If People Move, Money Move

Money doesn’t exist intrinsically, by itself, isolated from context. It’s a collective hallucination, hence it relies on people constantly creating it.

Our minds are tricking us into believing that money is “solid” and “real”, but that’s just another example of how magic thinking helps us cope with the unpredictability and uncertainty of our lives.

To understand how this magic thinking works, think for a second at a bag of money. The first and most important thing about that bag of money is its value. Just by thinking at a bag filled with paper, you implied some sort of wealth, automatically.

But now try to enlarge the context around that bag of money. Enlarge the space around that bag and imagine you’re holding that bag in a middle of a city. In this context, the value you assigned to the bag is real: with whatever you have in it you can get accommodation, food, clothes, transportation, entertainment and so on.

I want you to pay close attention now: replace the context around the bag with an empty island. You’re on an empty island, no human being on site, no shops, no restaurants, nothing, just you and that bag of money. How much value is in that bag of money? Absolutely zero. Or maybe, if it gets cold during the night, you will be able to make a fire with that paper, but it won’t last long.

The desert island can be replaced with a forest, the top of mountain, any area in which you can’t interact with other people.

In the absence of people, there is no value assigned to money. They’re just some paper.

Stay Home, Save Lives

One of the most popular slogans of the Covid pandemic was “stay home, save lives”. The underlying truth was that by reducing social contact, you reduce the possibility of the virus to propagate. To a certain extent, this is very true.

But reducing social contact does not necessarily mean reducing people movement.

Even if you stayed at home, like the vast majority of the population, there was still a significant part of the world that kept on moving. If you ordered food online there were people delivering ingredients, cooks cooking and couriers delivering the food. They were moving on. Also, there were quite a few layers of the society which kept on functioning, like those supervising basic services like water, electricity, garbage collection and so on.

Only a part of the world remained at home. The rest kept on moving.

Im not questioning the validity of the measure, it is what it is already, and it can’t be changed anyway. I’m not going into the anti-plandemic discourse, but rather try to peak into what benefits this situation created for some people, while depriving other people of opportunities.

Those Who Control People’s Movement, Also Control Their Money

This morning I passed by a small restaurant that I noticed a few times before. It’s on a narrow street, not very popular. It did had very good music and the owner seemed nice, but this morning I saw a sign on the door: “Bar and Restaurant For Sale”.

And that was, in fact, the inception of this article.

The owner had to close because people aren’t moving as they used to. There are no customers anymore. And because people aren’t moving around his area, he can’t generate income anymore.

The alteration of the moving patterns was incredibly deep, it affected an immense part of the economy, far more than we see now. And it’s the small owners, those who rely on proximity population to generate income.

In this specific case, travel is restricted, and even when it will be officially open, I guess the number of people who choose travel will be significantly lower.

Now imagine that you know exactly when the restrictions will be lifted. That means you know when people will start to move. That means you know when money will start to be generated again. You can go in and “invest” in a few businesses that will benefit from that, leveraging an unfair advantage over the small owners.

Now imagine that you know exactly when the restrictions will be imposed again (because of [insert your favorite new “deadly virus variant” here]). That means you know when people will stop moving. That means you know when money will stop being generated again. You can “take profits” before that’s happening, leaving small owners with their positions open, so to speak.

There is a lot more that’s happening beyond the discourse that we’re seeing (and I’m talking in general, not only in this case). Also, not denying the virus, or the illness, just looking at how, because of this event, some of the knobs and switches controlling people’s movement have changed owners, concentrating in the hands of very few.

It’s just a matter of time until greed and corruption will catch up with those very few, just a matter of time until restrictions will be played out for more reasons than the public health. There’s still enough fear lingering around to create plenty of space for these maneuvers.

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