Erik wigertz how to spend it

How do you change the world?

A few years ago I had a discussion with other WU students. It was about the exploration of space. One said he thought it was perverse that we put so much money into exploring strange worlds while people are still starving to death here on earth. Another answer was dangerously sound: "The money does not fly into space, it stays on earth anyway!"

This answer is worth mentioning because on the one hand it is so enticingly convincing, on the other hand, in this simple delusion, it represents the confusion of economics. Because what's the fault with this thought?
The mistake is not seeing the connection between production and distribution. The money stays on earth, that's right. But the money system is a system of distribution, a system of power. The monetary system regulates who, what, where, how and for whom produces. If money flows into the exploration of the universe, it does not flow into world food. Rockets are produced instead of food. But if so, who has the power to change things in the world? Who decides what will be produced?

The following can be said about power: It is a relation. There are always two that belong to it. Power is not something that a person simply has. Rather, one person claims it for himself and another gives it to her. She recognizes this and obeys the given commands. Many scientists have already recognized this, for example Ludwig von Mises:

“No violence can insert the individual directly into the coercive community. The use of violence and the threat of violence can create a situation in which obedience and submission appear more advantageous to the individual than rebellion and disobedience. Given the task of choosing between the consequences of rebellion and the consequences of submission, he decides in favor of submission and thus integrates himself into the lordly association. Every single command gives him the same choice over and over again. ”(Ludwig von Mises, Economics, Theory of Action and Economics, buchausgabe.de: Flörsheim, 2010, page 182f)

Hannah Arendt expresses this thought as follows:

“No one individual has power; it is owned by a group and only exists as long as the group sticks together. When we say of someone that he "has the power" it really means that he is authorized by a certain number of people to act on their behalf. The moment the group that empowered the ruler and gave him power (potestas in populo - there is no power without a »people« or a group), when »its power« disappears, »its power« disappears.

You could also put it this way: At the exact moment in which we describe someone as powerful, we also manifest the idea of ​​power and thus the recognition of power!
In my second diploma thesis I already worked out what this recognition means for the monetary system itself! Today's dominant power structure worldwide is capitalism. The orders that are given emanate from the money users and the price makers. With every euro that we spend ourselves, we issue such orders. If we change our commands, we change the world.

Changing the world should mean: changing people's behavior. Changing the world means turning unproductive, unsustainable, unsuccessful, inefficient behavior into its opposite. The best way to change the world today is through money and the market. Because money has become the global mediator and ruler. Today, if you have the means, you can buy anything on the market. There are only a few things that cannot be bought. Things that cannot be bought today are probably not yet feasible. This efficiency of the market, as is well known, is both its curse and its blessing. If everything can be bought and sold on the market, the sense of this efficient mechanism is controlled by the buyers, the consumers, the financiers. Through our collective consumption we control what is produced and what is achieved! Therefore, a solution to today's problems in the world: hunger, war, exploitation, lack of freedom, ... in changing our behavior and especially our consumer behavior. Because through consumer spending we change the behavior of others!

So the imperative in today's money-driven world is: If I want something to happen, then I have to pay for it!
If I don't pay for it, then I don't want it to happen either. If I pay for something, I want it to happen!

All too seldom do we take responsibility for this world. We often ask ourselves: "How did the Third Reich happen?" And show ourselves how it is happening in a modified form around the world today. Instead of doing everything we can to ensure that no more children starve to death, we prefer to buy a new cell phone and not even see the connection. We believe we are innocent. It is extremely time-consuming to produce a cell phone. If we were to use the euros we spent to order that this effort be put into fulfilling the basic needs of people (living, eating, health) worldwide, it would happen. But we prefer to look the other way and think: "Well, they should just eat cake". What is progress worth if it only helps a minority? Can you even call that progress?
If I know that children are being exploited when assembling cell phones and then I buy such a cell phone, then I support this kind of exploitation. I am saying: keep it up! You have my approval!

What would happen if the demand that flows into the development of today's cell phones flows into another product: into preventing world hunger? If I buy that a person's basic needs are met? At least according to the classical economic theory, profit-maximizing companies would immediately want to take care of the offer! This would then be a form of consumption that is social for the buyer! He consumes that another can consume! The problem with such social ventures: They have to find customers who are willing to pay for a product that does not immediately push an item into their hands, but that changes something for the better in the world in the long term. It would be a product, the effect of which is not immediately noticeable. You might only notice an effect if you hadn't bought this product. You do not notice that a child does not starve miles away. Or the prevention of a catastrophe like climate change would not be noticed either.

The earth from above

And this is where space exploration comes full circle: If I want more money to go into solving the great social problems of humanity, then I have to pay for it and, on the contrary, pay less for unimportant or even anti-social items! If I want research to address the problem of world hunger instead of finding even better displays for computers, then I have to raise money and channel it into the right channels! If something happens in this world and I hold an institution responsible for it, then I actually have to see to myself whether I somehow co-finance this institution! Then I have to see if I can buy something that could prevent these deeds!