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Forum Post: Why not have people do something productive like build roads and schools rather than dig holes in the ground by j m keynes

Posted 11 years ago on Sept. 22, 2012, 6:02 a.m. EST by flip (7101)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

here is an explanation of keynes' money in bottles quote - a refutation of the gold standard (followed by the quotes themselves) - "Its particularly interesting to pull out the quote from Hume because he is not discussing the decision of a Central Bank to print more money but an increase in actual gold and silver.

Keynes is agreeing with this point and saying yes, if people were to discover more gold that would indeed boost employment through the same means that Hume describes.

However, the way one discovers gold is by digging holes in the ground. Which, in Keynes words, have no purpose other than the accumulation of gold which people intend to use a backing for money.

Why not then just bury money in the ground and let people dig that up?

This would have the same effect as the discovery of new gold deposits and would alleviate unemployment though the same means.

But, wait then he says. What in the world is the point of burying money in the ground just to dig it back up again?

Why not have people do something productive like build roads and schools rather than dig holes in the ground. In exchange you can give them money. It will work just like gold mining will but instead of having a hole in the ground to show for it, you have a road or a school."............. here is the quote from keynes - "If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing............For example, unemployment relief financed by loans is more readily accepted than the financing of improvements at a charge below the current rate of interest; whilst the form of digging holes in the ground known as gold-mining, which not only adds nothing whatever to the real wealth of the world but involves the disutility of labour, is the most acceptable of all solutions.



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[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 11 years ago

It's not rocket science.

[-] 1 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 11 years ago

I think it just shows what a farce it all is. A world without money is possible - can anyone here really insist that any of the things we have today simply could not have come into existence if there were no money?

For example - That with 300 million Americans wecould not possibly grow food to feed workers who were building a highway from New York to L.A. without money?

Beethoven wrote all his music without hardly a dime in his pants. Marconi sat alone at home and made a radio.

We surely could dig a hole in the ground, build a fire and melt the right rocks to make some copper bracelets - oh wait, humans did that about 20,000 years ago!! OF COURSE it is possible.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

sure a world without money is possible but so what - we are in the middle of a shit storm and you are pie in the sky. we are a long way from any real functioning democracy much less utopia. what this shows is that we have plenty of money to create full employment - even in htis current capitalist society - let's get that done first!

[-] 1 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 11 years ago

We could be a lot closer to a world without money that you think - in fact, speaking hypothetically, if there was more debt than assets, wouldn't that cancel out any value in the currency? If those debts were "called in" everything would collapse, wouldn't it?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

since money is debt then yes you ar eright but then what? is that what you would like collapse

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 11 years ago

Isn't that what QE3 is all about?

Printing shitloads more money to buy debt?

Or is it the fascists buying up all the housing bubble foreclosures, so that their efforts to turn the workers into slaves will be closer to complete?

[-] 1 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 11 years ago

Two things, not to sound like a lecture, but 1] money is debt backed by collaterol [assets] and the assets now have less value than the debt [until the 1980s, there was more assets than debt]. One sideline is natural resources, which they have counted as assets, including oil and gas an coal] - but they didn't count on "polluter pay", and so if pollution, and AGW[global warming] means using less oil then their little scheme won't work. Kaput. {and Kaput if we do keep burning the oil and gas and coal]

2] "the fascists buying up all the housing bubble foreclosures," - is called "Disater Capitalism" and it another reason we cannot trust capitalists. They are driven by greed, and we know that is a sin. If there is a sheep in wolves clothing, it is them. The DEMs and REPs are one force together behind capitalism.

We either have to get the Dems and Reps out of power and put "of by and For" leaders in - perhaps average people in govt., like Iceland did OR - the only other way to take control away from them is if the economy collapses. They control us with money,

But either way, it does appear that m

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 11 years ago

John Maynard Keynes a Fascist and a Colonialist

People don't know their history. And there are some people in Europe who, of course, came into adult life after World War II, who don't know their history on this thing, even people I respect as economists, otherwise. What happened is Roosevelt convened the Bretton Woods session under his authority in 1944. In the course of the proceedings, John Maynard Keynes and leading British economists, who had also endorsed fascism in 1938, in a book he wrote, part of the first edition of his General Theory. And so, Keynes made a proposal. Now, Roosevelt had not intended what Keynes meant. Roosevelt himself had not supported Keynes. Roosevelt was explicit during the war that, "When the war is over, Winston"—speaking to Churchill—"the British Empire is going to end."

