CURRENCY: PENULTIMATE PRODUCTIVITY
Currencies throughout history have had the potential to be the penultimate, that is, next to the best, tool of human productivity. Only one other innovation of human ingenuity offers a greater time-saving capacity than a currency that is kept constant and "current." The ultimate time-saving tool of productivity is democracy. Currency has few rivals as a tool of productivity within a system of human production (an economy).
Human Productivity or Time-savings at Work
One can understand the productive potential of a currency by looking at either past or present production systems plagued with inflation. Much time is wasted because of a lack of currency stability, e.g., Germany 1923 or Argentina 1970's. As inflation accelerates, people demand more frequent payment to convert the common intermediate product--currency--into products that do not lose their buying power.
Think of the time wasted by the employees and the employers on more frequent payments of earnings. In some countries, elsewhere and elsetime, employees have been paid as often as twice a day, at noon and night. What a waste of human time. What a loss of productivity as a result of a currency not being kept stable, constant, or current.
Consider the alternative, that is, productive deflation. If the value of money were increasing, people would not be in a hurry to get paid. Consider the imaginary scenario in which money was increasing in value by 12% and you had to immediately cash and spend your payroll check: Workers would pressure their bosses to increase the payroll period.
Human Time-Saving Tool Away from Work
Currency is a time-saving human tool of productivity, not only at work but away from work. The above example of employees seeking more frequent pay periods is accompanied by the people making more frequent trips to the stores. With a stable, intermediate, common product "kept constant in value", the employee does not have to get paid more frequently, nor does he have to waste a lot of time, energy, and matter making more frequent shopping trips. Instead, he can plan a weekly shopping trip in which his total travel is reduced, the transportation costs are reduced, and other wastes are reduced. Furthermore, a currency "kept constant in value" saves the worker time and improves his standard of living. A good currency allows a worker to spend more time away from work with his family, with his home, or with his friends.
A system of production lacking a stable common intermediate product suffers unavoidable decline in the standard of living. The quality of life decline reflects the decline in the productive time-saving capacity of the penultimate innovation of human productivity: currency.
Bartering: No Common Intermediate Product
The loss of human time, matter, and energy due to an unstable currency increases with soaring inflation. At a certain point the particular currency will lose all usefulness as the common intermediate product by which producers exchange goods and services. At that time, the particular human system of production has regressed to a barter economy. The economy no longer has the relative, time-saving advantage of a well-maintained currency. The economy can no longer take advantage of how a stable currency is the shortest distance between two producers, between two economical points in time and place.
With a well-maintained currency, one can go directly from his home to a store, to a doctor, or to a diversion. One knows that the person at the end point will accept the common intermediate product in exchange for the person's goods or services, e.g., groceries, therapy, or entertainment. The directness in time, energy, and matter of a well-maintained currency does not exist in a barter economy.
All forms of human resources are wasted. Without a common intermediate product, "kept constant in value", one wastes time finding out what the other person is willing to accept in exchange for his product. More time will be wasted as people will not have a suitable product to exchange. This wasted time will take the form of the potential purchaser having to locate a product that will serve as a "common intermediate product" between his products and the products he needs from another producer.
The amount of wasted time increases as the inflationarily plagued system produces fewer and fewer products. When a government does not maintain a common intermediate product as a currency, "kept constant in value", then the productive persons must waste time.
Distance of Time, Not Place
A well-maintained currency is the shortest distance between two places or times. The reader will be ahead in understanding the nature of currency, and anticipating the needed currency reform, if different economic points are not viewed as being separated by geographical distance but rather by temporal distance. More important to producers exchanging products is the time between two economic points than the distance. In other words, and when thinking about the deterioration of the value of currency, one should think not of elsewhere but of elsetime.
If one's product--personally produced or the official common intermediate product--is decreasing in value at a constant rate, which is more important:
how far distant is the desired market-place, or
During a period of declining precious metal prices, gold sitting in the vault of a currency exchange loses value not based on proximity but the time delay between purchase and sale.
