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On Work : Nietzsche

December 16, 2014

Work Ethic - Nietzsche


Behind the glorification of ‘work’ and the tireless talk of the ‘blessings of work’…   …At bottom, one now feels when confronted with work – and what is invariably meant is relentless industry from early till late – that such work is the best police, that it keeps everybody in harness and powerfully obstructs the development of reason, of covetousness, of the desire for independence. For it uses up a tremendous amount of nervous energy and takes it away from reflection, brooding, dreaming, worry, love, and hatred; it always sets a small goal before one’s eyes and permits easy and regular satisfactions. In that way a society in which the members continually work hard will have more security: and security is now adored as the supreme goddess…”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn

See Here for what Wikipedia has on the subversive “Anti Work” movement 






Bitcoin is difficult to get your head around. But the general confusion invariably boils down to questions like “But what is it linked to?” and comments like: “It’s just too abstract”.

Lets look at the abstraction part. If there is one process that has defined the evolution of money since the beginning of time, it is abstraction. The only time there was zero abstraction was right in the beginning when people bartered goods. In a barter economy the”money” is the thing you are bartering. There is no separation between money and goods.

Bitcoin's appeal over the past 2 weeks

But such a system is highly inefficient, and evolution eventually casts the inefficient aside, ushering in more efficient systems. Precious metal coins proved more efficient than trading goats for wine, and although the coins themselves still held intrinsic value (the silver or gold in the actual coin), the new system was already one step removed from the actual things been bought and sold themselves. This step to coins then was the first abstraction.

Over the centuries gold coins began revealing inefficiencies of their own. They were heavy to carry (especially if you had lots) and attracted thieves. Hence the first “banks” began to appear – nothing more than safe-houses where you could “deposit” your gold coins in exchange for a paper receipt noting the amount of gold coins you had deposited. It didn’t take long from there for merchants to realise that they could trade their receipts without making a trip to the bank every time. This marked the birth of paper money, and with it another level of abstraction – paper standing for gold in banks and gold in banks, in turn, standing for the goats and wine that could be bought.

Paper money as receipt was a far more efficient system and retained its link to gold all the way until 1971 when Nixon finally took the US Dollar off the Gold Standard. Under the Gold Standard, every bank note issued had to have a certain percentage of gold stored in the issuing country’s reserves. This prevented governments from printing more paper money than they had gold to back it up with. It also provided security to holder of the bank note, because by law they could theoretically demand to exchange the paper money for gold at any time. But in 1971 this link was totally severed. From that day onwards nothing was left to back the paper money other than “trust in your government”, a trust that people are realising  is easily broken.

This brings us back to the first objection to bitcoin which I cited at the beginning of this article: “But what is it linked to?” What a lot of people don’t realise is that with the ending of the Gold Standard modern currencies are not linked to anything themselves. The link between paper (the receipts for the gold) and the gold itself was totally severed.

Indeed, some economists lay the blame of the world’s current financial mess precisely with the departure from the Gold Standard.  Investment in gold is still recognised as one of the only “safe haven” strategies in times of crisis. As our current world lurches from one financial crisis to the next the gold’s status, as the last “real” currency is finding favour . There is growing consensus that  the current financial system is somehow broken. One could argue that  in the 1970s the evolution of money took a wrong turn and the gold advocates are effectively saying  “OK, well lets dial back to the last version that actually worked, and repair the link between paper and something tangible”.

The recent introduction of  Bitcoin as an alternate currency gives us another option though. Bitcoin is undoubtedly a more efficient system than the existing mess world currencies are in. Instead of going backwards to what worked last century, we can take a brave leap forwards and embrace the next step in the evolution of money. Yes, Bitcoin is abstract. Yes, it is not linked to any gold bars buried deep inside some Fort Knox. It doesnt pretend to be. But when it comes to efficiency it is quantum leaps ahead of anything else. Any amount of Bitcoin can be instantly and directly transferred to any person on the planet for no more than the cost of an email. No bank tellers, no middlemen, no paperwork, no foreign exchange departments. Micropayments, which the internet economy has been crying out for ever since its beginnings, can finally become a reality.

There will definitely be those that try to derail Bitcoin. Inefficient systems always skew the rewards to those controlling the system, so there is much to lose. You can rest assured that there is an agitated group of central bankers sitting in a boardroom plotting Bitcoins demise right now. But nobody ever turned back evolution, not even Governments, and in this writer’s opinion nobody ever will. ..




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Bitcoin: Political Ramifications

1 April 2013

If and when Bitcoin becomes a mainstream issue, it is going to undoubtedly throw a cat amongst the political pigeons… and doves… and hawks. To show what I’m saying I’m going to use the excellent Nolan Chart depicting the different streams in US political thought as plotted against the axes of “Belief in Personal Freedom” […]

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Bitcoin: Prepare for the next Revolution

30 March 2013

If you haven’t heard about Bitcoin yet – the new “opensource” digital currency – brace yourself, because you’re gonna! The actual mechanics of Bitcoin are fairly technical to grasp at first but explaining them is not within the scope of this, my first article on the matter. Lots has been written elsewhere and there is […]

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American politics – am I missing something?

27 October 2011

I am not an American citizen. I live far away. However American politics ultimately affects me along with everyone else on the planet. So I watch whats going on from the outside and am often very puzzled with what I see. In my opinion the OccupyWallStreet movement is well overdue. And I’m hoping it can […]

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5 Concrete demands of Occupy Wall Street

19 October 2011

Whilst Corporate-backed Big Media try to paint the international Occupy movement into a chaotic, left-wing hole – some very bright people within the movement are coming up with solid and practical solutions: 1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically […]

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Quotes for #Occupy Wall Street

17 October 2011

One thing everybody can agree on – we’re living in exciting times. The global Occupy Wall Street movement has been a long time coming. Many of the sentiments emanating from the slogans and placards will resonate for decades to come. As an avid collector of Quotable Quotes here are some quotes from Pre-OccupyWallStreet which I […]

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The scary, yet overlooked truth about the Euro crisis.

3 October 2011

“As they paraded out of their summit chamber late Thursday to hail their new €xxx billion ($xxx billion) debt deal for Greece, Europe’s leaders all wore bullish I-told-you-so expressions, aimed squarely at the doubters who questioned whether there was any political will left to save the beleaguered euro from oblivion.” If you’ve been following the […]

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When Corporations rule the world

29 August 2011

“Corporations are getting better and better at seducing us into thinking the way they think—of profits as the telos, and responsibility as something to be enshrined in symbol and evaded in reality. Cleverness as opposed to wisdom. Wanting and having instead of thinking and making. We cannot stop it. I suspect what’ll happen is that […]

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Where the world went wrong…

21 December 2010

In 1955, economist Victor Lebow stated: “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an […]

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