Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Does the Liberation of Money Liberate?


Following an observation by my girlfriend about 'anarcho-capitalism', according to which she claimed that anarcho-capitalists want to liberate money, not people, and to which I replied that anarcho-capitalists would argue that the liberation of money leads to the liberation of people, an observation which could be applied to all agendas to liberate financial markets, such as in Thatcherism and in the philosophies of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek, an operative question that people on different sides of the political spectrum give different answers to is whether the liberation of money leads to the liberation of human beings or, to the contrary, leads to their enslavement?

In other words the million dollar question is: does the liberation of money, e.g. through a free market of monetary currencies or simply laissez-faire capitalism, liberate or enslave people?

I touched on this issue in my writing Position on the Money Issue but more from the angle of money as such. Is money a liberating force or an enslaving force? Surely it depends on whether you have it or not and whether in order to get it you need to sell your labour 24/7. As with almost all questions under the sun, the answer is context-sensitive.

Ditto, does money come to rule the minds of only 'unbalanced' individuals as someone I had a discussion with claimed, saying as he did that money was a neutral entity with no consciousness, or is it more that money, at bottom, only exists in consciousness and that we could perfectly function, if we were evolved and moral enough as a species, without it?

Does the answer to the question not also depend on how and why money is used and made, in keeping with the insight I've expressed before that the worthiness of any system, be it capitalism, socialism, voluntarism, or indeed, monarchy, democracy, anarchy depends entirely on its level of morality (France and the Collective, The Problem of Taxation - Importance of Morality)?

This is where looking at factual reality, how things manifest in practice, comes to take importance although of course, as I wrote recently, getting to grips with the facts themselves not to mention their interpretation is a matter of much contention owing to epistemological reasons of the limitations of knowledge acquisition (mentioned in The More You Know The Less You Think You Know and famously analysed by the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant and later epistemologists and scientific philosophers) as well to the diversity of people's life contexts and sensibilities (Knowledge and Sensibility) and the role played by such psychological phenomena as cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

All this to say, many I think are in error in feeling that such and such a thing, e.g. technology, socialism or government, is intrinsically immoral if they fail to grasp that a high level of morality in any system or activity is conducive to the common good as opposed to a high level of immorality - which is conducive to general suffering. 

People will be quick to point out that what constitutes morality is itself contentious and historically changing but, as I have said before (Freedom & Morality), victimless deeds or deeds where only 'society' is the victim as opposed to living, breathing human beings are not prima facie immoral because no tangible harm or violation of Natural Law has been manifested.

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