I have a problem. I don’t know what to think about money.
On one hand, I believe that it is not necessary. There are many accounts of this, so I won’t go into detail. My basic hypothesis is something like this: The good that people can do for each other is incalculable in terms of economics. For example, a baker can make bread. He can either sell the bread for $2 a loaf, or he can give it to someone who is starving. For the person who is starving, the bread is worth infinitely more than $2. And the baker makes more than one loaf of bread per batch. Therefore, the baker regularly creates an infinite supply of value.
If basic needs can be met this way, our wants can be met through time expense or bartering. We want what we can’t have. What we can’t have is that which is outside of our expertise to acquire. What we are paying for when we pay for a service is time – time spent learning, time spent executing said skill, time spent building or crafting. In this equation, time is almost literally equivalent to money. In an ideal world, bartering would work perfectly.
Of course, I’m a dreamer. This shit doesn’t work. Just ask Communism. The root problem is that our needs and our wants are not entirely separable, as sad as that is to me, and those who won’t give up their wants for others needs jeopardize the entire system. But, as a dreamer, I would like to see the world progress toward the ideal. Someday, maybe, we can figure out how to get rid of this money business.
On the other hand, if I am to follow the herd and begin to acquire currency, then I have to have justification for it. I have to have things that I want to spend money on, and this is primarily the reason that I’m awake and writing right now. What do I want money for? This is a basic question, but it conflicts with my other view that money isn’t necessary whatsoever. If I go with my usual answers, I will have to ignore that belief, which is a source of dissonance for me.
Let’s do it anyway. What do I want money for?
- My debts and my family members’ debts.
- Basic needs
- Food – because the appreciation of food is its own aesthetic
- Creative ventures – cool, funny, or weird ideas I want to make reality and share with others
- Among creative ventures we might as well place businesses and art.
- Art – experiences that I appreciate.
- Gifts – things or experiences that make people happy.
A lot of those are almost interchangeable. Basically, in order of importance: basic needs, debt, and Art, though the latter two are arguable. Philosophically, I would prefer Art take precedence, but realistically, debt and repayment is more important to me. I can’t conscientiously ignore my debt to someone and continue on as if that extension of their faith meant nothing to me.
On a side note, I like the definition of Art as an experience that is appreciated. With that definition, it makes a gift the natural expression of Art and Love, which, according to the Buddhist definition I subscribe to, is wanting others to be happy.
That said, I estimate basic needs once I’m fully operational to be:
- Rent (or equivalent): around $800 per month.
- Food: Around $50 a month.
- Water: Roughly $15 a month.
- Annual total: $10,380
Hypothetical debts for my entire family are probably…nearly incalculable. However, let’s just count my siblings. I’m going to assume $50,000 debts for college for all of them, excluding myself, because I will be at around $14,000 when I graduate. $164,000 for myself and all my siblings. And let’s say theoretically that my parents maxed out a business banking account for loans at $500,000. So, all in all, debts number around $664,000.
In order to meet basic needs and debt, I would have to pull in $674,380 in a single year, or $2593.76923 per day, or $324.221154 an hour, assuming 8 hour work days and 260 work days in a year.
I wonder how I could do that. Then again, assuming that all four of my siblings tackle it, it would be significantly easier. We’d only have to be fully employed at roughly $80 an hour.
Anyway, once that debt is gone, I guess the rest of life begins.
Suddenly, I am having doubts about my earlier prioritization.