Now, Keynes's system is based upon the British Empire, in terms of system. Keynes was a fascist. That's his background, as he said in the German edition, which is the first edition of his General Theory, published in 1938 in Berlin. He said he preferred to have his book published in Germany, at that time, because it would have a better reception and be more applicable in Nazi Germany, than it would be in a democratic country. And he was right.

Well, what happened is this. When Roosevelt died, Truman came in and Truman was a pig. Now the crucial issue was this: Roosevelt's policy was, "Winston, when this war ends, we're not going to have a British Empire. We're going to free these people, and we're going to help them develop and have their own independent governments." And Roosevelt had some very specific proposals he made, as at Morocco, on this particular question. But all through the war is that.

Now, I come out of this tradition, by various channels of the pro-Roosevelt period, who like General Donovan, the head of OSS, and others, were devoted to this intention of a post-war period, as Roosevelt defined it. And when Roosevelt was dying while in office, shortly after his Fourth Inauguration, Donovan went into the office to meet with the President, and came out gray-faced, saying to a friend of mine, who was with him at the time, "It's over. It's over." Which meant that Roosevelt's program for the post-war period, which had been the central driving force of all the real patriots of the United States, who understood this at that time, was ended, and the British were taking over.

What happened is that Truman adopted the British policy of not encouraging liberation of the colonies, but of reestablishing colonialism. And that's exactly what Truman did. Now, under these conditions, the intention of the formation of the United Nations and the intention of the Bretton Woods System, was subverted, because the intention had been to free colonial nations, by large-scale infrastructure projects and other things of development of these nations, and to protect them while they emerged from colonial status into sovereign nation-state status. Once that was done, remember the policy was, at the end of the war, Roosevelt's intention was to convert the greatest economic machine ever developed for war, and convert that into a large-scale infrastructure and development program for the included purpose of freeing colonized nations and peoples, for independent nation-state status. Under these conditions, therefore, the purpose of the Bretton Woods System was subverted under Truman. No longer was it freedom, but if you recall from the period, at least from studying the period, since most of you are younger, you'll remember that all the pro-colonial wars which the United States supported, as in Indo-China, as in Indonesia, and elsewhere, as in Africa, where they ran a dirty policy which is still running today--U.S. policy toward Africa stinks! It's murderous, deliberately so! Under Nixon, it got worse. It's colonialist. So therefore, Roosevelt's purpose for the Bretton Woods System was not carried out.

Under these conditions, where the British were taking more and more of a controlling role over the Anglo-American policy in the post-war period, the policies tended to go in the direction of Keynes's speech in 1944. So Roosevelt's intention was not Keynesian. But the British intention and Truman's intention, was. And that's what we've inherited.

Have we done anything, really done anything, to eliminate colonialism, except to find neo-colonialism? What's our policy toward Africa? What's our alignment, when we come up against the British on the question of Africa? What's the policy of the United States, respecting British policy toward Zimbabwe, for example? Or other nations? What is the policy of the United States with respect to what happened at the Lisbon Conference on the question of Africa? The United States is the enemy of black Africa. The United States is the enemy of anti-colonialism, because we believe in the free-trade, free market system, free to steal and free to trade in people. Free to trade in governments. So what's the standard for government? We don't approve of you because the British don't like you. We don't approve of your government because it doesn't support our policies. This is our problem.

So that's what's really involved with the Keynes issue. Keynes' policy was based on a feature of central banking, which he explained generally in all his works on this. It's no mystery. He's a central banker, in a central banking system which is opposite in purpose and effect to what the Federal Reserve System was conceived to be, even, and certainly what the U.S. Constitution conceived to be as an economic policy. So that's the issue.


