What does this diagram mean?

A bit of business first. I’m not going to show you the diagram, but I have been sent a diagram. The illustrator is going to come up with their own diagram based on what I saw. You should be able to see that above. But this is a little bit ‘telephone’, if you follow. I’m talking about another diagram.

Anyway, here’s what the diagram means:

The world of politics revolves around the lies of money. It always comes back to the same thing. Worlds repeat, along with ideas, and we don’t move forward with lies and money.

The money thing is the heart of the matter. Right in the centre, surrounded by the bruised past of those that lead, and the resigned misery of the present, is a symbol for an imaginary currency. The centre of the circle, the holding pattern, is the imaginary value of growth and riches. The stabilising factor that holds us back.

I mean, I realise I come across as anti money, and this probably seems somewhat absurd. Why do I always hold money as the bad guy, damaging the world, when it’s clearly been driving progress and invention for hundreds of years. It seems a controversial view, and I can understand that. But I just can’t help but feel something wrong at the heart of it.

Money is an imaginary agreement. We assign arbitrary value to a useless (relatively) substance to make trading easier. Years ago, money had value, what you could melt down from it. Metals. Now money has intentionally less value smelted than at its face (though if you have coppers from before 1992 then you can actually extract more worth from than than they are worth, so to speak). The price is set by an infrastructure agreement of incredible complexity, and it is tied to the markets and trading mechanisms that have been making rich people richer for a very long time.

Money is a tool, it makes life easier.

But we don’t use it like that any more. Money has stopped being a process to make trading easier, it has become trading. Money has become the target. For everybody, from every level. Particularly up at the top, where it’s harder to see things that can’t be counted. Politics has become mostly economics, or rather, being a public relations firm for the wealthy. Trying to justify the absurdity of infinite growth, so that we think that the rich getting richer is what we all need.

And it doesn’t matter whose face is at the top of the heap. It doesn’t matter how bright eyed and bushy the opposition is, once it gets in, it becomes the status quo. Even now, our opposition has stopped challenging the big stuff, and focussed on the details.

That’s how arguments are won, but its also how the system never changes.

The circle is complete, and we the people, we the planet, are nowhere to be seen.

Illustration by Henry


About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Henry, Questions by Chris. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What does this diagram mean?

  1. I think there are a couple of issues here –

    Money and politics
    Money is important, because money represents a governments power to do things. Money equals lives, and people live or die on the way the government spends it.

    This is hard to get your head around, because in the individual cases it seems like there is always more money somewhere else, or some way of getting it by cutting wastage. This doesn’t work for the system as a whole, you can take in as much money as the people are prepared to pay for in taxes, and you can spend it as efficently as your legislators are able to.

    That you could get more out of the money by increasing money or being less wasteful is not something that you can overcome just by wishful thinking. Taking the system as a whole, money represents a finite ability to perform actions, and those actions are critical to peoples lives.

    So politicians do need to worry about money, and cold calculations about how they spend it, are absolutely better than emotive, knee jerk decisions.

    This is something that a lot of need to take on board, because if we want to change the system for the better, we often need to consider ways of increasing the efficency of spending, and that will lead us in directions that feel very wrong for many of us.

    Money and politicians
    From an outsider looking in, a lot of the US political problems stem from the ludicrous amounts of money required to run for politics, and the commitments that the politicians then must make to raise those funds. It’s pointless complaining about corruption without adressing this first.

    It’s like passing a law requiring all politicians to be mass murders and then complaining when they start killing people. The system itself is inherently corrupting, your politicians may have the best of intentions, but they have to sell their souls to get out of the starting box.

    • I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but I think the key point i’m trying to make is that money isn’t actually all those things. Money is a metaphor for its uses, and as such seems useful and foundational, but I’m just not sure that’s the whole story. There are alternatives, and the more things we talked about in terms other than money, cost and profit, the more options would become available.

      We need to grow the values we put into things other than money. There are other values, and they are, in themselves more important. Money only saves lives in as much as it allows people to do things. Currently its hard to escape that system of representation. But we should try.

      If we did that, it might even start to deal with the pollutive corruption of a political world that has been bent so out of shape it has forgotten that it should be building a better world, not a fatter elite. But even by my standards that’s optimistic.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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