Last night I got to attend a fascinating lecture by Dr. Aaron Kipnis on the psychology of money, organized by the Jung Society of Utah. What I loved about the presentation was that a) it was free, and b) it was a lecture given from a perspective of a highly trained / experienced therapist concerned with the well-being of individuals as well as society as a whole.
Some interesting things I noted from the lecture:
– Currency was originally tied to/backed by tangible resources of nature. For example, a gold coin represented a bag of wheat or a jar of honey. Today, the US currency is backed by – not gold – but by the Federal Reserve, which is funded by wealthy families like the Rockefeller’s and Rothschilds. Every dollar printed by the Federal Reserve is paying interest to the lenders of the this centralized private bank called the Federal Reserve, so the printed currency is really debt money that isn’t backed by anything other than more debt.
Crazy huh? I used to think US currency was backed by gold but it’s not. Money used to represent a tangible asset, now it just represents a crazy financial system we’ve bought into wherein rich people are getting richer off the interest we pay them to buy things we really couldn’t afford in the first place – and from a psychological stand point, we work hard for this money because we’ve been brought up in a system where we believe more money will buy more happiness. This isn’t true, which brings me to the next point.
– There are social and psychological studies that show that after a certain income is achieved ($75k ~ $130k depending on where in the US you live), gaining more income past those numbers do not add more to the level or amount of happiness a person feels in their personal lives.
– Dr. Kipnis did a documentary about women in the untouchable caste in India who broke past the bonds of poverty and the ever-greedy financial system by creating a pool of resources amongst themselves to start up a micro-economy. By collaborating and working together, they were able to come up with resources which grew into a big enough business that they were able to buy back land that their families had lived on for hundreds of years.
The point of this micro economy was that by pulling resources amongst collaborating individuals, they were able to come up with assets that did not demand payment of interest. Their resources did not come from a greedy lender, unlike the situation many of us find ourselves in today.
There was also a point made from this story that creating win-win situations between individuals and communities that collaborate to help each other is one of the keys to financial freedom and happiness. I would derive further that the financial collapse our country faces today were driven by concepts like “keeping up with the Jones’ ” orthat greater material wealth = happiness, which are both polar opposites of collaborating communities.
– The concept of local currencies is very much active and alive in our country and many other places in the world. Local currency is free from the debt of a nation’s centralized banking system wherein the currency actually represents a tangible product or service contributed by those who have bought into that system, and demands no interest payment from it’s participants. A perfect example which came to mind was Japan’s Fureai Kippu, which I had not heard of until I saw an awesome Sundance film last year The Flaw.
All in all, the message I derived from this lecture was that no amount of money can fill an empty self, and it’s time we realize that as individuals and as a nation because we have for so long bought into the idea that more (money) is better. I might even call it Capitalism. Some worship it as God, but I think it’s a system, although with good potential, is also a system too easy for greedy souls to manipulate for their own good and not the good of others or the masses.
A question was brought up on what specific things we could do to start fixing this system. First is stop buying and spending so much. The plastic credit card, which represents more than anything ‘imaginary money,’ and I’d even say bondage to the system, encourages us to buy more spend more. Try to use more cash and spend less. There are studies that show that people spend 60% less when they are paying for things with cash.
Support local businesses, local economy because then we’re spending less on shipping things from far away which costs a lot and is harmful to the environment as well. Maybe this collaboration could even eventually lead to local currency.
Lots of food for thought.
Jung Society of Utah, definitely worth checking out!!!
It’s every 1st Thursday of the Month 🙂