[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

so what - and by the way the queen is a drug pusher

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

answer the question - so what?

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 11 years ago

So there.

... about as meaningful as the question.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

very well thought out response on the most important economic issue of the day - ok, i will spell it out why would it matter if he was a nazi or a martian if his analysis of the question of debt is "on the money" so to speak

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 11 years ago

If you want well thought out responses, you should ask well thought out questions. "So what?" does not qualify as "well thought out".

If, as a Nazi, his objective is to subject the world to the domination of a master race, he would mix truths with lies in order to attain that objective.

But you are just asking a hypothetical question anyway, saying "if his analysis..." rather than actually proving that it is on the money.

[-] 0 points by stinkyhippie (-7) 11 years ago

What's with brain dead liberals who only have ONE solution to creating jobs. Pave roads and hire more teachers.

Oh yea...that's right...those are more UNION jobs.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

smoke more weed stinky

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Because the premise of unlimited resources at minimal cost is a lie.

Preventing wars by not needing resources in another country is possibly the ideal economic model a truly civilized country could follow. Realizing that ultra efficiency of existing resources is pro economy is another aspect that is not respected or being pursued fast enough.

However, control over our lives already exists. All it takes is the raising of the price of water and electricity to control all of the wealth.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

you seem to be confusing resources - iron and copper etc with paper or electronic dollars. i agree about resources not about money

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

It's better to pay people to dig a hole and then fill it, then build a school when there are other schools standing empty. At least people got a workout and may actually be healthier as a result when they dig and fill a hole.

Once that new school is built, it requires vast resources to operate and maintain.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

come on now - is that what you think keynes is saying. you can't think of anything we need more than holes in the ground. smart grid, renewable energy, good bridges , rail - should i go on??

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

He was talking about artificially stimulating aggregate demand. Artificially creating 'shovel-ready' jobs to keep people busy. His point wasn't about productivity, it was about employment. About how the unemployment rate depends on demand, not production.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

seems like a good point to get people thinking today - we have lots of work that needs to be done and plenty of people who would like to to that work. too many politicians on both sides say "we have no money" - so maybe we can bury money in bottles!

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

the banking industry could create 100,000 jobs within a years time. Hire people to simply do customer assistance for the people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Instead of hard lining tens of millions of people by claiming "any debt restructure first requires a default", hire people to keep in touch with the tens of millions who are struggling and let them restructure their debts WITHOUT first defaulting.

Instead, the chosen path is to pretend these tens of millions of people don't exist, treat them like a number and default them when they can no longer keep up with the same level of payments they have been making, and then sock away billions in executive bonuses created by pretending tens of millions of people do not need assistance of any kind.

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

Ever heard of Alan Watts?

...on the fundamental confusion between money and wealth:

Remember the Great Depression of the Thirties? One day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and-up; and the next, unemployment, poverty, and bread lines. What happened? The physical resources of the country -- the brain, brawn, and raw materials -- were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump. Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees. But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, "Sorry, baby, but we can't build today. No inches." "Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood. We got metal. We even got tape measures." "Yeah, but you don't understand business. We been using too many inches and there's just no more to go around."

A few years later, people were saying that Germany couldn't possibly equip a vast army and wage a war, because it didn't have enough gold.

What wasn't understood then, and still isn't really understood today, is that the reality of money is of the same type as the reality of centimeters, grams, hours, or lines of longitude. Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft. He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard moter with gas, and a female companion.

Alan Watts - Does It Matter?

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Money is a way of consolidating wealth into a smaller area of space. This is a good thing at times, and a bad thing at other times.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

i am going to post this - i hope you don't mind

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

Of course not. And I really don't think that Alan Watts would mind (matter?) either.

