Time's running out for humanity. Time-wasting problems explode while time-saving institutions implode. We need new paradigms. Politicians' quick fixes have made us economic junkies addicted to expensive political freebies. As habitual politicians can no longer provide current--let alone larger--doses of tax panaceas, the delirium tremors of civil upheaval shake more intensely, widely and frequently.
Dark ages confront us: L.A. economic riots, Long Island commuter murders, Oklahoma City building bombings and Tokyo gassing. The lab of terror? Insane employment. We are either overworked or underemployed. Either way, we are equally overworried and overstressed.
Like cars straining in fourth gear, our civilization struggles to move forward. Body parts blasting skyward symbolize our exploding civil engine. For a smoother, safer ride, civilization needs overdrive. Is overdrive more taxes and litigation for the employment problems? Or, is it sharing the work?
With a new, better understanding of democracy, inflation, employment, capitalism and currency, this shift can occur quickly using exiting telecommunications. This understanding springs from re-uniting these problem-plagued cousins with their common ancestor, time.
Democracy: On the Ballot and the Job
If you trace the origins of democracy, before there was public, policy-making democracy, there was private, workplace democracy. Literally and archaically, before people needed democracy as groups they had it as individuals tending their isolated fields and flocks. They were divided (demos) to rule (cratia) on the problems in their lives.
Literally, democracy means divisioning of people to rule or work. Democracy, as a public policy-making process, arose by and from people pragmatically divisioning themselves to rule on how they could work together. They learned if they did not work together then they would incur the losses of theft and warfare.
People opted for policy-making democracy to encode optimal divisioning of work for a safer, saner world. The alternative was losses from rule-of-the-jungle and eye-for-an-eye justice. Public democracy evolved to encode and protect its heritage, workplace democracy.
* * *
Some might not accept this interpretation of democracy. This view reflects democracy's development in Ancient Greece and Republican Rome. It reflects how democracy in public policy-making arose to legalize the best logic for people working together. It is not for naught that both logic and legal come from the same Latin root, legein, which stands for "to gather", the most primitive form of work and social organization: people gathering food to survive. An early food source, still extant, has the same semantic roots as logic and legal: legumes. With democracy as the public policy-making process(1), people optimize their work efforts to have the highest standard of living and best quality of life.
Which would you rather have? Democracy on the ballot or on the job? Many public problems would not exist if we solved the job crisis, here and abroad. For myself and my world, I prefer workplace democracy. Ask any deprived minority that has been enfranchised with the right to vote but not the right to work, e.g., African-Americans (1863) and Eastern Europeans (1990's). For the benefits of democracy--fewer problems--we need divisioning of people for both voting and working.
What does time have to do with democracy? You have 24 hours in your day. With democracy, you will have more goods and services to show for lifehours. Democracy solves problems that waste our time. This time can be translated into more goods and services including more leisure time. Without democracy on the job and ballot, we suffer underemployment, crime, violence, stress, inflation and war--little to show for your 24 lifehours ... little leisure time.
Which suffering is worse: Employment with 1% inflation, or, unemployment with no inflation? The first suffering gradually erodes the value of your time. The second suffering totally destroys the value of your time. Unemployment is the worse case of underemployment. Your time is rewarded less than it would be in a better economic system.
Underemployment is a better concept than unemployment. The latter is the worse case of the former. Underemployment is more frequently a problem than unemployment. Fighting inflation with unemployment ends up being underemployment as desperate people take any job to have some income. Unemployment figures do not reflect employment problems. Underemployment statistics are not computed.
Both inflation and underemployment cheapen human time. What happens when the Federal Reserve System raises interest rates to fight inflation with unemployment? It merely exchanges one form of cheapening for another--gradual time cheapening of all for total cheapening of some.
Necronomists (bad economists with theories that are killing us) mismanage human resources, for they emphasize symbols of worktime rather than substance of worktime. The symbols of capital--how people use their heads (caput)--are stocks, bonds, currency and realty. They fail to appreciate how "currency" derives from "I'll pay you what your time is currently worth." Ignorantly, they reduce the average workweek when they kindle unemployment with higher interest rates to extinguish inflation. Beware the habitual politician or necronomist who uses unemployment to cure inflation.
What does inflation and unemployment have to do with time? Both cheapen your lifehours, current or past.
Capitalism versus Decapitalism *
Capitalism has a bad rap. People wrongly blame it for humanity's troubles. Capitalism is not bad or greedy.(2) Greedy, bad people have laid claim to capitalism. A more apt word describes how immoral, unprincipled people abuse the symbols of capitalism: decapitalism.
