Is all money just a ponzi scheme? | Vicki Robin

We all know: it’s like everything from “Money
is status,” “Money is power,” “Money is sex appeal.” I just read that “The more beautiful the
woman the bigger the diamond and the uglier the man who gave it to her,” you know, so
it’s—why is that? That has nothing to do with the daily transactions! That is something emotional. That’s how the man believes he’s going
to feel with a beautiful wife, how the woman feels when she’s got an expensive rock on
her hand. These are all feelings, they’re status,
like, “I made it,” proving yourself to your third grade teacher or your nemesis in
high school or your parents. There’s so many ways in which we project
onto money the ability to not only make us happy but to make us “better” or better
than other people or safe, or—so many deep gut level emotional feelings are playing themselves
out in our relationship with money. And, you know, fine. I’m not saying it shouldn’t happen. “We will all be very conscious and we will
not have any emotions in our relationship with money.” I’m not saying that. I’m just saying the more aware you are of
what you’re projecting onto money in terms of meeting emotional and psychological and
even spiritual needs the clearer you’re going to be in those daily transactions. In fact that’s part of why once you start
to become conscious of money and stuff in your life this way, you stop spending so much
money. But around that is another level: there is
the cultural narrative, the rules of the game of our economy, of the financial system which
in so many ways governs not just our daily lives but who wins and who loses, who has
power and who does not have power, who gets to say what the game is, who gets to play
by the rules and break the rules. I mean this is a cultural context. It has nothing to do particularly with what’s
going on in our individual traumas and histories, it has to do with a longer historical moment
in time, and the basic meme of the financial system is growth. I mean it’s really—in a way it’s sort
of a very long-con Ponzi scheme, because it has to keep growing in order to keep meeting
its obligations. Money is produced—I mean the actual pieces
of paper and metal, the credit that you have isn’t just like you go to a job and somebody
gives you some pieces of paper, it’s—money is loaned into being by banks. Banks have the authorization to create money
but it’s not like they have to have $1,000 in the vault in order to lend you $1,000. No, they have to have $100 in the vault to
lend you $1,000, and then they lend you the $1,000 with interest. So in the world of money everything has to
grow. Everything has to keep growing or it’s Game
Over, which is a difficulty for us now because of the capacity of the planet to support this
ideology. So that’s that construct of money, which
is fascinating. People study economics and financial systems
were mesmerized by how people have played this system to the detriment of many people
except for themselves. And then but what we say is that outside of
that whole thing, those are all stories. What we actually know for sure as individual
human beings we know that we have a body, that we know that we’re alive, and that
we invest some of the minutes of our lives, some of the vital force of our lives in a
process that produces money for us. However it produces it, whether it’s a job,
whether it’s investments, whether it’s dog sitting, whatever it is whether it’s
stealing the Topkapi diamond. It’s like whatever it is, we invest some
of our precious life energy in this thing called getting money. So money for us is your life energy. The value of money to you is how much of “you”
you invested in getting it. And once you understand that, once you understand
that money is something that’s abstract and seems unlimited, like, “if I go into
debt it doesn’t matter, I’ll just keep having jobs and I’ll keep paying it off.” I mean it’s just an endless sort of stumbling
process. But you understand that your life is limited,
you know. We’ve got—I’m going to say 85 years
on the planet because now I’m 73 so I don’t say 75 anymore. So we’ve got a certain limited time on the
planet. We’re going to spend a third of it sleeping. We’re going to spend another third of it
commuting and showering and sitting at a desk and doing somebody else’s bidding. That’s not a lot of life. So you think, I’ve got a third, I have a
third of my waking hours, are mine to do whatever I want. Who am I? So it’s like it then sends it into an existential
question. Who am I? What do I care about? What do I want my little dent in time or scratch
in eternity to be? What do I want the impact of my actions to
be? What do I want to learn? What do I want to understand? What do I want to feel, taste, touch? What do I want, in what Mary Oliver calls
“my one wild and precious life”? So that once you do that tip and then you
go like okay, so what am I earning? I’m earning let’s say $36 an hour. And I’m not going to do the whole shaggy
dog story of like you’ve got to add onto that hour the extra time you spend getting
trained and commuting, and the vacation where the first three days of your vacation where
you’re inert and you’re just staring. That’s all time associated with that hour. The commute expense and the training and you’re
a consultant and you think you make a lot of money but you spend hours and hours to
get the business for that one hour of time. On average I will say—just run the experiment
in your own life—that $36 for an hour will whittle down to about a quarter of that. So call that $9. Now we have a figure. An hour of my life is worth $9. That’s interesting. Okay, you’re going out for coffee and a
muffin? That’s an hour. So then you have to ask value questions around
that, like, “Am I really glad that I spent an hour of my one wild and precious life on
this coffee and muffin?” How do I actually even engage with that question? The way we suggest you engage with it is this:
Did it make me happy commensurate with the value that I convey, I put on this one hour
of my life? “Yes! You know, like without that coffee and muffin
every day my life would be like, you know, sort of at a 50 rather than at a 90.” Is it in alignment with my values, with what
I say is important? And what I think my purpose in life is? And these are not easy questions to ask but
you might as well ask it when you’re buying your coffee and muffin. When else are you going to ask it?! To what am I dedicating this, my existence? And somehow or another you sort of get a vague
sense purchase by purchase. It’s really the most amazing meditation
on how do I invest my life to create the maximal value for myself and other people in the world?

