Money is Energy
Human brains run on some core beliefs — sort of like a kernel of an Operating System. These beliefs are so vital that if an information shock disproves a core belief, there can be physiological reactions of nausea. In the movie The Matrix, Neo goes through a shock when he first realises the true nature of reality he had been living in.
It may have been a similar “Breath, Neo!” moment for some of us when the Global Economic Crisis of 2008 transformed collective understanding of underpinnings of the Economic Matrix we live in. From a smudge background to a sharp, focused image.
Building up my own perspective on these issues has a thought gain hold on me. Money is Energy.
Fundamentally, any activity which occurs on this planet users energy. Be it geological transformations or climate patterns. Be it birth and growth of animals and plants. Or, be it any activity we do as humans.
Source of all this energy is our great star, the Sun, and the energy stored inside the Earth at the time of its formation. All fossil fuels are a store of Sun’s energy — the geological transformations resulting from Earth’s crust compressing dead plants arising out of Sun’s energy. All green energy sources (solar, wind, tidal) are a result of Sun’s energy interacting with Earth’s geology & atmosphere. The only energy which humans can claim to be creating independent of Sun is in form of nuclear energy (fission and fusion), and even that is just imitating Sun. We haven’t tapped yet into other exotic forms like zero point energy, anti-gravity etc. as of now.
What is wealth? It is the useful surplus generated when a technology allows one to expend some energy to harness more energy.
We eat food and then work to build machines which can do multiple times more work.
We eat food and extract energy from Earth so that these machines can be run.
Knowledge is a process or human brain is a device by which a smaller input of energy is used to come up with ways to harness more energy.
There is a limit to surplus energy any one human produce. If a man were stranded on an island all alone, he could make tools and use them to better his living conditions subject to limits
- Longevity of body
- Availability of resources
- Knowledge of how to harness resources
Body longevity is something which medical profession is dedicated towards. Availability of natural resources is why wars take place. And amount of knowledge a human can gain is limited by brain’s capacity and time at hand.
Among all these constraints, effectively it is only the ‘knowledge’ factor which most humans have some control on. So, we, as a species, discovered that skill specialisation is the best way to increase our energy output.
However, that left us in a Catch 22 situation. If we specialise in one knowledge area, how do we make our needs met in areas of life which require other knowledge. So, we invented Money.
Money is a representation of utility value of the extra energy we have harnessed to produce something useful for others.
Firstly, Money is a common unit for measuring the utility of a produce. It is the token one gets for expending themselves in creating something.
Secondly, Money, as a token can then also serve as a medium of exchange. Money can be used to get end results of some other person’s specialised knowledge of harnessing energy. The seller then uses the obtained money to become buyer to some other seller’s produce. Money transfer links one person to another in the ecosystem.
But, if Money were only this, maybe we would have a simpler world to live with.
Money’s allure is more because it is also a store of energy which can be used in future, i.e. Money is also wealth. It is something which affords the peace to a man that his future needs will be met and that he can pass on his store of wealth for his off-spring to utilise.
The utility of Money is as the wealth required for a man’s life to go on with ease and his offsprings’ to have a good launching pad into their own life. This utility is in service of a fundamental force permeating through the Universe. That, life wants to find a way. Or, that genes want to survive and propagate. And for genes to achieve this objective, they need to deploy energy. So, ‘the selfish gene’ ensures that humans try to maximise energy available for themselves and also ensure that enough will be available for use of their off-springs.
Of course, for some people, the means become the end. They don’t evaluate the required quantity of Money to obtain the desired utility. Instead, some primal portion of human brain drives them into a race for having more of the quantity of the Money for the sake of it. Perhaps, it is because if you have more Money than your own needs, you are in a position to command others on whom your can bestow portions of your surplus Money. This ‘power’ helps the gene to survive better and ensure a safer world for their off-springs.
Before Money was invented, it was difficult for any one person to conclusively hold on to any surplus he generated. Any extra food he may forage would perish in a matter of days. Any extra cattle may get attacked by predators. His command over others could only be maintained so far as he had physical power to assert himself. And there was no guarantee that his offsprings could pull of the same feat.
Money is a store of energy which complex organisms like us invented for the purpose of giving our genes a better today and promise of a better tomorrow. Money is how we want to store the Sun’s life giving energy and use it as a proxy for energy transfer between humans.
Money is the ultimate talisman!