Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]