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What is this Thing We Call 'Wealth'?

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posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:29 PM
In ancient times, wealth was determined by knowledge. Let me briefly explain: knowledge was passed along from master to apprentice, to develop a certain skill set. Therefore, knowledge was the basis for experience and practice to evolve into a certain trade. Hence, knowledge is wealth.

This process continued for untold centuries, until (one could argue) the publication of An Inquiry into The Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations (WN) by Adam Smith in 1776. I will be honest, this work is very long and far from an easy read, so I will try to simplify it into two points: production and self interest. Smith eloquently argues that a nation’s wealth is not based off gold or trinkets [treasury] but off production only. Or what a nation has the capacity to produce [production capacity]. On page 572, Smith briefly mentions the infamous ‘invisible hand’ which many scholars have many interpretations of, but basically is an attempt to describe greed and the possibility it offers for social benefit.

Undoubtedly, this work (WN) fueled the revolutions of the time period after its publications, or the ousting of monarchies for other forms of governments. Also Smith elaborated the idea of specialization to the masses. Which went against the basic framework of knowledge is wealth (apprenticeship). This is because specialization requires little working knowledge due to the tedious nature of ‘tasks’ replacing the actual process. Oddly, this new mindset actually made society less productive on an individual scale, namely because each worker is now less knowledgeable of the over all process due to specialization of certain tasks.

What Smith did was make a brilliant point that material objects [products] are not wealth, but only the ability to produce said objects and then destroys the knowledge base for making such products by championing the notion of specialization. Do not get me wrong, specialization in large part led to the industrial revolution, but also created less productive individual workers in favor for achieving economies of scale. Although corporations technically existed before (WN) publication, it behooved their popularity tremendously.

Let us fast forward to post WWII. First off, (you will have to take my word for it, as a dissertation would be needed to prove) the Bretton Woods Agreement (Accord) was doomed to fail as nothing can have a fixed price in a free market economy for an extended time period (fluctuation of supply and demand). This failure was used, in large part to: further confiscate gold into fewer hands and more importantly justify our current monetary system, including the dictatorship the Federal Reserve has on our economy. Now, to explain the main point of this post: Fait currency.

The first historical evidence (as I sure that even the Sumerians also fell for this) we have of fait currency is the Roman Empire, which tried and failed repeatedly to institute a fiat system. An economy based off of salve labor (as the Romans had steam power, but the special interest refused to leave behind the extremely profitable practice) and fiat currency eventually led to the complete collapse of the Roman empire in the 5th century. I hope everyone sees the similarity between slave labor interests and oil interests today.
Today we base wealth off of fait currency (Literally now I’m afraid, little more than digits on a computer screen). Not even specialization [production], which although a far cry from knowledge – is much more efficient and stable. Here is where we tie the lose ends: in the past hard work was paid for with knowledge and then knowledge was utilized to ‘earn a living’. Today our hard work is utilized to ‘earn a living’ and not much knowledge is passed to those involved in production. This is because 99% of businesses are based on pyramid schemes. In this system knowledge is power, not wealth. There must be levels of knowledge so that decision making flows down while information flows up, to aid decisions, therefore providing a basis for income levels. So basically what has happened is knowledge is no longer a reward for labor, but only compensation. This had made the average person reliable on others for income and almost completely obliterated the entrepreneurial spirit which has guided humans for untold millennia. There is a reason why so many small businesses fail everyday, because our economic system is not suited to support them (taxes, regulation, start-up costs, competing with economies of scale, etc).

We accrue debt to pay for educations that are almost completely useless. A bachelor’s degree is no more than a foot in the door to merely interview for a job. The experience most of us get on the job is not actually knowledge, but a particular corporation’s outlook of production. More people have careers based on contacts than merit. Most of upper management of our lovely corporations could not make decisions without the bottom-up movement of information from those supervised. Our notion of knowledge has been hi-jacked and replaced with mere information flow.

Fait currency cannot be a store of value, for one simple reason: inflation. The fact that $1 without investment will be worthless tomorrow than it is today, completely eradicates its role as a store of value. How TPTB pulled this one I will never understand. Today we toil for compensation that is here today and gone tomorrow, a lesson I am afraid we will never learn. There’s so much more to say but this is a thread on ATS not a book, but that’s what posts are for.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:51 PM
reply to post by ConspiracyBuff

Wealth, in my definition, is having more than your neighbor.

More, meaning, more "Things" whether it be cash, property, or chickens.

Either way, though, it is the root of the problem with civilization and allows for a thing called GREED.

Greed can not exist without wealth.

Yet, wealth itself is Greed.

I have come to conclude that MY wealth is my wife, children, and family. Period.
edit on 11-7-2012 by phantomjack because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:55 PM
Wealth means different things to different people. kind of like God. I think Wealth is a fabrication in this 3D world that began after the time of Aristotle. Around that time, I THINK is when the world began to see things in a very materialistic view.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 12:59 PM
Financial wealth is a figment of your it worthless. Having true wealth is loving others and being loved. PERIOD!!!!

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:00 PM
Land and gold. That's Wealth. Being rich means: you have "money". Being WEALTHY means you have ASSETS.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by ConspiracyBuff

Well said. Unfortunately it isn't getting through.

What Smith did was make a brilliant point that material objects [products] are not wealth, but only the ability to produce said objects and then destroys the knowledge base for making such products by championing the notion of specialization.

This particular quote reminded me of the origins of glassblowing.

It was between the years 27 BC and 14 AD that the art of glassblowing was developed by Syrian glassmakers. Glassblowing made it easier to produce more glass objects at a lesser cost.

Just as much as the rise of the Roman Empire lent to the rise in the further development of glass making, the same can be said with the Roman Empire's decline. Although stained glass became widespread in the Middle Ages, the use of glass objects became somewhat limited during this time, and so did their creation. The techniques of making beautiful glass objects, however, were preserved in Venice, particularly in the island of Murano. Glass makers in Murano discovered that adding quartz sand and potash results in pure crystal glass. Thus, because of their exquisite beauty, glass objects made in Murano were placed in high value and were in high demand at the time.

The techniques of the Murano glass makers, however, are a secret closely guarded by the Venetian government. To divulge this secret is punishable by death. Nonetheless, the beauty of Murano glass has prompted Henri IV of France to entice Murano glass makers to migrate to France. The prize dangled to migrating glass makers is French citizenship after eight years and exemption from taxes.

So the secret held more wealth than the glass, itself.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:41 PM
save me making a thread just for this random thought:

Am i the only one that thinks the solution to the banking problem is relatively easy?

Get rid of the private banks.

Install a government owned and controlled bank (regulated by independant public representatives), where all money is created and loaned out with *zero* interest. debt free money, put into circulation, for the people to make investments, and to try and profit on. pay the bank back what you owe them.

Debt free. of course interest can be added if you fail to pay up within the allocated time.

The resources and man hours will be funded by tax, a fair price to save private banking cartels to robbing us of *billions*.

But if it was that simple wouldnt it have been done already?

There must be a flaw in my idea?

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:57 PM
Wealth....when possessing something of worth and value perhaps? Something doesn't have to be a solid object or visible. It varies on what is worth lots and what is valued most but I think it all pertains to what makes a person feel somewhat achieved.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:58 PM
reply to post by Sinny

I'm sure this has been posted before but someone else thought your idea is a good one.

On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order
11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve
Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at
interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the
privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business.

When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy - the author of Profiles in
Courage -signed this Order, it returned to the federal government,
specifically the Treasury Department, the Constitutional power to create and
issue currency -money - without going through the privately owned Federal
Reserve Bank.

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