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Posts Tagged “greed”

Do you ever stop to wonder at the astounding degree to which money and the machinery of its making, the economy, rules our lives? The economy is like electricity. Turn off the power and we stand around blinking as the world around us spins down to a stop. Turn off the economy and we become extra’s along The Road to post-holocaust oblivion. Even if you reckon you can ‘escape’ by going to live in a tree, can you really escape from the machinery of money? Are you sure??

The economy connects our dreams and desires to the dreams and desires of others. The world always seems to be shifting to a wobbly balance between those who create and those who take. Pollen makers and pollen takers. Together they sing the song of equilibrium! There’s an infrastructure to support the servicing of our birth. There’s an infrastructure to support when we go to school. There’s an infrastructure to support when we set up a business or get a job. And there’s a whole industry devoted to servicing our death. But it’s not as simple as that. We are each takers and givers at the self same time. Even if you are a bureaucrat on the public teat. Or a recluse living out your life on a self-sustaining farm. You need stuff, you give stuff. Stuff is shifted via the lubrication of money.

Sometimes this can get pretty oppressive. The economy’s also a bit like the atmosphere. Breath in, breath out. Turn off the economy and we run out of air. So, perhaps, it might be nice to head off with a backpack into the hills. But we are then just a battery off for a holiday. Eventually, we need to re-dock and recharge our way back into the Matrix of the economy. The experience lives on only as an asset of memory.

I was once an economist (fully paid up and qualified). So I am always intrigued with the cleverness with which the economy can seep into places you might have imagined as some kind of sanctuary. ‘The wilderness experience’. Big business these days. Water? You have no idea! Trees in a national park? Amenity, Option, Bequest and Market values can all be used to configure their place in the ecology of commerce. What’s the value of your life? Just ask your life insurance actuary for an estimate. What’s the value of a flower or of an hour beside the sea? No worries. There’s a Willingness to Pay measure to value their worth; the market places rations the experiences we seek to consume. The value of a view? The value of art. Easy to do, easy to tax. Fringe Benefits, Capital Gains; they will get their Take.

I must confess to being overwhelmed. Having just set up a new business, I was amazed at how quickly the economy of others started to oil slick its way into our pocket. Two days in business and the stand over men started to arrive. Solicitors and their craven kin wanting payoff for setting up our connections into the bureaucracy of Take. And then the local council caught the scent! Fees for daring to start something new. Fees for existing in their tin pot territorial turf. For what? It’s not as though they offer any known service that we could ever detect… Registration fees, name change fees, rates. Even the local power company wants a bucket of cash to simply register our name! Odious oiks on every side; flabby warty hands extending from every side. Fingers, fingers, everywhere. There’s a blood lust going on around here.

Is there any asset in which a person can invest that can be protected from the avarice of an economy on the take? Is there any asset in which we might invest that returns a dividend only in proportion to effort directly given? Is there any asset that can ever be totally ours! Tax free. Is there any asset that can not be directly converted into cash? That cannot be bought and sold? That’s safe even from the most devious of plans from that vulture-draped tree of local government? Is there any asset in which to invest that exists outside this economy?

Yes there is! There’s an asset of ultimate refuge from a world otherwise owned by greed and the culture of Take. It’s an asset accessible to just about anyone. It’s the one asset that, while operating in a state of perpetual undersupply and over demand, still remains immune to the economy! It’s the one asset just about everyone wants; but no one, even the super rich, can ever buy! Cash will not do the trick. Pretence will not do the trick. Aspirations without effort will go unmet. You can’t delegate it’s acquisition to someone else. It’s even beyond the purview of the quackery of pills! You can have it, but you can’t sell it. Even if you wanted to.

Serious cyclists know to what I refer. Serious runners, swimmers; athletes of any kind. It’s a simple thing. It’s ever so rare.

Fitness. Athletic prowess. Health. That’s my safehouse from the economy. Go on you odious little oiks from the mafia of local government. Go on you legal vultures; you on the take of the government teat. Just try and make me pay! Go you accountants, you who seek registrations for all the other details of my life. Just try to hitch a licence plate on this asset of mine. Shove your fringe benefit tax where it fits. Just try to tax this refuge of mine. It’s all mine! Go Mr business tycoon. Go Mr CEO man. Try to get what I have got through some kind of bypass with cash. Get out of here! It’s my safe house from the Global Economy of unhinged insatiable greed.

Cycling did it. Cycling does it well. Ride and ride some more; day in and day out. And on it comes. The more you do the better it gets. It’s a fragile thing. We have it only as long as we put the effort in. Freedom from wheezing up a hill. The forestalling of the ravages of age. Freedom from the noxious pretensions of the gym. Cycling does it, cycling is the key. I love this ticket to economic escape.


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