Saturday, November 28, 2009

A History of Man's Economic Systems

A long long time ago, Man lived by collecting fruits and berries, or hunting fish and animals. They lived each day by each day. Life was nasty, brutish, and short, and they died early. This was an advantage, since their primitive economic systems did not allow them to survive once they were unable to gather or hunt.

Man progressed. Now, life was nasty, brutish, and long. Now a problem was apparent- how were they to survive in their old age? It was no use being able to gather 5 times the number of berries to live in their prime, or to hunt 5 times the number of animals needed to survive. Food rots and spoils. You die when you pause, regardless of how awesome you were in your youth.

A solution was forged; for the old to depend on the young. A type of social contract was formed; the parent, in his adulthood, feeds the child, and the child, grown up, feeds the parent in his twilight. It was a sound system, fair.

Then, Money was invented. It was a splendid tool; coin did not spoil, did not rot. And, through this unspoilable good, Man was able to accumulate the excess production of his prime, and use it to support him in his old age. The ancient systems of the child supporting his parents were weakened, sometimes even invalidated. It was a reliable system, where no Man had to depend on another, and each was judged based on his own industriousness.

And the system of Money carried on, generation upon generation. Each Man supported himself by his own labor. But this system was not perfect. In each generation, there were those who were incompetent, or lazy, and hence unable to support themselves. But their force was weak, and nothing changed.

Then, one generation, there was a prodigious number of the idle and weak. And further, they were infertile and ugly, and could not have children to support them. In their collective despair, they created a new economic system, designed to steal from the future.

Their system would see them supported in their old age, carried upon the backs of the next generation. Some of their number argued, was this fair? What burden the next generation must face! But these voices were drowned out; it was argued that no such problems existed, for the next generation were themselves to be supported by their own next generation. And the system would continue to infinity, a stable system where everyone would be supported as long as Man survived. (The final generation would be screwed, but the problem of old age would probably be considered minor in the face of Doomsday.)

And the unfair system of the young supporting the old was imposed, where each generation was supported upon the backs of the next. It was a foolish system, akin to the world being supported by a turtle, itself supported by a turtle, ad infinitum. But nobody stopped the system, for a simple reason. Something was already stolen in supporting the first generation, and to stop the system, the present generation would have to bear the burden of this, alone. None ever did, for it was easier to pass the buck without cost to oneself.

But the fundamentals were flawed. People lived longer. People cost more to support in their old age. There were less people in each successive generation. And soon, people knew that the system would fail. But again, it was too entrenched to stop; all they hoped that the grenade would last one more lob, and not explode hot in their hands.

Our time is dire. The wise are revisiting the ancient methods. Some sought to accumulate more money to tide them though on their own strength. Others are reverting to relying on their children.

Ah, the good old days.


Benedict said...

dude, this is not one of your better articles. I think is it fragmented. How the last systmem of support from future is unclear. At one point, "now" was used twice in quick succession. I think a revision will make this story better.

The Negative Man said...

It was shorter in my mind.

Someone fucked up, so they stole from the future. We didn't want to be fucked for nothing, so we screwed the next generation to "balance things out". Things got worse!