Zane Wilson

100 Responses

  1. "Social Innovator & Activist"? Isn't that just another way of saying "person with a liberal arts or English literature degree who's been long-time unemployed"?

  2. Infinite growth on a finite planet is Cancer Capitalism. We must evolve past obsolete zero-sum social systems. Nature is the only true dictator… we offend it at the peril of our entire species.

  3. I've been saying this for years.
    It's worse than this though, it's just parasitic natural trophic pyramid. I don't want to hear moralizing about it from anyone, defenders of parasitism are full of shit.

    Consciousness is what's valuable to us. I'm under no ontological obligation to you for my consciousness nor the contents of it. Qualia are the subjective component. If you don't care about mine, I don't care about yours, and the whole thing spins into just the mess we have today.

    Humans are such stupid apes. Inventive! But what do we do with it? Make each other unnecessarily miserable. Over an arbitrary distraction from our temporary state of being…

  4. Environmentalists needs to understand that money is intersubjective fiction that consumes real resources in life at any cost… good luck saving the planet.

  5. All forms of government and economic systems are a way to manage the human animal which is fundamentally unable to cooperate and live in harmony on a global scale and to do so without a system of hierarchy just like our primate cousins. They are all management tools. Money is a major component of that tool set.

  6. Money is nothing but a made up illusion of derivatives for the trade of commerce from ethical work ; I don't mind such a system but I don't care for it either. Their needs to be a more organized stabilize system of equilibrium if we are truly going to be freed from such an illusion . Resource's such as food and water come to mind as main resources; oh !and a cow with drippy supple tasty milky tits.

  7. But the/her perspective of optimizing her money usage (increase net-personal-gain) is the same as her note of our economy being focused on net-personal-gains(with banks and ponzi scheme as the topicals). Moving past that, I think this video is just a random slew of thoughts, no offense. Not sure if Big Think pressures their speakers into not saying much, but no, I really doubt that (mostly). I just think she tried to convey her personal experience in a muddied pacing instead of concisely presenting her ideas.
    One of her big topics is "spending precious life energy through money" but I feel this is a somewhat too-entitled perspective as "personal energy"(a random other way to put it) just does need to be spent in order to gain any items, any food, any relationships. Life energy is just a random perspective that can lead to easier conservation of funds through moderately negative feeling of situation. It's useful for someone who really spends way too much money I guess. But spending money is ok and important. And the perspective of "saving life energy", there is no reason not to output this energy ("output" sometimes healthier wording than "spend"), our life energy on things.If we don't output anything we just get sickly and weak, same as if we don't input/intake energy from food and air. Life is made through motion of pieces, without output there becomes still, lack, and the best thing I can say about lack is that you need the right amount of it for yourself. Which is probably a different amount than a first person perspective of yourself will easily find out. Which is just some random shit regardless of wisdom hahah.

    One thing she definitely isn't wrong about is that debt is too controlling of the populace. I'm sorry to say that It's really hard problem to find answer for and I've spent all my precious life energy (jk just bored making this long comment) so I don't have any good ideas about debt rn. Debt and schooling very precious and delicate topics for world in general rn hahaha.

