Friday, August 29, 2014

What other people want

To me the best thing about figuring out money is making it all so obvious there is no area of misunderstanding, especially as to why to have it or how not to be silly to not want a lot of it. And yeah that goes back to how I was raised where I have this silly embarrassment at not wanting to get rich, as if not wanting means there's something wrong with me.

But defining money helps me to see it's a lot about providing something that other people want.

Earning money involves a process: First you need to figure out what they want. Let them know you can give it. They have to then let you know they want it. Then you need to figure out some kind of contract between parties. There has to be a buying decision where they agree to the contract, which is often unwritten, but may not be. If it's written you both have to sign it. And then you deliver the desired product or service in a timely manner. And get paid. Or you may get all or some payment upfront before delivery.

There are plenty of things where I'm not the slightest bit interested in that entire process. And lots of things I like to do just because they're fun.

It's like how I'll give free advice to companies and don't like giving advice to a human being. I prefer mega-corporations or huge business sectors so I don't take it too seriously. I figure that way if someone actually listens to me then I don't have to feel guilty if it doesn't work out.

But another human? I'd be too worried about telling something wrong. What if you screw up a life? Don't need that kind of responsibility. Hard enough taking care of my own.

Doing things because other people want you to do those things is a service. And I think providing services on-demand is often a great asset to the social reality. I know there are plenty of services I like and need. Like, going to the grocery store. It's nice for it to be there. And great for there to be people there ready to help you, and take your money when you buy things you need like food. I've worked in grocery stores before so been one of those people.

It is a bit strange to think though that across the board where ever there is an exchange of money for products or services it's really all the same essential thing.

Businesses try to find out what people want, and they don't just give it to you. They try to get transactions, where there is a buying decision made. Where it's agreed to ahead of time that you will get something, and then give some amount of money in return.

Transactions fascinate me in the abstract. I'm still studying the concept.

Regardless, some people have an innate adeptness at working to create transactions where they supply what people want in exchange for money. Money is actually a symbol of a debt to be repaid which is weird. From the idea perspective, money is not actually the debt paid--though many see it that way--but a promise from society that you will get something for your effort.

Money has no meaning without a society to support it.

It is an IOU from your community, whether that's local or global.

And your community doesn't have to recognize it. Money represents debts owed between parties recognized by society because that facilitates its own needs. Otherwise it can simply direct you back to that party to have the service debt repaid.

Like imagine you work all day on some hard and dirty job for someone and they pay you $500 US for your hard days work. That money does not actually give you an immediate return on all that effort but is a promise of a return later from your society. Now let's say as you walk out the door with that money in hand, society collapses, and all your money is suddenly worthless.

To some it might seem that's it. Your efforts just were for nothing. But actually that person you just did something for, can shrug and hand you something else, or come work for you for a bit to pay you back.

You see, it really is about two parties. Money is just an abstraction. The reality is people doing things for each other. Society facilitates that for its own needs.

Your community does not have to recognize money if it so chose, but thankfully it usually does! Or our social world could not exist in its current form.

So much can get lost in the abstraction of money which is why it's worth it to figure out what it actually is, and then maybe figure out what you can do for others.

And what you think you should have in return.

James Harris
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