Despite the low budget, this film was engaging. The main thing I took away from it, which was shocking to me, is that banks just make up trillions of dollars to ‘loan’ to the federal government, and then the government owes them billions in interest. So banks are making money by doing nothing, leaving taxpayers in debt.
Call me stupid, but I had never realized this before. In 2015, the U.S. spent $223 billion, or 6 percent of the federal budget, paying for interest on the debt. That’s absolute bullshit. They have to pay interest on money that the banks MADE UP to lend them in the first place. What a fucked up system.
But honestly, I don’t know. I know NOTHING about our financial system, to be honest. I know a bit about bitcoin, especially the slightly more technical parts. But I know NOTHING about banking, or the history of banks, or the history of finance. A lot of things that I watch or read leave me wanting a lot more information, and feeling like I’m only getting part of the story.
Here’s this article, about how congress was bouncing their checks and not getting fees, and their constituents complained about it:
Why should congress get hit with fees when the fees they have to pay come out of OUR pockets? This is an absurd article on an absurd site.
Oh, nevermind, it was their personal checks that weren’t getting charged. Not a big deal, but I’m glad they fixed it.
Taking Macroeconomics freshman year of college, I immediately knew that the professor was oversimplifying things, and that his graphs of supply and demand were honestly just plain useless.
THE FREE MARKET
I think the myth of the free market is a lie people tell themselves because they want to *feel* free.
As Max Weber says, bureaucracy helps the economy because it slows things down to a predictable and manageable pace. I think he’s right - I think more people are better off when we have a predictable market with red tape and socialism and a large middle class and state controlled funds. Better off financially though. Mentally, they might feel trapped and frustrated, so they might be worse off overall. In which case, the free market would IN FACT be better. Is it better to be fair or to be free?
THE HISTORY OF FINANCE
Why don’t people talk about the history of finance the way they talk about the history of war, or the history of politics?
People are interested in hearing stories of people, and the history of finance is largely anonymous. Probably this is because bankers don’t want people to know or understand what they’re doing. J.P. Morgan - who was he? Chase? What about Charles W. Morse?
Oh wow, J.P. Morgan merged my great great uncle’s electric company with Edison Electric! He had a lot of the same interested as me. philosophy, electricity, teaching, science:
Life goal - have a wikipedia page as good as Edwin Houston. I feel very close to him - as if I shared his genes (I do). Maybe I should do a series of blog posts about him.
WOW. Old J.P. was a fascinating character. I started out the article convinced that I would hate him, and ended up liking him quite a bit. What a life! He was the vision of the protestant work ethic - doing work to stay busy and make things more efficient, not necessarily to get rich. Charles Morse was his antipode, doing things just to get rich quick, and failing in everything. It’s funny that he has his own wikipedia page when he was such a giant fucking failure.
Although suffering ill health, J. P. Morgan testified before the Pujo Committee and faced several days of questioning from Samuel Untermyer. Untermyer and Morgan's famous exchange on the fundamentally psychological nature of banking—that it is an industry built on trust—is often quoted in business articles:
Untermyer: Is not commercial credit based primarily upon money or property?
Morgan: No, sir. The first thing is character.
Untermyer: Before money or property?
Morgan: Before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it … a man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom.
Ok, I have quite a bit of reading to do about finance.
I wish someone would write a copy of this article with cartoon illustrations:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_(finance). Maybe that's my next project.