I highly recommend checking out the rest of the book. As well as Still The Mind. They're both very rambling and yet they're both very worth it.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

i could never get into his books - i love his talks - i have heard most of them. do you know that part of his work. i think his son has set that up.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

brilliant - yes i have listened to many many hours of alan and i think he was amazing. i have heard him explain how we go to the store and buy food and wine (real wealth) and give the clerk green paper and feel a bit sad! he is great! i read his bio and he was quite a lush and a mess towards the end of his life. that has nothing to do with what i think of him - he has helped me understand the world in a way not possible before i listened to him. thanks for that piece of his - it is perfect for what ails the economy today.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Sure, I'm for those things. However, rail, why not make railroad cars out of super hard plastics that also have solar absorption capabllity?

In case it has gone unnoticed, most of the modern day products are much much lighter than they were 50 and 60 years ago. (not everything is lighter, but many things are definitely lighter).

So railroad cars can be made much much lighter. This in turn allows for less energy consumption, even less if the hardened plastic can absorb and transfer hardened plastics to electrical power, plus the railroad tracks will need less maintenance as well.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

nice idea - rail uses 1/40 the energy of trucking

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

thanks, although it can be argued that whenever rails cross through cities they do cause lots of motorists to use a bit more gas while idling at the train crossing.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

let's get rid of the motorists - i go through corning ny a few times a year. in the park is a plaque that says in 1896 12,000 train went through corning - we need the rails again

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Lets melt down the cars to make the rails!

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

and use solar to create the energy! we have alot of work to do - have you read buckminster fuller's book "spaceship earth" - written in 1969 and he is saying the same thing - and in a sometimes very weird and funny way!

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

I like, we'll get a huge magnifying glass that will have even more intensity because of global warming and aim it a car, then listen to the people inside scream and then get out of the car just before it melts.

Better still, divert the cars to an area where they can be melted into the shape of what they are to become all in one fell swoop.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

I'm curious if a NASA type of group is needed to fast track composite technology for the purpose of making as many things light and strong, and possibly energy absorbing as well.

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

Haha, "I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? PLASTICS."

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

I get that, (from "The Graduate", no?)

However, I don't think it is a good idea to experiment over the next 20 years coming up with the perfect plastic product. I'd like to see an accelerated program that gives us the best composite/plastic product in the shortest amount of time.

Plus, there are anti-plastic environmentalists who think plastics are about the worst thing that can be created.

One wonders, which is worse, burning petroleum as gasoline, or converting the petro into composite plastic instead and using the lightweight plastic/composites to significantly reduce petroleum use in the future.

Not only petroleum use however, but composites could signficantly increase the efficiency of batteries as well since batteries do exponentially better the less weight they have to move.

[-] 0 points by yobstreet (-575) 11 years ago

Who cares what Keynes is saying? Smart grid, renewable energy, bridges... should, and must, be constructed by private firms.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

and why would that be? just so you know i am in the ground array (solar) installation business (private!)

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

there are no empty schools in my city. They're using mobile home style units as add-ons at several schools because the student population continues to grow every year.

Schools are worth it.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

It's probably different all over the country. In some states there are rampant foreclosures and therefore less schools are needed.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

How do foreclosures affect the number of kids parents have?

I could see a school getting less students because people move due to foreclosures but that would mean a school somewhere else is growing.

Where are these nice empty schools you're talking about? I'm curious.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

If there is migration, then some schools get closed, and because of migration, other areas have to then have more schools.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

exactly... more schools.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Exactly, abandoned schools.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

What abandoned schools?

Maybe in your city. But from my experience the schools in my city are becoming overpopulated and I've been out of school for a while and our city population is still growing.

plan for the future.

You seem to be against anything that doesn't one hundred percent agree with your 20 hour work week theory.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Not at all, I simply said that migration causes some areas to lose population, and schools go unused, which is a huge waste of taxpayer resources.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

examples of perfectly good unused schools please. You made it sound like an epidemic of wasted money in previous comments.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

When Migration exists, schools get closed. One example is the Detrot, Michigan area.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

No one is suggesting to build schools where there are no kids.

Population sizes increase as time goes.

[-] 0 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Yes, but cities are dying. There are economic death spirals manifesting themselves in cities where the pension plans are becoming a bigger and bigger piece of the budget with each passing year.