If currency is inflationarily unstable, the more time that one holds it the greater is the loss of value in buying power. By buying power it is meant how much the production time one can exchange the currency for. The employees who wish to get paid twice a day basically don't want to hold on to the unstable currency that they receive in exchange for their busytime. The longer they allow their employers to hold onto the currency that they have earned, the less they will have in buying power when they receive it as wages for their time at production. Said another way that has long-term implications, the employees don't want someone saving the symbols of the accumulated production time. Why? The longer the production time is saved in the form of the common intermediate product, the less production time the "currency" will be worth; it was not kept current with its original production time worth.
An analogy--rotting fruit--might convey the role of currency inflation as it cheapens the value of one's labor over a period of time. If you pick a bushel of fruit that will gradually rot over a period of time, the longer you wait to sell it the fewer minutes of fruit picking will be rewarded. Total currency debasement is rotten fruit.
The extended implication of people shunning the official common intermediate product is how people will not save currency itself for retirement. They are constantly trying to exchange it for some other scribbled-on paper product which they think or hope will hold its buying power better than the official currency. Unfortunately, most exchanges for other sopps exacerbate currency instability.
One product where people place their savings is in certificates of deposit or in money fund accounts. Bankers and brokers do not channel the pooled savings of the workers into production consistently. Consequently, the production time worth of the savings constantly loses its original production time worth. The currency supply may not have grown, yet inflation erodes the buying power through reduced production. The counter-productive speculative loans by bankers and brokers may generate dollar gains, but they also "crowd out" capitalization of production time--Gresham's law applied to loans. This is an example of decapitalism, misusing the symbols of capital to decapitalize/decapitate the substance of capital.
When production time decreases, the money savings has to be worth less in production time no matter how many dollars one gains. In other words, the bankers fuel the pursuit of inflationary returns over production profits. Anyone who has savings in an inflationary financial system is fueling the loss of the past production time through inflation. They are more importantly stimulating the loss of future production time in the way of inflation, unemployment, taxation, and violence. They will not have the benefits of productive deflation.
The greater relevance of time instead of place can be seen in how corporations use "check floats" to gain some dollars. Floating checks means writing a check for some good or service which does not actually get cashed for a number of days. By floating a check, one is able to retain the actual cash in an account so as to draw interest during the period of float. The advantage of this is that one can get immediate use of a good or a service and not pay for it immediately.
Corporations do not seek the most distantly geographical point for maximum float, rather, they seek the most distantly temporal point that will have the greatest time lag. A nearby inefficient bank is preferred to a "full-service" bank with the best means of Electronic Transfer of Funds. However, such corporations will penalize you for personally trying to use "check floats" when paying for their goods or services, e.g., the check is in the mail excuse for delaying payment.
Check floats are a legal form of check-kiting. Someone has to pay the interest that the major corporations receive for floating their checks. Who? The small gullible saver who does not get free service at the "full service" banks.
The previous two paragraphs note a source of inflationary returns and inflationary losses. When the value of one product is changing in market value, it is so doing in relation to other products. Presently, the modern politicians have structured the economy so that the politically favored have a virtual monopoly on those products (goods or services) that appreciate in value without any more production added to them: inflation.
This inflationary appreciation of an old product is not without inflationary losses. These losses are the basis of inflationary suffering for those unable to monopolize the ear of a legisflator--a legislator who legalizes inflation. The foremost product allowed to lose value, and the product with which the basic producer is stuck, is the common intermediate product: money. It does not have to be this way.
Currency is best understood in terms of time. The origin of the word itself is derived from the concept of renumeration for what one's busytime is "currently" worth. Currency devaluation retroactively taxes or cheapens the busytime of the producer who accepted the unstable currency in exchange for his productive busytime. The rate of inflation cheapens one's past production worth, cheapens one's past worth to the degree of time that one holds onto the unstable currency. Thus, the saving of currency for old age is self-defeating. When currency is not kept stable it is no longer the shortest temporal distance between economic points, not only in a day but in a lifetime.
