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By Dave Winer on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 10:43 AM.

Some people say we should take our money out of the big banks. #

This is part of a larger discussion about the lives we live, and the scale of the human species. It's the largest discussion we can have as long as we limit ourselves to our presence on this planet.  #

I tried, when my bank refused to let money flow to Wikileaks, to move from it to another bank. But the new bank was just as bad. Money is defined in terms of those big banks. If you want to break that bond, there are a lot of other bonds you have to break. And when you're done breaking things, you're going to find that the planet can only support a fraction of the human life it now supports. And there will be a lot more sickness, and less cool stuff to read and watch and listen to. You can't just yank the plug on civilization and still have civilization. #


We have been here before. The hippies wanted to live off the land. My hippie uncle even did it. He bought some land in a what was then a rural part of Florida and built a geodesic house with no electricity or phone. A bunch of his friends came to live there from New York and Pittsburgh. I went to visit many times, and it was nice. But I always went home to places where I had the full support of modernity.  #

I couldn't, at this stage of my life, choose a different path. And if I were his age, when he decided to live that way, I wouldn't do it, knowing what I now know.  #

A picture named cokeMachine.jpgGetting back to money. I hear people say we should return to the gold standard, as if gold was some objective form of value. It's no more objective than the money system we have now. If you poke at the reality of money, go through the suspension of disbelief that we all accept its value without understanding where it comes from, you'll realize that it has no value so its value comes from nowhere. Same with gold, same with anything you choose as your "objective" instrument of value. But look at all the substantial real stuff the myth of the value of money has created. That's why the Ron Paul advocates are so totally wrong about the nirvana they imagine. They should think about it this way. Suppose you win, and everyone says OK, let's do it your way. What's the first thing you'd do, and the second and third. Where are we all going to live? What about the money in our bank accounts right now? What will we do with that? How do you turn the clock back to the time we were running on the gold standard? All those people are dead now, so their money doesn't matter, right? And all of our current money is "fiat" money -- yes? So what now? #


Like it or not, we are dependent on all these things we don't like to keep us alive. There's less room for originality than you were told there was. This is a lie we all come to grips with. When I was young, we marched in the streets because we were so unhappy with the world that was left to us. But ultimately we realized that if we shook it until it broke, we would have nothing left. We have to shake it, for sure -- but we have to keep the old system working while we boot up a new one.  #

I love the example of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. A decision was made in the 1990s to replace half the bridge, and rebuild the other half. And all this had to be done while the bridge, which is core to the flow of life in the Bay Area, continued to function. The human species is good at this kind of evolution. And when all is said and done, there will be a new bridge where the old one stood, and the people who travel over it will not remember that there was another bridge here, or care.  #

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