If you own a gun, does it make you a murderer or protector? It depends on what you do with the gun. Similarly, if you own the symbols of capital (stocks, bonds, currency and property), does it make you a capitalist? Depends. If you breakup companies and cause unemployment then you decapitalize production and decapitate employment. You are not a capitalist; you are a decapitalist.
What does time have to do with capitalism? Consider the literal meaning of capital, from the head. Ideal capitalism motivates and rewards people to productively use their heads. A lifehour* of labor from a capitalist produces more goods and services--time-saving products--than the acts of a decapitalist who causes time-destroying problems.
Capitalism creates time like a Creator. Decapitalism debases lifehours as a devil destroys goodness.
Currency: What Is Our Time Currently Worth
The currency chaos and derivative debacles indicate how a basic civil institution suffers decline. Currency is the common intermediate product by which producers exchange their goods and services, that is, their time at work. Instability insipidly destroys production of goods and services.
Among the qualities of a good currency are stability, ease of use and low cost. Most importantly, a currency reflects, in all semantic honesty, the origin of the word itself, "I'll pay you what your time is currently worth." A good currency does not allow people to be overpaid for the value of their time. Overpayment creates the axiomatic injustice of others being underpaid.
What does time have to do with currency? The above sentiments are captured in the more mundane cliche, "Time is money." Currency and capitalism are intimately related.* Ideal capitalism and currency can occur at the timeclock of a universal payroll system--Touch-Tone Manager, as described later.
Profit: Pro Esse
Some say profits should be market determined. I say, with semantic honesty, one can quantify profits based on the literal meaning of the word, pro esse, that is, forward being. A profit exists in a transaction when all the participants go forward. The most profitable transactions occur when the buyer and seller go forward equally.
A thief does not have a profit, for the victim regresses to a lesser state of being. Most Wall Street stock transactions do not have profits, for their impact is to decapitalize rather than capitalize production. Profit-taking rarely occurs on Wall Street.
A government tolerating unprofitable transactions among its citizens will reflect the sum of the actions it condones or encodes. Unfortunately, government is a reflection of politicians who selfishly sell laws to the highest bidder regardless of the impact on the government. All too often, politicians create the angry underpaid masses when they use the public law process to legitimize private laws: economic privileges.
What does time have to do with profits? After a profitable transaction, the participants will have more goods and services which can be quantified in currency. Additional products (goods, services or common intermediates) represent more time. Time you don't have to work. An unprofitable transaction means regression, additional work to bring you back to the state of being before the transaction.
Re-Defining or Re-Discovering?
The above definitions of democracy, capitalism, currency and profits are not the most common understandings of these concepts. My pursuit of original, literal meanings or interpretations is to build a framework for change based on these concepts' commonalities. What parts emphasize the potential for good rather than bad. Winston Churchill said democracy is a terrible form of government ... but better than the rest. The same can be said of capitalism as an economic system.
By finding common existential roots of these widely accepted concepts--creating and managing time for humanity--I think we can benefit from better democracy and capitalism. We can have more currency--time. We can profit.
If I am right, then many enemies of capitalism and democracy will see that capitalism is not bad. Rather, decapitalism counterproductively uses the symbols of capital to destroy businesses, communities, jobs, families and individuals. Efforts to end capitalism helps the decapitalists.
Warning: Not in My Lifetime
Many tell me that I will not see employment reform. Among the reasons are greed, fear and apathy. The most interesting persons tell me that they are intelligent enough to understand the ingenuity of my universal, simplified problem-solving system but doubt that others are so bright. Thus said, they proceed to say they cannot actively support an engine of change that lacks sufficient engineers to start moving down the tracks. Some resent my mode of bitter writing--sort of like refusing medicine because it tastes bad. Regardless of the hesitations, the impediments will break under the weight of collapsing, problem-solving institutions. Increasing numbers of suffering underemployed people will reflect on what went wrong and how to change things.
A better world. Fewer problems. How? Better problem-solving systems by re-defining democracy, inflation, capitalism, currency and time.
1. Democracy has many meanings. Historically and repeatedly, dictators usurped it. Herein, it describes a public policy-making process whereby a population is ideally divisioned into sub-groupings and frequency to solve problems (as elaborated in later chapters).
2. Contrary to what Michael Douglas, aka, El Grekko said in the movie "Wall Street," greed is not good. Greed, if one is semantically honest, means to take. Wealth acquired by taking is not good. On the other hand, Capitalism is good, is not bad if one is semantically honest. Michael Douglas engaged in semantic slippage to give a bad action a pleasant covering like a sheep skin on a wolf.
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