This post is in the same vein as my previous post:
There is no I in Teamwork
My thought is to take a well-known and maybe overused saying and turning it on its head. I am sure everyone has heard the saying that “the ends justify the means” usually in conjunction with questionable activities that someone is trying to justify after the fact. I felt that flipping the phrase around could be equally educational. What if we looked at some of our modern problems with the mindset of “the means justify the ends”. In other words, the means we use to achieve our goals may have a profound impact on the ends we reach. Sometimes, the immediate ends may look like we planned them to be; however, the means we used to reach them may leave an indelible mark on the end product. As time goes by, the true costs of our means may come back to haunt us.
One example that comes to mind is Communism. Setting aside the whole human nature issue, the ideals behind the movement are actually noble and a fine goal to strive for; however, look at who they chose to lead them to their utopia, Joseph Stalin. A man who killed as many of his own people as the Germans did during WWII. The taint of his paranoid control carried on long after his death and shaped the future of Communism. The end nature of Communism was justified by the means used to obtain it.
Now take our brand of Capitalism for example. Yes, it looks quite wonderful, a large economy generating lots of wealth. Food quickly available at any hour of the day, cars parked by every house, and shelter for the masses. Well, maybe it isn’t all that shiny after all, but it is far better than anything else. Just because you can put your foot through the floorboard doesn’t mean the car is unsound. You know, I do wonder about some of the means we used to achieve this juggernaut we are riding.
Back in the days of Rockefeller and JP Morgan, some of the wealthiest Americans and the large bank owners weren’t happy with the growth of our economy. They felt that holding our monetary system to the Gold Standard was limiting our potential. Why the heck should we actually have money equivalent to the actual assets we can produce? So they designed the Federal Reserve Bank. A bank that has no over site from the government and is basically run by the bankers, you know, the ones from back in 2008. They decided, with the then government’s blessing, to set up a system where more money could be printed than was backed by real assets. They then used this (fake) money to build their might empires. Empires we use as positive lessons in our history and economic classes. We as a country said “wow, look at what we can do with all this money” without ever looking at how it came to be in our hands. So, what do you do with a good thing? You run with it! Which is what the banks and Wall Street have been doing ever since.
The funny thing is that this works, as long as no one comes around asking for the actual assets instead of the paper money. As long as no one gets afraid that our economy and banking system is nothing more that a ponsi scheme with the one percent at the top, it works. Of course, there are hiccups. You know like when the Savings and Loans failed because of poor lending practices or maybe during the Great Depression when banks loaned out more money then they could cover with assets. Money that was already made valueless by the Federal Reserve. There have also been numerous bubbles that have crashed upon our economy over the years, as well as, that little mess back in 2008. They all seem to have one thing in common, banks and people making loans that they could not cover.
Basically, the people who created the Federal Reserve wanted to take a shortcut to having even greater wealth and the prosperity they created has come at the expense of our present. The spiraling national debt, the fragility of our economy, and the widening gape between the rich and poor can mostly be traced back to this decision. The means are just now justifying our ends. Think about it.
By the way, by “lender of last resort”, the Federal Reserve means the U.S. Government, which means we the Taxpayers. We have no say in how they run the reserve, but when they screw up, we get the bill. Man, I don’t think I would get such an option. Maybe I should ask a Republican Congressman.