“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (William Shakespeare)
In this case the “rose” in question is a scam which is being perpetrated upon the people of the world. And while a rose by any other name will smell as sweet, a scam by any other name can pick our pockets just as clean. Though legal under current law, this scam flies in the face of centuries of recognized ethics and morality. This scam is quite possibly the single most important tool in the creation and maintenance of the vast economic inequality rampant in the western world. This scam is the stock market and it’s related tools and devices. There is a word we don’t encounter much these days. Probably because the “greed is good” crowd considers it obsolete; the word is usury. Usury originally referred to any interest charged on money loaned. However, as time has gone on, the definition changed and usury took on the meaning of charging exorbitant and/or extortionate amounts of interest. There is still some room for interpretation in that definition. What is exorbitant or extortionate?
It all boils down to the idea of community. Are we a united people living within a community for our mutual support and well-being? Or are we predators feeding off one another until a “last man standing” gets to claim an empty victory?
The stock market is possibly the most successful use of renaming and restructuring in order to disguise and carry forward a heinous practice. The practice of usury. You see, by renaming business financing from a “loan” to a “sale of stock”, it functionally enables the financier to charge an infinite amount of interest. Selling stock is, in a very real way, just accepting financing (a role filled by lending practices before the advent of the stock market) which you can never, ever, pay off. And not just that, it created a system in which the investor(s) can effectively take control of a company, the product and the dream of those whose creative energies brought it into being, and scrap it if that is how the investor(s) see a chance at a higher return from their investment.
What a deal, what an abuse upon the millions of people who work producing the products and services within our communities. The system now recognizes and rewards the investment of money into an industry more than the investment of human time, energy, and life itself. This is essentially the same proposition that slavery brings to the world.
The stock market is the embodiment of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. It is not now nor was it ever about the common good. It is the most successful device for the upward redistribution of wealth that has ever existed. It is much more akin to a virus infecting and debilitating our communities than anything that has to do with health and progress.
We need to get rid of it. We need to return to more basic, direct and non-invasive ways of funding/financing business start-ups. Business start-up funding should be repayable at a reasonable, but not exorbitant, interest rate. The ownership and control of a business should stay in the hands of those whose dreams, creativity and hard work gave birth to it along with the hands of those whose hard work, energy and diligence keep it going; the workers. We need to recognize and value human investment much more than our culture is currently doing. Profiteering as practiced within the stock markets is by it’s nature predisposed to devaluing human (worker) investment. Turning over control of our means of production and distribution (via the structure and methods of the stock market) has been one of the biggest mistakes, from the perspective of desiring healthy stable communities, that humanity has ever made.
If a business is supplying a need, a want, (without engaging in patently criminal, harmful activity) and doing enough business to keep it’s doors open and provide a decent living for those employed in that industry, then that business is successful and a supporting a healthy, vital community. Product, prices and wages should be the primary concerns of a healthy business, not how to squeeze out the next dividend payment (infinite interest) charges demanded by those who own stock in the company.
If a financier offered a start-up loan but demanded an open-ended interest clause, and the right to take control of the business at any time, even to sell it and/or close it, most, if not all, sane business people would never agree to such terms. However, rename it and change the “packaging” and now such a predatory, extortionate practice has become standard operating procedure for too many businesses around the world.
And this is not even going into how the practices of the stock market affect the pricing of products and services.
I feel safe in saying that before even the time of Hammurabi’s Code, human beings have recognized the value of rules, laws, regulations that provide a matrix within which a community can experience safety and flourish. It is only within such a matrix that we as human beings can realize our fullest potential. If we are experiencing feelings of threat, insecurity, too much stress in our daily lives, it affects us even down to the cellular level. Such an environment impairs our ability to inhabit and experience our own being. A hostile, high-stress environment decreases both our quality and quantity of life.
For all these reasons and more we need to free ourselves from the predatory grip of the practices of the stock market.