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Money is trust

Money is a highly complex social invention. It’s the foundation of our lives. Without money there is no exchange of commodities, no supermarkets, no electricity, gas or water supply, no telecommunications, no civil society at all.

Should the financial markets collapse the vast majority of human beings in the developed countries bereft of infrastructure would die within weeks. Without payment, there would be no police – social infrastructure would crash as well.

What’s the foundation of the foundation of our lives? It’s trust.

  • It’s the trust in money: it will be worth its denomination – tomorrow, next month, next year.
  • It’s the trust in our communities, into our states and governments: If I lend it to the state, if I entrust my community with it, I will (at least) get it back – tomorrow, next month, next year.
  • It’s the trust in banks: If I put my money into your care, I will (at least) get it back – tomorrow, next month, next year.
  • It’s the trust in corporations: If I buy your stocks, I will earn a profit – at least within the next decade.

I cannot trust a crook, I cannot trust a person or institution without any moral principles. And I cannot trust a pauper with money.

That’s why moral, integrity and dignity are the foundations of our life’s foundation. That’s why Obama’s statement “we have a deficit of trust” troubles me so much.

Can we trust a federal government with $1.2 trillion deficit? Yes we can. Yes we should – because we have to.

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