might sound appealing to those who see average humans as fundamentally good and therefore gullible victims, there are reasons to believe that it is not the case. You might have noticed that a lot of the ideas recycled by neo-conservatives or neo-liberals, from “personal responsibility” to “work ethic”, are actually old lies and fairy tales.

So what makes people want to believe in obvious lies such as “work ethic”, “meritocracy”, “invisible hand of market”, “creative destruction” and “personal discipline” while discarding other equally old and popular lies about the role of divine entities in human affairs.

Are people really that stupid, unobservant and innumerate? Then there is the troubling question of why the middle class is so eager to believe in the lies, scams and bait-and switches which trick, hurt and abuse them the most. Surely, they are not that retarded or unobservant. I also don’t believe that this behavior is due to learned helplessness. A rational person who understood his lack of control over events would not strive for the benefit of those who were abusing him.

Could it be that most people believe in or play along with norms, rules and paradigms that are against their rational interests because it provides surreptitious satisfaction of much deeper urges in their minds?

In a couple of my previous posts (Link 1 and Link 2) I had suggested that hoarding money beyond ones ability to spend it was irrational as it offered no real objective benefits to the hoarder. But what if hoarding money was about depriving others of resources, security and happiness rather than improving your own existence. Furthermore, what if the behavior of the rich is merely an exaggeration of how most humans relate to each other.

Have you considered the possibility that the primary intention behind almost all “normal” human interpersonal interaction is to somehow con, swindle, abuse, hurt, maim or kill the other party?

In upcoming parts of this series, of which there will be many, I shall demonstrate how my model of the human mind is a far better fit for available evidence on human behavior in a variety of situations.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. October 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    A wealthy man I knew told me, “The more I got the more I wanted.” In other words, greed had hold of him.

  2. Macedon
    October 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I read your works out loud as if i wrote them.

  3. The Plague Doctor
    October 27, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Hoarding decreases the supply of money, thereby increasing the purchasing power (ratio of supply of goods of services to supply of money in an economy) of the remaining population, making everyone else better off. Basic economics, but of course Diablo would not comprehend that as he’s never cracked open an economics book in his life. So he is essentially unintentionally shooting himself in the foot and wants to impoverish himself, all because of his hatred for ‘evil rich white men’ who have shat on him in the past and who he incorrectly identifies with the capitalist economists. Maybe we need a Indian economist to explain it to him?
    —-

    and here is my reply to that stupid idea from way back in 2010 and 2011.

    https://dissention.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/the-financial-equivalent-of-bloodletting-1/

    https://dissention.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/lack-of-money-circulation-in-a-society-is-identical-to-poverty/

    https://dissention.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/austerity-as-socio-economic-anorexia/

    • P Ray
      October 27, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Hoarding decreases the supply of money, thereby increasing the purchasing power (ratio of supply of goods of services to supply of money in an economy) of the remaining population, making everyone else better off.
      WAT.
      You’re basically saying people with less money to spend get things cheaper.
      In your universe, can I get an MSI GT70 Dragon 2 for $1? That’s because I’m not a billionaire.

      • Exfernal
        November 17, 2013 at 3:28 am

        Read again.

        Someone hoarding money (not resources, money) slightly increases the purchasing power of OTHERS’ money.

      • EvilOne
        November 24, 2013 at 3:36 am

        They get it cheaper now… but sooner or later the hoarder starts spending and they have less later.

    • Exfernal
      November 17, 2013 at 3:51 am

      Money flowing through the economy being the same as blood circulating the system is not a good metaphor. There is a distinction between circulation of matter (molecules of various compounds that your body is comprised of) and dissipation of chemical potential energy (energy that binds these compounds together) into heat (kinetic energy of random motion). Money does not “dissipate” on its own, so it does not reflect the flow of energy through your organism.

      • Exfernal
        November 17, 2013 at 4:09 am

        In other words, the majority of resources is perishable over time, while money isn’t. Being susceptible to inflation is not the same. Not a perfect equivalence.

