Small rant on politics and money, just to show my “core belief system” and the way I think of things. I’m someone that doesn’t really know anything about economics and therefore don’t really know what I’m talking about. Please tell me about stuff I have wildly wrong.
Money and spending
The way we should think about money on a national and government level is different to the way we think about money on an individual level. When money is spent, it does not disappear. It just changes hands. It can be spent again and again and again. Each time money is spent, “work” gets done (to some arbitrary definition of work).
GDP is a measure of the movement of money. Our economy is thought of as doing better when money moves around at a faster rate, and more stuff gets done.
Interestingly, if each money transfer is taxed, then government income is greatest when the economy is doing best and the most money moves around.
The more money someone has, the lower the proportion of it they tend to spend. Therefore money moves around faster when there is a more equal distribution of wealth.
I’m not convinced excessive government spending is actually bad. A thought of mine is that more borrowing means more inflation down the road, which redistributes wealth, which is actually a good thing.
Note: I’ve kind of made a blanket judgement of wealth as “amount of money”, and ignored assets completely. This may change things.
Ideology before economics
I believe that arguing about the economy can be used to justify just about anything. But I like to take money out of the equation completely in a little thought experiment. I like to ask do we have the resources to do amazing things in the country. These resources are things like food, raw materials, knowledge and people.
I believe that we need to put very little effort into doing things in order to have good fulfilling lives. We don’t need to put much effort into food production and I kind of wonder what the country really spends all its time doing. It’s not that I think people are lazy or that people should be pushed harder or anything – I just think that we don’t have much focus.
I think that if you had a load of keen dedicated and interested people working on scientific endeavours, we could do amazing things. I think we could work against ageing – by this I mean we could reduce the long decline that the elderly experience (and that takes up a lot of health care resources).
I think that we could build road systems whereby every car was electric and needed no driver (incidentally I think the best way to do this is to change the roads to make them easier for machines, rather than pursue driver-less cars as is currently being done).
I believe we could have basically unlimited free energy. I think we could have ready access to free education resources. I think we could do amazing futuristic things, if we had focus.
Certainly I think the basic challenges like food, shelter and security are very easy challenges in a differently designed system. I think it’s despicable that the current system leaves people that way. I think the current way politics and economics work is cruel.
Now I’m not saying that we can live without money, and I’m not saying that I know how to achieve this utopia. I just wish there were more people that thought about what was possible, and tried to design a system around it, and fewer people who look at the system and try to work out what’s possible around that.
Basically I like to look at the big picture first. I like to look at romantic ideologies first. The real world second.
p.s. related – I like this story: http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm
Back to reality
I tend to have rather extreme left wing attitudes when it comes to politics. I’m not really trying to convert anyone, I just want to show my thought processes. I know they’re quite far from reality sometimes.
But for what it’s worth this is what’s most important to me in the upcoming election – staying in the single market, and for this reason I’ve never wanted the Tories to lose as much as I do now.