  8. on google images which is ran by deepmind, when I typed in
    result of deepmind with only scoring points, no errors ever, when only just now learning
    one of the images was the text brutal intelligence, AI, the human mind

  9. When I first learned how money is created, at first I could not believe it. I felt somehow betrayed by the system. I was so disappointed. My parents and our families have worked so hard to earn a living. I am talking physical labour here. My father never owned a credit card and he would be rolling in his grave if he knew how money is created from nothing. “The Money Masters” by Bill Still and “Money as Debt” by Paul Grignon explains how this is done.

    The the economy can work without credit. All the added acrobatics of creating credit and controlling interest rates and then having the system collapse in a depression just so the cycle can be repeated is a clever way that a few elite individuals (members of a “special and privileged club” ) have figured out how to take advantage of other people’s labour and productivity without having to do any labour or produce anything for themselves. It causes so much unnecessary human suffering and pain! It is similar to the master slave economies of colonial times. The lender is master to the borrower and the borrower is the slave. It may be a “kinder gentler” master slave relationship but it is still a master slave relationship.

    Private commercial banks should only be able to lend money that they have on deposit not create money out of nothing based on a fractional reserve and then lend the money they created. Credit is counterfeit money.

    Furthermore, governments should not be allowed to borrow money from private commercial banks. Governments should have the power to create all the money required to run the country and the government does not need to have a national debt. If the money is created by the Government, the benefit and advantage is that the government does not have to pay interest on it and it does not have to pay it back to private banks. This means that the government can collect much lower taxes since it will have much lower expenses because the government will have no loans to pay back with interest.

    Creating the nation’s money and controlling the quantity of money can be argued to be a sovereign government’s most important job. Controlling the quantity of money is the single most important factor in controlling the economy. Delegating or giving this power to a central private bank weakens the government and allows the bank with private interests to influence government policy. It is often argued that the government should not be in the banking business but in reality the banks should not be in the government’s business and the government should be the only authority that can create money, not a private bank. Much more on this topic if you google "money as debt"

    This may not be related but I think I need to make this point. Governments should not be collecting any personal income taxes on a person’s labour. The government should not be taking a cut out of someone’s earned wages! Especially if that person is doing a physical labour job! Taxes should primary be based on consumption taxes, business taxes and property taxes.

  10. Of course it is. I recommend Mike Maloney's YouTube series, as well as Ann Petifor's books.

  11. OK so this is why when I hear people talking about "examining the real value behind cryptos" I'm dumbstruck. WHAT real value? Isn't the only value of cryptos, or fiat for that matter, the social trust put in it?

  12. The banks can lend money with zero deposits having been made. It is The Grand Lie that banks require deposits before a loan can be issued.

  13. I'd advise people to look into the Austrian (econ) view of money. She is right about dollars being funny money, but money in general is an important human technology, and this video does not do it justice.

  14. money is a medium of exchange. It does not require growth. Money can exist just as well in a shrinking economy as it can in a growing economy.

  15. Money is, despite its imperfections, the best way of quantifying how much a person contributes to society and how qualified there voice is in solving problems in society.

  16. @3:15 -“Everything has to keep growing…which is difficult because of the capacity of the planet to support this ideology.”

    That’s a huge and unsupported leap of logic. She’s equating the growth of currency with consumption of material resources. Who says those two things bear any relation to each other?

  17. data is the real money
    things we do, how much valuable to other
    we have to record this data in a decentralised internet platform and people should rate each other

  18. Money's value is, in part, backed up by its scarcity. Although there is a need for money for education, child care, elder care, infastructure, etc., there never seems to be enough. Our governments tell us they can't just print more, as that would lead to inflation. The scarcity of money increases its value, which principally benefits those who have a great deal of it already.

  19. A life of economic enslavement is a wasted existence. Live neat.

    For millions of years we only had to spend something like 30% of our waking existence acquiring the food to sustain us. The modern world was supposed to be an improvement in regards to ease but instead greed and economic enslavement as put excessive demands on biology.

    The modern world is one giant fight or flight response trigger.

  20. We do not have just one life. That is an oversimplification logical fallacy as well as scientifically literate… but I guess my thoughts really don't matter because I won't conform to some status quo driven pious vocabulary. Fuck big stink.

