Thinking about money, society and the world in a crisis

warning! this thought is in no way representative of how I think! ;D (it's emotion ladden thoughtspew)

When there's a pandemic like Covid-19, it feels like it only reveals how we (as a whole; as humans) really think about each other.

That if a country "collapses" due to a crisis like this, it's symptomatic of a more or less broken system that kinda "had it coming".

I almost feel like if a mass of people were educated on the matter (and I feel like most people should have been given ample information through various channels & mediums, scientific & unbiased), then we _should_ in theory be able to _avoid_ touching each other for 14 days! (it seems like such a small ask...). If our societies, cultures, and lifestyles / way of behaving isn't capable of handling 14 days of social distancing, or if it's _so_ inflexible that it can't be modified to get to such a state where it can... Then isn't this a red flag in terms of how "functional" said society _really_ was to begin with? (what does _functional_ even mean in terms of a society?)

It's funny, since you might be tempted to think that a society of individuals would be "greater than the sum of its parts" in many ways (and I would say that in many ways it _is_, like production & specialization). But then you would think that since a 'smart individual' capable of say... reading this text, should have ample capacity to understand the effects of eg. social distancing on a pandemic. It's either that people _don't_ care (and that's a fair & valid stance), or that they don't understand (which seems really unlikely given what I hear about countries reported literacy rates...). So is it just that we don't _care_?

In some ways a pandemic also feels a lot like a union. It forces a bunch of people (whom are workers) to enter a non-working state, and it's non-negotiable (perhaps a bit less negotiable than any formal union). What happens seems fairly predictable, if people don't get food & other necessities (aka, they can't afford food & rent), they'll be highly motivated in any way they can (due to a will to live & inherent demand for wellbeing) to find alternative ways of obtaining said necessities... So it seem's like every government pretty much prints out money en masse to give out what's essentially welfare / UBI just to prevent people from starting some sort of "revolution / anarchy", or some form of "societal / economical collapse". When you become sick, you automatically enter the "covid-19 union".

Salaries are strange, and engineered. They're supposed to settle on what's "fair" at market rate for an exchange rate between a numerical value and units of work of a specific type (with minor deviations all over the board). But salaries also feel inherently very "selfish", it's the money an individual gets, you can't help but get defensive about it. Taxes are the "unselfish" part.

When you "create jobs" you're no longer bound by a "salary", you instead convince others to give you a cut of theirs. If you create enough of these jobs, you'll end up getting a _lot_ of fractional salaries that add up to a fairly large amount. Now it seems to become a strange "equation" since money isn't _just_ a number. We also use it as a proxy for a sort of "social IOU", if you have a lot of money, then the logic we all follow is that "everyone (who takes part in the money myth, which is very hard not to do since others will give you pretty much whatever you want for it, including things that you yourself value!) now OWES you a small amount each", you can "cash in" the social IOU in any way you want though, which seems strange at the surface, since usually (in a sort of innate biological sense) we don't spread out "owing" this way. And it seems strange that _somebody else_ can pay someone back as a proxy for myself (assuming that what I _did_ pay back the third party was of equivalent value or greater in some market or another). It's quick to feel like there's an inequality at work, that if you look at any single transaction, it almost tends to look more like _modern slavery_ than the _returning of a favor_... Part of me feels like inevitable loopholes in such a system however _should_ be treated just as gravely as _actual slavery_ in that case. So... I suppose that means, _actual_ wealth earned is all well and good, society now owes you a lot (in effect the collective "acknowledges" your work as "good"). But if you managed to get that wealth through a loophole, or in some way seem to someone as "not having earned it", you're in effect "enslaving us all". Which must appeal greatly to some people without a conscience (antisocial behaviour / those without empathy... "psychopaths", or those who fetishize power... which might come more naturally to a human than one might think... we should not exempt ourselves too easily, for we are as much creatures of habit as instinctually kind.).

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to perfectly ensure that a worker got delivered equity / ownership in the business they build that was adjusted perfectly to the amount of impact they had on the business? If such a measure was easy to make ("the impact a unit of work had on the market value of a business (not book value!)"). This metric & way of dealing out ownership would quickly become the dominant way of doing things. Since those who feel shorthanded would be able to simply run the formula and see that their compensation was less than the impact they had!

We try to do this manually through performance reviews, promotions, interviews, visible labor... etc. It's plainly imperfect, it has winners and losers. Those who are sociable, likeable, extroverted, and deceptive are the winners. Whereas those who are not are the losers.

I hear a lot of "don't work hard, work smart!" being thrown around. In a sense this is encouraging entrepreneurship (at least, this seems like a fair interpretation). And i'll consider the "work hard" part of that statement as labor. (so ie. two of the four factors of production) That if you're in a position where you can combine knowledge, land, and labor together in such a way that you end up producing something worth more than the cost of its production, you're well on the way to reaping large profits (and strangely enough you own this profit). Is it a sustainable idea though? Can everyone do it? (the thought experiment here does of course assume that everyone is capable of "working smart" ). Is it a flawed idea? Most people currently don't opt for "working smart" it would seem. If we count salaried workers (that are not paid in equity) as "hard workers", then that would mean most of us choose "hard" over "smart" here. Perhaps it's better to use the word "risky", since surely entrepreneurs take a lot of risk? (the endeavour could fail! and most "novel idea employers" (startups) do fail. I've heard figures as high as 90%!... no source though... but I'll believe there's inherent risk in going into any market). Should we all work in startups? Is that the road to getting us all into "smart/risky work"? Perhaps! The world (we) is not fair in the sense that it cares about the work that goes into creating a product. It only sees the final product. If you spent hours of your life that's fine and all, but it's all in what you have to show for it. (Aside: this is also why marketing is so very important).

It seems as though there's often an inequality of information at work in any hiring processes. If you have no good options, you're in effect forced to take the lesser evil. And i fear that an industry might not see workers as humans, but as cheap labor.

Ownership is weird

Isn't it a bit weird that we consider owning land a good thing, but scoff at "materialism"? (at least some of us do). I don't want to say that materialism (being preoccupied with material goods) is per se "bad", as there can be a lot of convenience & utility gained from purchasing various materials, but I agree that it's right to be mindful of what we consume! Should the same sentiment be extended to land, labor, and entrepreneurship, and maybe even... capital?. Ownership is a very deep rooted concept. It along with many other things are "made up" by those that believe in it. Certain resources hold clear "advantage" in their possession and use. And differences in opinion about the directed use of said resources lead to conflict & the concept of "ownership".