Finances Blog Archive - Oct 2012

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10/15/2012 - Blog Action Day 2012

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Blog Action Day 2012
Monday, October 15th, 2012
06:48:46 GMT


Today is Blog Action Day 2012.

Unfortunately, though, I've been having various (basically) poverty-induced headaches, and haven't been up to writing or doing much of anything.

Fortunately, it's not that difficult to elucidate the very simple but brilliant concept of microdonations (or micropayments), which suits the Blog Action Day theme of "The Power of We" pretty well. And I already wrote it down when I was feeling better.


$1 from 1 person isn't much, but, if a great many people each give, or spend $1, it would add up to quite a massive amount of money.

1 million people each providing $1 = $1 million dollars.

Many charities could probably get a lot more money in donations if they much more strongly emphasized the idea that literally any amount of money could help, no matter how small.


However, the world economic system is so broken, maybe it's best to search for alternatives to the existing system.

Just imagine if the human body worked the way our economic system works. Imagine your cells struggling amongst themselves for a tiny amount of available oxygen, with the lion's share selfishly hoarded by a relatively few powerful cells.

What if your brain hogged all the oxygen, and let the rest of your body literally rot because the rest of your body is all supposedly less important than the brain?


As things are, our economic system could be likened to a person whose circulatory system is broken, whose blood only manages to carry desperately-needed, life-sustaining oxygen to certain parts of the body, but not all, leaving the rest to just wither and die.

And the rot poisons the rest of the body, including the oxygen-rich parts which are lucky enough to get all they need from the broken circulatory system.


Even if many wealthy people don't realize it, they're harmed by poverty too, although more indirectly than the people actually in poverty.

Of course, the direct harm done by poverty is more obvious and horrifying. Poverty and its huge number of negative side effects can literally kill poor people, either relatively quickly (such through starvation, illness, deprivation of expensive medical care, and sometimes driving people to suicide), or slowly, such as through poor nutrition and deprivation of life-sustaining and life-improving opportunities that are only available to people with enough money, and/or enough health and well-being to be able to derive the most benefit possible from those opportunities.

(For example, someone starved, headachy, and/or so terrified of future poverty-inflicted miseries that they can scarcely concentrate is naturally going to have a lot more trouble benefiting from free schooling, the internet, etc. than someone who is healthy and well-fed.)


But the harm caused by poverty goes far beyond the suffering that is directly experienced by people who are in poverty.

For example, who knows how many potential Einsteins, Mozarts, Da Vincis, etc. have been murdered in childhood by poverty?

And even many famous geniuses throughout history, who were lucky enough to avoid quite that bad of a fate, were oppressed by poverty and never profited from their talents as much as they should have.

What else might they have achieved if they had had enough, and had lived longer, and hadn't had to waste so much of their time and energy chasing money - time and energy they could have spent on creating more wonderful works of genius if they hadn't been oppressed by basic survival needs?

The losses to the world caused by poverty are incalculable, and we all are impoverished by those losses, including the rich.


But, as is said so often as to be a cliche, money is just a piece of paper. It's something meant to facilitate trade, the flow of goods and services to people who need them.

And for the majority of people in the world, money is not doing its job. See Poverty Facts and Stats for some really shocking statistics.

For example: "Almost half the world over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day." That amounts to less than $912.50 per year!

And: "At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day." - less than $3,650 per year. That includes me (well, at least I make that little, even though technically I guess I'm living on more, thanks to my family), though I spent most of my adult life in the making less than $2.50 a day category, and could easily slip back there.

But at least, given the micropayments idea, I have some hope - maybe if I come up with an idea for a $1 product and sell it to a million people, or a 25 cent product and sell it to 4 million people, I could be a millionaire.


But, probably what would be even better than being rich would be to not be so dependent on the currently broken circulatory system that money is an overly integral part of.

Economic activity is simply trade of goods and services. Exchanging goods for money and services for money isn't the only way to do things - it's also possible to exchange goods for goods, goods for services, or services for services. Or to invent and use alternative currencies.

So, maybe that's what we, the people, need to do? Perhaps we need to replace our broken circulatory system with something, or things, that actually work. Or if not replace money altogether - reduce our dependence on money itself by focusing more on other forms of trade.

Perhaps we should look back in history at currency and trade systems of the past, as well as systems of the present.

Somehow, many of the 80% of people who make less than $10 a day are getting by, at least to an extent, even if we're nowhere near thriving.


Perhaps if I didn't have an essentially poverty-induced headache, I would be better able to come up with and implement some good ideas for improvements, both in my life and the world. Oh, well.

Guess that's all I write for now. (Edit, 9:36 AM: Well, aside from some later edits...) My headache is much worse now than when I started writing this. (Edit, 9:37 AM: Not to worry, it's getting better...)

Donations and microdonations are welcome.


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