Monday, August 24, 2009

The Ultimate Practical Joke

A simple truth sets the stage for the ultimate practical joke.

Money is very valuable.

But money has no real value.

The ultimate practical joke is therefore a “trick” tool that would help us get rich initially (so that we enthusiastically endorse it), but which would eventually drive us to absolute poverty.

The most powerful tools modern business leaders have are corporations. Corporations are a lot like machines. But even though all corporations are different, they all make the same thing – money.

Over the past century, corporations have become very effective, efficient, and relentless machines for making money. However, the businessmen and women who run these machines are so caught up in running them that they overlook the most important thing that these corporations are executing.

All corporations, together worldwide, are converting everything of any real value into money. That's just what they do. And they're succeeding at it. But when they do finish the job – when all that is left is money and refuse; then we will realize that money is just a tool – a tool to make trade easier. But when there is nothing left to trade, money is worthless.

Those who have the most money, and the most power, must realize this. But ironically, they continue to play by the same old flawed conventions. Why? Probably because those who choose not to don't matter any more. Someone willing to play by the old, corrupted rules is always right there to take their place. Every new player wants to win. And many new players are desperate enough to cheat. Not only that, established players set an example by cheating to keep out the new players. Nonetheless, they will team up against the non-participants. This results in a race to the bottom entirely perpetrated by unwilling participants.

Effectively, we have created a pervasive simplistic economic system with a very short life cycle, and no RESET switch. The car is headed for the cliff, and we can't get together to turn the wheel.

We are playing the ultimate practical joke on ourselves... and our children... and all life on Earth.


Many people see the “real world” very simplistically as some giant game of Monopoly.

But remember the objective of Monopoly. The one with the most money wins – at the end of the game.

Now when you start to think about the real “real world,” you realize that we don't want there to be an end to the game.

We're playing the wrong game.

  • We have to play within clearer restraints.

  • We have to reward businesses for good behavior.

  • We have to learn how to use our tools for our greatest real benefit.

  • And we have to take back control of our economic and political systems from the machines we have created. The lives of organizations are NOT more important than the lives of most everything on the planet – including yours.

We have created the machines that will destroy us all. They are not Terminator robots. They are the tools we use to make money.

As long as we as a society consider money to be more important than (healthy sustainable) life itself, IT WILL BE - and the ultimate practical joke will be on us.


Or as another Native American (far more eloquent than I) once said:

Only when the last tree has withered,

the last fish has been caught,

and the last river has been poisoned,

will you realize you cannot eat money.”


JW said...


Great post; it brings to mind the poem "Requiem" by Kurt Vonnegut, which goes:

"When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
'It is done.'
People did not like it here."

And so it goes, huh?


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