  21. The fed is a privately owned bank. They answer to no one, we pay them interest for something we don’t need them for.

  22. She shows a consistent fundamental failure to understand the role currency plays in economies. She starts by confusing "money" with wealth and it just goes down hill from there.

  23. Wow, the stupid of this video is so bad it hurts.

    Money serves 4 functions… a unit of account, a store of value, an exchange medium, and a standard of deferred payment.

    That is it.

    Any other function or attribute people assign to money is a product of their imagination.

  24. Please learn about Resource Based Economy as proposed by the Venus Project. Once you will understand the idea (if you don't know about it), you will be glad to learn that a better world is possible 🙂

  25. "If the average American knew how money was created, there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning" Henry Ford.

  26. Even with the interest it stil doesnt come back with a thousand… that sounds like inflation. I say no more loans unless they have all of it in gold then transfered to a cash value.

  27. If all of the earth became a single functioning unit with peace and prosperity in mind, the entire military budget of the world would be used for building a really great human and natural habitat and then even beyond to other planets. Otherwise our entire species will continue to imprison its self. Funny how an entire species is so interested in its own extinction. Even in movies and tv….

  28. Fiat currency is not real, it is an agreed upon system of exchange for service, money on the other hand is real, it is a commodity that has value irrespective of it's ability to be used in exchange of service. So real things could be used as money, food, labor, precious metals etc. Governments like to control money, because all power resides with those who can control the money supply! You need only look at Venezuela to see what happens when you try to print your way to prosperity, 1 million percent inflation, that represents a government using it power to impoverish it's citizens to maintain it's power!

  29. buying into the concept giving money value reduces american society into a cast system. If you don't agree, try giving money no value (in other words give it away) and see how your treated once that moneys gone.

  30. Money took authority away from the craftsman who do the actual 'creating of wealth' and gave it to parasites.

  31. Wow. So that was the paragraph on "opportunity cost" from a high school economics class dragged out over 8 charismaless minutes. They edited that video down? Can you imagine what they cut out? To be fair to her, they may have just cut out all of the insightful stuff. All it takes is one bad editor. Do better Big Think. Think Big.

  32. It's a ponzi scheme. The market value of employees is set by employers. That is why we have the working poor because wages are set to be advantageous for employers and not the workers. Some entertainers. doctors, CEO's ,etc get their true value and more. But most workers are underpaid.

  33. Drop banks, drop inflated US Dollar. Buy crypto. When the next big financial crash like back in 2008 comes fiat will go down in a huge blow. Crypto, gold and others will keep value. Crypto =/= BitCoin. Do you own research, don't just invest in the most recognized crypto.

  34. What are her qualifications? Does she have a degree in economics? behavioral psychology? marketing or finance? This seems pretty elementary. It's pretty obvious money isnt a ponzi scheme. The banking industry paired with a federal government creates the scheme, combined with the uninformed public, which deserves the government it tolerates.

  35. "Is the coffee/muffin worth an hour of my life? These are not easy questions to ask"

    Yes, they are. I've been asking them ever since I can remember. Standard temporal cost/benefit analysis.

    It stuns me that a video like this is in any way revelatory to adults.

  36. Her understanding of money really only applies to fiat currency.

    Money is just an intermediary exchange of value.

    I agree with her philosophy of questioning ones investments in what you consider important.

  37. Yes. A great scam by the OWNERS of the Federal Reserve.
    They sell the USA govt. money, backed by FUTURE earnings of you and me.
    They are basically IOU's the USA pays back to them with interest.
    How do they back the piece of paper? Gold, Silver, No.
    But they do take back Gold and Silver.
    They buy real things with bogus money.
    Motherfuckers use ME and the promise of my FUTURE tax dollars to charge MY COUNTRY interest on pieces of paper.
    Do the Fed Owners pay Taxes to the U.S. Govt. for running that PRIVATE CORPORATION?

  38. Money is a way of rationing resources because humans cannot share to save their own lives, literally. If we didn't have it, we would probably kill each other. You only have to watch people's behaviour on Black Friday deals, smacking the shit out of each other for the sake of reduced PlayStation! Look at the amount of looting that goes when there is powercut! It's a good way of barring people FROM resources, rather than PROVIDING access to it. That's how I see it.

