For The Love of Money

Recently my OH has got a bee in his bonnet about bitcoin.  In my mind bitcoin is a sort of gold-coloured object like the new pound coins which you bite on to see if it’s real.  But although OH has tried several times to explain what bitcoin actually is, I have no concept of it.  Apparently it’s a thing you make yourself, though what manner of thing I don’t know.  Maybe you need a 3-D printer?

One thing I do understand – bitcoin is an alternative to money which can make money.  At the moment, anyway, until everyone gets into it.

All of this reminds me somewhat of the Leaf.  The Leaf was an alternative currency used by Leicester LETS (Local Exchange and Trading Scheme) a group who offered skills and goods without the use of LSD.  By which I mean pounds, shillings and pence (hang on, that ought to be LP now…) anyway, the idea was to use skills and to exchange goods which would otherwise not be saleable in the mainstream economy.  Hence if you were good at gardening but without qualifications or experience, you could offer your skills, get paid in Leaves and then use those Leaves to buy, say, an old bike or some window-cleaning.

In theory it was great.  What led to its eventual demise was that people got just as hung up on the value of their leaves as they did about cash.  People ended up with leaves they couldn’t spend because either they couldn’t find what they wanted or there was a gap in the economy.  It was like having vouchers for McDonalds…

But my take on it was, it ought not to matter.  The point was not the Leaf per se; the point was to do things for each other which otherwise wouldn’t have got done, and to recycle things which would otherwise have gone to landfill (though Freecycle has now taken over this role.)

LETS groups tended to work best in smaller, contained communities where people already knew each other.  In a large city such as Leicester there were sadly too many people prepared to take without giving.

But I’ve strayed from my point, which was going to be this: in the end, no matter what currency you have, whether it’s bitcoin or Leaves or pounds sterling, none of it is real.  It is merely a system which everyone has agreed to treat as if it were real.  On the back of a fiver it says (I’m working from memory here since I don’t have any actual notes to look at) ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of five pounds.’  In other words, it’s a promissory note.  It ain’t real.

And these days when we’re more likely to see figures on a screen than notes and coins, it becomes less real by the day.

It’s true – I’ve bitten it.

Which brings me  finally to the most often misquoted passage of the Bible.  It isn’t money that’s the root of all evil: it’s the love of money:

I think we can see this every day.

Kirk out




Money can’t buy me

I started my Thoughts this morning with a rant about money; not so much about the Undeserving Rich as the post-Thatcher zeitgeist and how money has permeated nearly every aspect of life and rotted it from within.  It’s true that you can’t live without money – but you can’t live without food either, and putting food first and foremost in your life (living to eat) has consequences which are only too plain.  According to ‘Today’ nearly 1/5 of adults in India are now overweight.  I dread to think what it is here – it must be over half. * And it seems to me that we have abandoned the old idea which everyone took for granted, that money can’t buy happiness; and slid into the illusion that it kinda sorta can.  Money can’t buy me love – oh yeah?  Well, if you’re rich enough you can buy a toy-boy (or girl) to hang on your arm.  Yeah, it’s not love – but it’s close enough.  And as for the idea that money can’t bring back your youth – that’s laughable.  The rich turn the clock back every year and don’t put it forward again in the Spring.  (LOL.)  Dorian Gray is alive and well and living in the Big Brother house.

Mark got a piece of paper out of his dressing-gown pocket this morning and announced that he was going to read the agenda.  I banged my teaspoon and called the meeting to order, first checking we were quorate, then allowed him to continue.  This reminded me of IPAS meetings – IPAS was a small but perfectly-formed alternative to Camra which consisted of me, Peter, Bob, Patrick, Noel and Them Up North.  I think at one point I was chair – if so I was bloody useless as I can never shut people up.  And there were people who needed shutting up.  (Not you, Bob.)

So, Gaddafi’s dead.  He hardly deserves to rest in peace and I can’t say I’m sorry he’s dead, though bringing him to trial might have been more useful in terms of getting info out of him.  Or so Mark maintains, though I’m not so sure: I suspect he may have played games for ever.  But maybe not.  I guess it’s always better to bring people in alive but I’m actually glad he’s dead: it has a finality about it and a sense of justice.  I’m not proud of that feeling and it doesn’t sit well with my views in general – but there it is.  The man was a monster.

I’d better move on before I start excreting tabloid headlines.

An Idea

And finally, this: what about a black production of Macbeth where the plot was twisted to show his ambition in a much more favourable light; showing the character as far more sympathetic and his murders more understandable; where the witches were brought up to date as in Harry Potter – and you could call it…

wait for it…


Kirk out

* According to Holly’s Biology text-book it is over 25%