Money is a side effect of specialization. In a specialized society, most of the things you need, you can’t make for yourself. If you want a potato or a pencil or a place to live, you have to get it from someone else.
How do you get the person who grows the potatoes to give you some? By giving him something he wants in return. But you can’t get very far by trading things directly with the people who need them. If you make violins, and none of the local farmers wants one, how will you eat?
The solution societies find, as they get more specialized, is to make the trade into a two-step process. Instead of trading violins directly for potatoes, you trade violins for, say, silver, which you can then trade again for anything else you need. The intermediate stuff— the medium of exchange— can be anything that’s rare and portable. Historically metals have been the most common, but recently we’ve been using a medium of exchange, called the dollar, that doesn’t physically exist. It works as a medium of exchange, however, because its rarity is guaranteed by the U.S. Government.
The advantage of a medium of exchange is that it makes trade work. The disadvantage is that it tends to obscure what trade really means. People think that what a business does is make money. But money is just the intermediate stage— just a shorthand— for whatever people want. What most businesses really do is make wealth. They do something people want.
Stereotyped as “hyper-breeders,” Latinas have been targets of involuntary sterilization campaigns from Puerto Rico to California. Since 1994, with California’s Proposition 187 which sought to prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing public services, we’ve seen bill after bill designed to deny immigrant women the reproductive health care they need to make healthy and safe decisions about pregnancy.
Within the past decade, under administrations that have some of the worst track records on deportation, immigrant parents have been further characterized as “unfit” to care for their children. The Race Forward report, “Shattered Families” documents how common it is for detained parents to lose custody of their children to the foster care system, all due to poorly designed justice systems, and assumptions about how one should parent.
The reproductive and parenting choices of Latinas, and particularly indigenous Latinas, are often attacked as greedy, backwards, or uneducated, their lifestyles considered unhealthy. Here’s what is wrong and unhealthy: the reproduction of nativist, racist beliefs, and stereotypes about the choices that indigenous women and Latinas make about their bodies, pregnancies, and parenting.
“The “Terminator” franchise proposes a future in which humans are fighting against Sky Lab, an Artificial Intelligence. At least that’s what the humans think they are fighting. An alternative way to think about this future, is that there is no Artificial Intelligence. Instead, the elites have separated themselves from the proletariat and have begun a genocidal war against them using killer drones. Which future is more likely? A menacing singularity or a group of resistance fighters being hunted down by drones from an unknown enemy? I imagine that it must feel a lot like the latter in Afghanistan. Polls show that 92% of Afghans have never heard of 9/11. They are presently fighting a war with no history, and no future.”—
“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”—bell hooks (via ethiopienne)
“Twenty-one million people with disabilities did not vote,” said [Christopher] Dodd. “That made the disabled communities the single largest demographic group of nonvoters in the United States of America. At that time, only 16 percent of polling places were physically accessible. And not one, not one of the nearly 500 polling locations which the General Accounting Office (GAO) visited on Election Day in 2000, had special ballots adapted for blind voters.”—
My polling place is not accessible (the line to vote goes up an enormous staircase), so I have to use the “special” accommodations instead of voting like everyone else.
But if I didn’t know about that option, I would’ve just turned away. And what about all the people that don’t consider themselves disabled and wouldn’t ask for accommodations but also can’t stand in line for HOURS at a time, either because of their knees or their hearts or their kids or their jobs?
Not to mention these absurd “voter ID” laws that require people of color, poor people, old people, students, and disabled people - disproportionately - to stand in line at the DMV for hours on end just for the “privilege” <ahem shouldn’t it be a right> to vote.
“But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”—George Orwell (via azspot)