FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Time Is Not Money, and Cash Doesn’t Talk

by

The expression “Time is money” was coined by Benjamin Franklin. It is a relatively new saying, among countless others, that represents the rot that started to eat at the core of our global social edifice during the industrial revolution. With the exchange of clock hours for money began the notion of time as being an entity independent of any natural phenomenon. Such a concept is still absent from some cultures like that of the Amondawa, a rare Amazonian tribe that had the luck to remain isolated from modernity. Of course, the Amondawa understand the idea of meeting somebody at sunset, or tomorrow, but time as something with a value per hour that may be traded for goods and services is unknown to them.

Once the capitalist equation “time = money” kicked in as a social golden rule, life progressively turned into death on an installment plan. For thousands of years before this, human societies, independently of their locations, closely followed the rhythms of nature with immense respect. One did not clock in, but one was aware of the sunrise, sunset, and phase of the moon. The seasons guided the kind of work to be done, and factors such as the tides, atmospheric conditions, actions of other living things, determined the day’s agenda. This delicate harmony with our natural world has been put in jeopardy by the arrogance and stupidity of our anthropocentric tunnel vision: the notion that the Earth and its other inhabitants exist to serve us. The idea of putting a price tag on nature’s services, for example, based on the time that is saved by humans, is an insane concept that belongs distinctly to our age. We have lost our compass. Global capitalism has uprooted us and time from nature to make of us slaves who chase after immortality in the form of money: a morbid illusion.

Money is the ultimate addiction. If alcoholics and drug addicts can seek help and are often obliged to do so by the courts, the addicts to money accumulation are revered and put on a pedestal. For global capitalism, only “money talks,” and it does so with the astounding power of a giant bullhorn. The likes of Warren Buffet and George Soros are the deus ex-machina of the money worshipers. These two titans of global investment are regarded as geniuses, yet their only talent is to make money with money. Do they produce tangible goods and services? No. Do they genuinely dedicate their energies to the improvement of the overall human condition? No.

In fact, the super-rich are those who raise the disease of miserliness to a high art. In his book The Art of Being, published posthumously to avoid misunderstandings, psychologist Erich Fromm introduced the notion of the rich miser and described this pathology in its details. A notorious example was the automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, who is reputed to have worn each pair of his socks continuously until they were so tattered, they could no longer be mended. Overall, rich misers, despite their sometimes impressive demonstrations of philanthropy as an image for public consumption, suffer from an inability to let go of things such as their energies, thoughts, words, and quite commonly their semen and stools. Yet they, with their impotence and constipation, successfully manage to persuade countless disciples that nothing is valuable if it is not expensively bought or sold.

By the above analysis, dear reader, this article is of no value because you did not buy it in a glossy magazine. More insidious than this, the values of rich misers are continually imposed on the world through the adoption of parameters such as GDP growth, which measures the increased flow of money through an economy, as being the definition of wealth.  Thus real wealth becomes confused with money, and as people get more alienated from each other and the natural world, they become defined by what they have rather than what they are. Any society may be viewed as being terminally ill when money assets come to define the value of a person.

While those few who hold vast sums of money may be heard through countless channels and leverage their influence on public discourse into power, the vast majority of humans scramble for survival and go unheard. Currently the mega-rich and their banks such as the IMF and World Bank casually impose their diktats on individuals and nations alike. Cyprus has caved in; soon it will be Egypt, which is on the verge of insolvency. Where political power runs amok in its permanent quest for profit, extreme money concentration induces a systemic disaster. Those who do the bidding for the rich race like rats spinning in a wheel who are bent on powering the implement for their destruction. “I can’t quit the rat race, because I have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay,” they say. But this is a cop out, and the rat race is relayed from one generation to the next. As this complex game of chess between rich and poor is played out, pawns, king and queen risk winding up in the same box.

The Cree Indian proverb “When the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, we will realize that we cannot eat money” provides a wiser perspective on the grim reality that widespread greed is creating for us. This Cree scenario of doom will be on our horizon probably within two decades, partly because those of us who say that we wish to “Save the Planet” are as arrogant as those who are bent on destroying the environment for their short-term gains. The planet has seen several mass extinctions; new species will spring up, quite without us. Realistically put, our goal at best is to save human kind from becoming an index species: the sort that enjoys tremendous success, but over such a brief period that its fossils ultimately serve to mark a geological era. To save ourselves, we must understand with a devoutness stronger than for any organized religion, that we exist at the pleasure of the other living beings on Earth. We must appreciate that we subsist, not because of our cleverness as an isolated species but our membership in a delicately-balanced living ensemble.

Dady Chery is the co-Editor in Chief at News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post.

 

Dady Chery is the Editor of Haiti Chery and the co-Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post. This article was originally published in Haiti Chery. 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail