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Life Inc. Dispatch 03: Money as Debt

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Life Inc. Dispatch 03: MONEY AS DEBT People forget that the stuff we call "money" is really just "a" money. It is not "money", it is a kind of money with very particular biases. The money that we use was invented during the Renaissance. It is called "centralized currency" and it used to exist alongside many other kinds of money: local currencies, alternative currencies, ... People used to work on a farm, get their grain, bring it to a grain store, and they'd get a receipt for the grain that they brought in. And that receipt was the money that they would use. They would bring their receipt to the chicken farmer and get a chicken, or to the shoe guy and get some shoes. This was money that was literally earned, it was worked into existence, and there was as much money as there was crop. There was as much money as there was stuff that people made. It could be as abundant as the real world. The problem with this money was that people were getting rich while kings and other rich people were starting to get poor. It didn't work for them, so they invented this other kind of money: centralized currency, which instead of being "earned into existence" was "lend into existence". So now to get a centralized currency you had to borrow it from the central bank, you had to borrow coin of the realm, and once they made all the other moneys illegal, they turned anyone who used money into a debtor, into someone who now owed. So when you walk around with money in your wallet, look at that money for a minute and think about it! This is not "bounty"! This is "reserve"! This is "debt"! This is actually something you owe more than it is something you have.

Video Details

Duration: 1 minute and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Douglas Rushkoff
Views: 216
Posted by: julius on Sep 9, 2010

Douglas Rushkoff is the author of ten books on media, technology, and society, including Cyberia, Media Virus, Coercion, Nothing Sacred, Get Back in the Box, and the novel Ecstasy Club. He made the PBS Frontline documentaries Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders, and the upcoming Digital Nation. He is the host of the WFMU radio show The MediaSquat, and he will be teaching the New School University this Fall.

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