Money: An Introduction

I’ve been having some difficulty deciding what to write about. With the election approaching, there seems to be an awful lot to discuss. I’ve finally settled on the one topic that’s central to everything else in this country: money.

When I was seventeen years old, I took a train trip from Germany to Greece, and along the way I had to pass through what was then called Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was a Marxist country, and as an American I was of some interest to the other passengers in my car. At one point a man approached me rubbing his forefinger and thumb together and smiling devilishly. “Capitalist. Eh?” he said. At that point in my life, I’d not given the question much serious thought. I wanted to be some kind of a poet, not an intellectual. It took me a while to come up with a response. Finally, I shook my head “no.” The man was visibly shocked. He stared at me, and in a voice filled with bewilderment and disbelief asked, “Communist?” I didn’t have to think about that one, and, again, I shook my head “no.” He still wanted an answer, and I looked to the floor of the train for one. After a bit, I raised my head and told him, “Social Democrat.” His face broke out into a huge smile and he gave me a hug, saying happily, “Me, too!”

While I’d heard of Social Democrats, I wasn’t  sure what they were exactly. In that moment it was a shorthand way of saying that I thought we should all take care of one another, but that we shouldn’t have to live under oppressive systems of government. In the past 43 years, my thinking hasn’t changed much—except that I now have much stronger reasons for believing what I do. Lately, I’ve been reading some books about what’s happening with money and the economy, and I have things I want to say. But I’m going to say them in a series of short posts. As always with this blog, I’m not prepared to sit down and write long ones. I have to reserve that kind of effort for Street Song.

Speaking of which, I’m still on my break. I’ve mostly been taking care of the small tasks of daily life and trying to get some rest. I’d been wondering if anxiety might begin to press in on me as I got closer to the starting point for the third draft (two weeks from now), but so far it hasn’t happened. My inner self seems comfortable with the fact and confident. A good sign.


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One Response to “Money: An Introduction”

  1. The Political Idealist Says:

    Quite a useful and accurate comparison that you make. Social Democracy is a system that should be revived, as free-market capitalism is too harmful.

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