  39. I certainly do NOT "invest my life" NOR do I "maximize value" from it! I love it and I live it with the others – and that's all! "All that is not given, is lost." – a gipsy proverb.

  40. If she explained why all money is a long con ponzi scheme, she did it really badly… She made the suggestion but didn't offer any evidence or explanation… Disappointing…

  41. We are the only life on this planet that pays to live.. we need to stop justifying it, stop pouring our energy toward something that cripples humanity. 7.125 billion people, and just about 1500 people control all the wealth and pretty much the whole system.. what makes you think that applying your money perspective system that we would all be any happier or free? We may seem to be living in a time that has advanced heavily withbour medical and technological accomplishments, yet our ancestors prospered and lived incredibly fulfilling lives beyond the scope of what we are accustomed to at this stage of our development. Not that they didn’t have their fair share of troubles yet 1 income could afford the American dream not to mention, people had an overwhelming sense of duty, obligation, loyalty and purpose. Compelled with aspirations to achieve greatness for family and for human beings, not to just earn an extra dime.. It wasn’t about making a living, it was about making a difference.. something most of us fail to pursue in this current time. It could be better for us all if we stopped believing the lie that happiness and prosperity is bought and or achieved from somewhere else outside of where or who we are.. yet it is the power of such beliefs that grants these lies and those who sell them power over humanity.. the truth is, greatness is realized from within.. money takes away our genuine intentions, motives, passions, desires and commitments during the pursuit of our professional endeavors and replaces it with greed, fear and uncertainty, war, crime, corruption, selfish ambition, and pretty much turns everything into a business to sell, gain and profit monetarily and from that we fail to see the depth of our honest potential.. let’s stop fooling ourselves, we can do better that this.. don’t let your perspective be tainted because you have it good right now, the majority of the world is suffering, just because we don’t all see it everyday doesn’t mean we should ignore it.. I believe in us.. let’s get back to the basics. We all need food, water and air.. all this other stuff we are working for is ruling our lives and ruining our future.. let’s change it..

  42. Here I thought they were going to talk about the federal reserve and how corrupt and evil it is, but it's big think so of course they'd never say that.

  43. Business interests do not hide the fact that their paramount goal is unlimited, never-ending growth, despite the blatantly obvious nature of the physical impossibility of never-ending growth.

  44. 😆 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😭😭😭😭😭😭😇😂😂😂😂😂😇🙉🙈🙊

  45. The bigger the diamond ring the smaller the penis. I’m proud to say, I gave my wife a chipped piece of shattered glass.

  46. I really don't like the idea of thinking that my life is worth some money each hour. Life is unvaluable, death can come at any moment and each moment will never more be. Be aware of the ephemerality of life, so everything you do, you will be doing because it is worth.

  47. So, even imaginary people earn more per hour than me? and therefore worth more than me? so…

    Should I get myself that necklace then?

  48. Great, another clueless person who doesn't know the simple reason why the money supply has to grow in an expanding economy…

  49. Yes money is a Ponzi scheme. But I do agree that money should be looked as a representation of a person's time and labor. Personally I believe that from a spiritual aspect we all have equal value and that value cannot be measured in dollars and cents, in other words we are all priceless. Which means no one can pay us our true value and any amount we agree to work for ,because it's a necessity in a capitalist system, is at a loss to our true value. So to all the independent business people and the working stiff's I say let the for profit corporations pay all the tax from their profits. We the people should not be infringed on when it is we the people who are the back bone of society we do the work we buy the products without us there can be no them but without them there is still us.

  50. Someone decides how much money to make and when to make it…. Someone sets at the top richer than the rest and gets to decide what happens with money…..They either own money or they own so much stock in money they might as well own it….so yes this is a pyramid scheme because clearly that person would never want to lose their position….. And how do you keep that position you keep the majority of people just happy enough so they never look in to it ……. And you need poor people in order for our system to work….and basically if you did redistribute all the money you would still have poor people because there would be people who spent all that money for one reason or another or it wouldn't be redistributed evenly or the prices for things would go up and you would still wind up with poor people…. Granted out of their own stupidity in that last scenario…….but the prices would go up which would probably contribute to a lot of people losing their money as the rich people gained all their money back so yeah it's a pyramid scheme money is supposed to trickle down but it goes right back to the top……….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment