A reader who is a big believer in the gold standard thought my parable on money and gold was unrealistic.
As far as realistic goes oftentimes a teacher will create a situation to teach students about real life. Part of the parable is realistically similar to a learning situation I was in when I was a teenager. When I was in the Boy Scouts our scoutmaster came up with a grand scheme to teach us how to be self-sufficient. He took us to the river in Emmett, Idaho one morning with nothing but what was in our pockets and divided us into three groups of about four to five persons each. He then gave us our assignment. Starting from nothing but what we could find near the shore of the river each group was to build a raft and float it to Letha which was ten miles away. The first group to arrive would be the winner. The prize was dinner at his house. Believe me the reward was much more in the experience than the prize.
Just like in the parable we spent a short time trying to figure out what to do first, but it did not involve sitting around waiting for something to happen. First, we selected a leader and secondly, we put our heads together for a short time to figure out a strategy. We noticed some in the other two groups greedily gathering logs and wood so we decided the first order was to secure materials as soon as possible before the good stuff was all taken.
As we moved along it seemed that one of the other groups was ahead of us and some in our group voiced concern. I told our group that their hastily put together raft looked like it would fall apart. We were going to float ten miles in a pretty rough river and there is good chance that the winner will be the raft that does nothing more than hold together. We should make a secure raft even if it causes us to be the last to take off.
I said this partially in concern for my own safety for I wasn’t a good swimmer and my life would have been at considerable risk if the raft fell apart in the middle of the raging river.
The group thought that this was sound advice and we concentrated on creating a stable raft more than being the first to begin the journey.
Using our ingenuity, we put together an amazingly secure raft from raw materials and, as anticipated, we were the last to take off.
About a mile into the journey we came across the first group holding on to logs left over from their raft which had broken apart. They were either on shore or near to the shore and were definitely out of the race. We were glad they all seemed OK and waved to them as we happily passed by.
Then another mile into the race we came across the second raft which was constructed better, but not as sound as ours. The raft was stalled in some muddy marshland and the group were all out of the raft in the water trying to push it back into the main stream and patch it up.
We laughed at them and waved as we passed by. But then we had a similar problem up river and they passed us by. For the next five miles or so we were neck and neck. One was ahead and then the other.
The finish line was a large bridge that spanned the river and as we neared it we pulled ahead, but then we realized we faced a new danger. We were going a good clip as we were headed for the large concrete pillars. It took all our effort to miss them and steer ourselves safely to shore. Our scoutmaster greeted us with congratulations.
Then the second raft showed up, but they had difficulty in steering it and they realized they couldn’t navigate it away from one of the large pillars. Everyone jumped ship and swam to shore as their raft hit the pillar and broke into a hundred pieces.
We were glad they were all good swimmers and made it to shore safely. I was especially glad that I was not on that raft for I don’t think I could have made it.
It is true that this story does not exactly correspond to the parable but it does make several points.
If I wrote this as a parable some may say that this story is unrealistic as teenage kids could not just find raw materials by a river and build two rafts that could make it ten miles before sundown. Furthermore, it is unrealistic that a scoutmaster would allow the kids to be in such a perilous situation and with no life preservers.
Both the parable and my real-life experience has the students starting with nothing but the materials provided by nature. In that situation we realized that the only thing we had of real value was our wits and our labor. Gold, silver or regular money was meaningless as we realized where the real value was in accomplishing our goal.
Just as our scoutmaster set up a situation to teach us self-sufficiency another teacher could come up a situation to teach the principles of money. True, the 144,000 in the parable was an unrealistic number for a class but 144 would be possible.
Another point is that the situation in a parable does not have to be something that is likely to happen in real life to use it as a correspondence for teaching a principle. Some of the parables of Jesus were situations that were unlikely to happen, yet the correspondence was true and the point was made.
Now for a short term project like building a raft for a race we did not need a long term motivator. We had the prize offered and the glory of the win. In building a city (as in the parable) with a large group money would be required as a long-term motivator and it is realistic that the two groups would come up with two different methods of creating it.
If in real life we are talking about building a city and have come up with two different methods of creating money. Perhaps the parable is not so unrealistic after all.
The reader says she is open to an asset-based money system but cannot see how it could work.
I have some interesting ideas that when put to paper I think will meet your criteria with much greater potential for stability than anything done before.
Just like the Molecular Relationship is easier to visualize when you have a whole book to explain it instead of getting pieces here and there even so will my economic ideas make much more sense when fully presented.
I see nothing wrong with your comments on centralization and problems therefrom. As I see it the main problem with any organization is the flow of beastly authority from the top down with little or nothing from the bottom up. When the flow is two ways then the organization can get as large as it wants and still work. The case in point is the Spiritual Hierarchy which has centralized authority, but gets feedback from the bottom up as in the Molecular Relationship.
She then asks if it is truly realistic to base a money system as on one average hour of labor being equal to twenty dollars.
Actually you could start with any amount as a basis for a new dollar. The group could say a new dollar equals 1, 10 or 100 of the old ones. The problem is that it needs tied to something to create a stable currency.
In the past it has been tied to gold but even this most stable of metals has fluctuated in purchasing power as much as 100 percent within a year or two. An hour’s labor fluctuates less rapidly than any other thing. As technology increases it will gradually go up in value and rarely down.
The set value of a dollar equaling the average worth of an hour’s labor would be seen as a goal to constantly work toward by stimulating the money supply plus the creation and consumption of products.
I was presenting a story (The Mystery of Inflation) illustrating how things work today rather than how they will work tomorrow. It’s important that people understand our current problems so they can support a future solution. I have never intended to give the impression that the way money is managed today is the solution to our money problems. On the contrary, it has created a problem that needs fixing.
Nature Shows That It’s Better to Bend Than to Break An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength. When a strong wind came up, the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind. But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots. —Aesop
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March 8, 2008
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