Reflections on Money
by Kianga Daverington
September 1, 2020
This essay, written by Kianga Daverington of Daverington PLLC , was originally published in January 2020. The piece as been condensed for clarity.
Money is not a physical object like a coin, a bar of gold or a dollar bill. Money is at its core, a technology. It is a human invention designed to solve a specific set of human problems. Consider money, perhaps, in a new way. Think of money as a system for capturing time.
Time is the one thing we each have that is absolutely finite. We are born, we die, and the dash in between is all the time we have.
Think of production. We can usually produce more of some good by adding people to a task (also known as “WORK”). But we are still constrained by time. Whatever we produce is still limited by the amount of humans that can be organized to go into that production. Each of us possesses a limited amount of time available to us individually, so we need to convince or coerce others to add their time to ours if we want to achieve more than we can alone.
Out of this imperative, nations are born.
The most important quality of any particular form of money is how well it preserves the value of time over time. Can you buy the same amount of stuff or more in the future than you can buy today? If yes, congratulations - your money is accumulating time for you and future generations while you relax on the beach. If it takes more and more of a unit of money to buy the same amount of time in the future, well then I’m sorry, but that unit of money is getting weaker and weaker. It’s losing value or said another way – it’s losing purchasing power. The longer you hold it, the less it buys.
In a way, by purchasing goods and services, you are purchasing time. Every product and every service requires time to make and time to deliver - your time and/or someone else’s. The price therefore reflects the collective value of all the time put in. Money is a way we exchange time and move it around from where it is valued less to where it is valued more.
This is where prosperity comes from. It comes out of how well a society, collectively and each person, spends its time. How much time is spent creating and making? How much time is spent consuming? If we make more than we consume, we have something left over called wealth. If we consume more than we make, we are left with debt. You can’t consume what you don’t have, unless someone extends credit. Where does this “credit” come from? Basically –it’s made up.
Too much credit or debt eventually collapses and everyone is mixed up in the collapse.
If we understand that a unit of money represents a unit of time, and we understand time is limited, then a unit in a system of money with unlimited supply cannot have any value. This is the problem we are facing today with the world’s money supply. The supply of money in the world is increasing exponentially as central banks create money by giving loans to national governments, which is where our money comes from.
Our entire world financial system is a powder keg of debt.
National currencies today are known as fiat money, a currency without intrinsic value that has been given its power to be used as money by a government that says it is money by regulation. Wikipedia says, “Fiat money does not have use value, and has value only because a government maintains its value, or because parties engaging in exchange agree on its value.” Well said, Wiki.
A government’s job of maintaining the value of its national money boils down to a confidence game. On what basis do the people who use that government’s money believe it has value?
What happens to the money and those who hold it when the foundation of that belief begins to crumble?
The Social Loner: Life After Special Forces
by Jeff Bosley
April 7, 2018
I’ve always been a walking dichotomy of a human. I’m a loner who often can’t do crowds. Ironically my current profession requires absurdly extensive crowd interaction. As an 18D (Special Forces Medical Sergeant) I relished the loner study time necessary to survive medical school. At the same time, I was great at the ODA (basic building block of Special Forces operational teams) camaraderie and lifestyle.
Prior to playing in Hollywood, after my Green Beret career, I was a firefighter. Not exactly a career thriving on solitude. The community we served was constantly around us. Bedside manner was a huge requisite in every shift. Crowds and social interaction a necessity.
Growing up I was kind of a social loner. Never part of a single group. I wasn’t a jock, a nerd or anything in between. I suppose I was a chameleon, but I likely couldn’t have ever truly labeled what I was in a society built on categorizations and labels.
I feel I have a unique perspective on the military and life after the military. I am what you could call a hybrid Vet. I didn’t join immediately out of high school; I lived a pretty substantial life prior to enlisting in the Army and joining SF (Special Forces). You see, I enlisted at nearly 30 years old. At that age my neural circuitry responsible for “executive functions” had virtually completely formed and matured. It was done learning. My wiring was pretty set. I wasn’t as impressionable as I was in high school. I can’t imagine going into SF at any younger age. Yes, my body would have been less damaged, but the rigors of my path within the military were better traveled with wisdom rather than an immature mind in an uninjured body.
This dualistic nature has provided me with a large-spanning empathy. I “get” the high school graduate who spent the majority of his developing years as an infantryman. I can converse with the college-educated military officer. I can hang with some of the most unique and elite operators the military has to offer. I can blend with Hollywood elite. I can transition from calm and poised dialogue to crass and crude hysterics at the flip of a switch. It truly makes it hard to know who I am and where I belong.
For the longest time, I just constantly assumed I wasn’t a deep person, per se. I figured I connected and related to so many people on so many levels that I must just not allow connection beyond the superficial and simplistic. Quantity over quality, as it were.
It wasn’t until recently when I began to re-interact with local and national Green Beret organizations that I realized what “it” was. I spent the second and third decade of my years developing, first, my life as a civilian. Then I continued through my 30s as a Green Beret. Then I went back to being a civilian, but a civilian who was a Green Beret. It was a surreal social experiment covering pretty much the most extremes of the social spectrum.
Now...despite that wide spanning social confusion, what is the ONE thing that is a constant understanding? What is the ONE thing that is a common denominator?
It doesn’t matter if I’m swearing and joking with another Green Beret, counseling an infantryman I’ve never met who is contemplating life-ending options, or if I’m laughing with a fellow firefighter who served as a cook in the Marines. We instantly bond. Some more than others, but that common ground, that shared experience cannot be explained, trivialized or substituted. I hate the cliché, but in regards to serving it is absolutely true, regarding ANY topic that breaches into the Veteran/Service member experience: If you didn’t serve, you won’t get it. It’s not a judgment on a pedestal from on high. It is a bond, an absolute understanding, that has zero comparable substitute.
This doesn’t mean we are all mindless and in constant agreement. That is the farthest from the truth. It is my experience that fellow Vets tolerate the extremes of opinions better than the Vet/civilian combinations I’ve witnessed. I can specifically recall the actions of a fellow Green Beret who partook in an activity (all good and legal; nebulous for protection of anonymity) that I vehemently detested. However, simply because we were of the same ilk, it forced me to calmly evaluate his good intentions. I have been able to support him and his intentions, just not the action specifically. It’s all good. It’s old school simple.
As we progress and digress as a culture and society, the bonding of like-minded individuals is getting more and more diluted daily. Whether the latest topic on this phenomenon is Junger’s ‘Tribe’ or some other study showing that social media has ironically made us less social...the camaraderie of serving one’s country defies the trend of modern, solo-living, cave-dwelling, silent, individuals. This trend is strong and pulls at me daily. However, one of the very few things that maintains and sustains my sense of tribal belonging: talking with another Green Beret, if only for a few minutes. That bond cannot be replaced, broken or sold. It is earned and it is forever.