        Risk aversion prompts to hoard for a possible “rainy tomorrow”. Heh, one needs constant supply of tangible resources to consume, even if being temporarily unable to gather them, yet one hoards money. A tangible asset? Not fiat money (basically, a shared illusion), even less so its more esoteric derivatives.

    • The Plague Doctor
      November 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

  4. The Plague Doctor
    October 27, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Hmmm… did you just censor my comment (which contained no hyperlinks) ? If so, I lost a lot of respect.

    Firstly, I don’t care.

    Secondly, it was important that links to my previous posts on that topic were included in my reply to your comment.

  5. webe
    October 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    The fifties were not that great either, with McCarthyism and headlines such as: “The Washing Machine will save France.”

    But you are right … the whole point of being rich is getting other people to do stuff for you, that is lording it over them. That is why it is so bogus when people try to explain that the objective is not to steal from the wealth creators but to uplift the rest of the populace who are lagging behind and still poor.

    Imagine everyone were rich … who could you get to carry your bags or clean up your house, or in fact do anything at all: there would be no point — you’d be back to doing everything yourself.

  6. October 29, 2013 at 12:38 am

    i dont really gett the hoarding of wealth. I get saving for a short term goal, or having a fuck off shitty job $$$, but money is to be enjoyed not hoarded like crazy, past the point of even usability. WHAT GOOD IS MONEY IF NOT CIRCULATED

  7. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda
    October 29, 2013 at 5:26 am

    pops3284 >>> i dont really gett the hoarding of wealth

    but you’re cool with people doing crazy, possibly-suidical things (‘jump from outer space to travel faster than the speed of sound”) just because they’re attention-whores?

  8. sth_txs
    October 30, 2013 at 3:44 am

    People are poorer because of too much government intervention in the economies. The worst part of it is the fiat money system followed by excessive taxation. In the US, almost anyone who makes $40k on up pays more in taxes before and after their check than they do to have a place to live.

    “Have you considered the possibility that the primary intention behind almost all “normal” human interpersonal interaction is to somehow con, swindle, abuse, hurt, maim or kill the other party?”

    So you will be commenting on the political systems that enable a wealthy elite to keep the rest of us less well off?

  9. Exfernal
    November 17, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Come on…

    How would you interpret this “equation”:
    time == money

    Time spent earning money (the quality X quantity of it) should AT LEAST balance with time spent on leisure activities demanding money (again, quality X quantity). Of course, not always the person earning is the same as the person enjoying the spoils, hence transfer of wealth. The more burdensome your working hours, the more enjoyable your leisure time, if you are to keep it up.

    The matter IS subjective, yet if you delve into neurophysiology and biochemistry of dopamine, certain trends would appear for everyone. Check “substantia nigra” and “habituation” at Wikipedia and “zoom in” from that. Arriving at any mechanistic explanation for “happiness treadmill” would give some surprising answers…

    • P Ray
      November 17, 2013 at 5:04 am

      The more burdensome your working hours, the more enjoyable your leisure time, if you are to keep it up.
      Gardeners and babysitters and construction workers don’t get paid enough to enjoy their leisure time, and many professions have had salary stagnation for some time already.
      How burdensome are the working hours of prostitutes anyway?
      P.S.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508366/Valerie-Baber-ex-prostitute-busted-Eliot-Spitzer-scandal-recalls-career.html
      Baber liked being a prostitute because she could make more in one hour than seven hours dancing as a stripper, one of her previous occupations.

      • Exfernal
        November 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

        The more burdensome your working hours, the more enjoyable your leisure time [needs to be], if you are to keep it up.

        A little omission on my part. Anyway, a self-employed escort does not seem to be a bad prospect, at least in the short term. Heh, what do I know, being a man definitely not able to pull the gigolo stunt.

        The other examples you have provided usually are jobs of the last resort. Do you know anyone enthusiastic to be a gardener or a construction worker? I’d add a farm-hand to the list.

      • EvilOne
        November 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm

        Rather average looking woman. Good body though. I had a girl who looked almost the same wanting to be my girlfriend in about 2003-ish.

  1. October 28, 2013 at 7:33 am
  2. November 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm
  3. March 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm
  4. June 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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