Oh, you wanna hear my opinion? Well okay, here it is: The economy is broken. Actually no it’s worse than broken, it’s completely fucked.
Not exactly a unique opinion, to be sure. But whenever I hear people talking about it they always have the wrong idea. It’s investor confidence this or debt that or taxation the other thing. Nobody seems to take a step back and say well hang on now. What is the economy? Why do we even have one? Well I’ll tell you what an economy is. An economy is a system for organising all of the labour and capital resources we have. The basic idea is that we want to organise these resources in order to satisfy as many wants and needs of people that we can. Pretty simple, right?
Now, I can show you in the world right now, hundreds of millions of people who are unemployed, and who are suffering because of it. And at the same time I can show you hundreds of millions more people who would rather like to own pool tables and hot tubs. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that something is very wrong with this picture. Not just a little wrong. Not just extend-some-more-cheap-credit-and-the-problem-will-go-away wrong. Fundamentally. Broken.
So why is it that the people without jobs can’t make pool tables for those without hot tubs? Oh, well, it’s because the rich(er) people can’t afford to pay them to do so. Yes their incomes are higher, but they’re spending it all on things already. Likewise the unemployed cannot afford to work without being paid. They need to survive as well. A little extra consistent income in the hands of the tubless classes would fix that right up. But where is that money? I’ll tell you where it is. It’s in the hands of the richest 1 per cent of people. Some people say they worked hard and deserve that money. I say that if they insist on using that money in such a way as to leave half the rest of us unemployed and the rest tubless then they don’t deserve squat. Most of us live in democracies. Why would I vote for an economy that leaves me tubless instead of one which provides me with pool tables? Madness!
There’s a little history here which I should review. People have a strong belief that rich people use money better than poor people. They invest, they create businesses, they create jobs, they create prosperity. There’s a good reason that people believe this. The reason is because it’s true. However, exactly who this is true of is not all rich people. It’s all about how the money is used. If you use your money to buy a plant and equipment and raw materials and labour, then good on you! You’re the good guys. You drive our economy ever upward and you satisfy ever more needs and wants. But if you use your money to speculate on property or currency or commodities like cereals or petrol then I despise you. You create no jobs, you satisfy no wants or needs, you create no wealth for anyone except yourself and what is worse!—Your despicable trading only drives up the prices of commodities! Your actions simultaneously make you richer and stifle the growth of everybody else! Food, housing, transportation, all of my basic needs cost me almost double what I should be paying for them because of you. That means that employers have to pay twice the wages. It means that nobody has money left over to buy products, no money left over to satisfy their other wants. You’re not the heroes who drive the economy. You’re the scumbags that grind it beneath your feet, and the sooner we stop you, the better off we’ll all be.
And that’s why I support a punitive financial transaction tax. I want to target exactly that kind of speculative commodity trading and make it impossible to profit from. Then we can get your colossal foot out of the smoking crater that was once a prosperous world economy and get on with our lives. In fact, if we stop you from masturbating all over us, then you’ll in all likelihood start actually helping us again by putting your money to productive use. Wouldn’t that be nice?