This thought occurred to me as I was paying a hefty deposit on my new apartment the other day. Every minute and every second of our lives, we are paying money to someone for our right to live.
Rent is the obvious example here. If you’re paying 1000 pounds rent per month then you’re paying 0.000386 pounds per second. If you don’t have rent, then perhaps you have a mortgage. Perhaps you’re rich and/or already paid off everything, and you own a house that is yours and yours alone. More on that later.
The next obvious resource that we are all paying for is food. We require a bare minimum amount of it to live. We either buy it, thereby paying directly for our existence, or produce it ourselves, paying for it indirectly because we pay/paid for the land to grow it on.
Now you want to connect to people. Make friends, perhaps even start a relationship. You need to pay for this. Nothing comes free. Dates cost money, doing activities together costs money, having a monthly mobile phone contract so you cna keep in touch with your friends costs money. All of these items together form a steady stream of money. I am visualizing this as an electricity meter, slowly counting down to 0, dropping x $/£ every second. Hit Points. Health. Energy. In the real world, it’s money. And when it drops to zero, game over.
So what if you have enough of this ‘money’ entity to live comfortably for the rest of your life? Well, you can never really be sure that you can. If you’re rich, then you will have to pay money to have money. People may look towards money as the golden standard to determine if they are ‘set for life’, but that’s just wrong. External factors greatly influence the value of your money, most notably the country that you live in and the bank that stores it. Banks go bankrupt. Countries can steal your land and pretend it’s for the greater good (even though they might pay you more money to take it, it’s not your own choice). Even if you manage your money yourself, inflation will make it worthless over time. Even if you own your own property, countries may take it back whenever they feel like it. I guess what I’m trying to say is: money does not equal freedom.
I don’t know about you, but that really annoys me. I like to live efficiently, either spending the minimum amount possible on something, or spending a decent amount to get something good. And there are many cases in real life where I am not getting enough out of my money. Using rental agencies for apartments is one example. The only thing they do is leech money off of both sides as the middle man. Job recruiters operate in a similar way. Mobile phone contracts in Europe are a great example of how to extort massive amounts of money from consumers with very little effort. Oftentimes we are semi-forced to spend money on things that we will never even need.
I don’t like money. You may not believe this, as I am currently developing software for the financial sector, but I assure you that I don’t like money. A lot of the things I value in my life do not, or should not require money; or could at least be cheaper than they are at the moment. I see society as the direct instigator for this thirst for money, and I do not believe that investing (money, work, resources) in this society is ever going to make things any better. Society needs a lot of changes to be able to keep up with the current advances in technology, so that things can eventually balance out again. We pay for every moment of our lives, but the price that we’re paying is way too high.