Rather than having the benefits of a stable currency, by which to save a part of each day's effort, the producer is constantly obligated to waste time. The producer must look for a product that will serve as a constant intermediate product between the time that he is able to produce (work years) and the time that he cannot (old age). Otherwise, and through the years of inflation, the producer loses time due to a lack of a stable currency.
In many ways, the individual trying to save for old age in times of initial rising inflation is like the worker in a country suffering hyper-inflation where he has to get paid twice a day in order to scramble for other goods and services. The saver gets a taste of what is to come as he constantly worries about what to put his savings in. Invariably, the saver scrambles from one investment to another, wasting time directly and indirectly as he listens to foolish financial advisors. Why are the advisors fools? They can not keep any product constant and current in value despite their high service charges.
The chances of a producer finding a stable common intermediate product are zero. Why? The existence of monetary inflation indicates that the politicians and the economists do not understand the need, the benefits, and productiveness of a stable currency. Unchanged, they will not maintain or stabilize any product as a common intermediate product into which producers can efficiently and effectively convert their excess disposable production time. Government guarantees of savings, loans and pensions are delusions. These delusions delay needed currency reform. Delusionarily, these guarantees are not backed up by the production of any goods or services but one:
a scribbled-on paper product called money.
The penultimate productiveness of currency will not be present anywhere, in anything, given the counter-productive nature of the wheeling-dealing, horse-trading habitual politicians and their necronomic sidekicks. Where their wits are not lacking to understand the importance of currency, their self-centered greed blinds their eyes, blunts their voices and binds their votes.
Indirect Effects on Productivity at Work
Currency stability or instability affects productivity not only in the above direct fashion but in an indirect fashion. As the currency instability increases, people shift their capital (excess disposable products) into speculating for inflationary/deflationary returns rather than production profits. "Decapitalization" of production occurs. Product shortages grow relative to demand--sinflation. Sinflation reflects how productivity regresses. Regression indexes insufficient capital to replace aging equipment. What happens is the production enterprises have to compete with inflation chasers for available capital, not only will the producers be "crowded out" from getting the capital they need but they will have to pay higher prices for whatever capital they can get.
As the penultimate tool of productivity, currency affects human productivity both directly and indirectly. Other instances of currency promoting or recessing human productivity exist but will not be listed. Hopefully, the reader can recognize how currency directly or indirectly affects human productivity--time savings--both on and off the job. No other product of production affects total productivity or production more than currency. Only a certain human activity exceeds the time-saving potential of a well-maintained, common intermediate product. That product of human activity is democracy.
Material Productivity Gains Are Insufficient
From many politicians and necronomists, one hears that the problems of the America are due to a loss of industrial productivity. This is true only in part. The productivity losses in material manufacturing results from currency instability due to a decline in the time-saving productivity of inflated dollars. Consequently, any talk of re-industrializing America with improved productivity is useless if the talk is centered solely on various busyness concerns. These gains are tertiary in comparison to currency or democracy.
Ignoring the source of penultimate human productivity--currency stability--is a prescription for necrotizing industry. Without currency stability, all the potential productivity gains in business enterprises will come to naught. Increased potential income from speculating for inflationary returns will motivate people to avoid investing for profits from production; the production profits will not come close to the returns from speculating into inflation.
Pursuit of productivity gains without currency stability is doomed to destroy America. The busynesses with the greatest recent productivity gains are destined for the greatest future productivity gains. These enterprises are not the manufacturing concerns. Rather, they are the financial concerns that not only benefit from currency instability, but knowingly or unknowingly stimulate currency instability.
America will never be re-industrialized without use of the penultimate time-saving device: stable currency. Unfortunately, the politicians and economists in charge of re-industrializing American do not distinguish between the decapitalism of inflationary returns and the capitalism of production profits. In the failure to realize that no products lie behind inflationary income, the elected and unelected policy makers of America will stimulate productivity gains in the non-production busynesses. Sinflation will be rampant.
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