Trust the System: Part I

Growing up in Africa I have heard some crazy stories. I say crazy now but at the time I believed some of them. Like for instance I read this book by a former devil worshipper from Nigeria basically documenting how he gave his life to the devil and had a road to Damascus experience which lead him to him coming to Christ. As such he was compelled to write a book to warn fellow believers about the works of the Devil and his minions…Apparently modern technology is created by the devil in underwater laboratories then unleashed on us unsuspecting brain-deads to distract us from finding Christ…Yes, you read that correctly…and yes I believed that. I will own it, hey it has made me who I am and I like who I am right now, so there… Simple common sense can disprove this one.

 Then there is another story, a story of how you can go to a witch doctor and they can ask you to do something crazy and you will receive fortune or your business will prosper. This usually involves you performing some sort of dreadful dead or having to sacrifice something important. For example, someone who has just opened a grocery store maybe be asked to sacrifice a child for their business to prosper. Or so the story goes… There is actually an old wife’s tale inspired by this concept in which a squeamish business proprietor instead killed a donkey and took the donkey’s heart to the witch doctor for the ritual. The next morning it was said that all the donkeys in the village were outside this man’s store waiting for the store to open so they could shop. Mind you, no one was there in person; anyone who tells you the story knows the cousin of the neighbor of the guy who went to school with a person who is a distant relative of the store owner…so take it with a grain of salt. But again, you chalk this one off to common sense.

There is just one problem though…common sense is not so common.

Which brings me to the third type of folk lore, one you can someone what argue against using real life analogies. There are these things, commonly known as tokoloshe or chikwambo. This takes many forms, from a goblin to snake but they perform the same function: create money! In return it survives on the lives of your relatives or people close to you and they have been known to turn on their owners if they are not fed. The morality of the process is not in question here but rather where does the money come from? You could say it uses magic to take money from someone else and give it to you. Now one thing I have learnt in life is never eff with someone’s money! So, if this thing is miraculously pick pocketing folks some piss off person would eventually figure it out… and get themselves a similar widget and next thing you know everyone has one and we will just be stealing from each other… or getting killed by a tokoloshe. Whatever the case they maybe it is not sustainable. Alright so now you might say these contraptions are manufacturing money… Do you know why the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is over counterfeiting of the US Dollar? Because recklessly increasing the money supply would be catastrophic to any economy whether that new cash is legit or counterfeit; the latter being worse.

People who believe in the above do not understand how money works. Unlike the universe you cannot assume an attitude of because I do not know therefore God i.e. make money infinite and omnipotent. Money is practical and thus follows a set of rules. In fact, the answer to the question “how does money work” is so complex and involves so many systems that intricately work together to make money worth what it is that it cannot put in article you have to go to school for this stuff. But you want to know the scariest part about all this, the glue that is holding all these systems together is none other than good old fickle human confidence! Once people lose confidence in your currency your economy will collapse and that is why the CIA is over counterfeit money. So, if these snakes do exist then they would probably be locked up in Area 51 being used to collapse the economies of competing countries.

Still not convinced, I know personally of someone who had such a snake…figuratively. Gideon Gono was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe during the economic meltdown of the country that was once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa. Political factors aside, Gono decided to print the Zimbabwean dollar whenever the government needed money. This led to an increase in the money supply (without a corresponding increase in the goods in the economy) and thus too much money was chasing too few goods which results in inflation. Boy did Zimbabwe have inflation. The bus fare I would pay to go home in the evening would be three times what I paid in the morning to go to work. The world lost confidence in the Zimbabwean Dollar and the economy felt the brunt of that. The economy has not recovered ever since. The above shows that from the understanding that we have gathered as a race we have noticed that nothing is ever just as is and there is a reason and a system behind everything. Another thing to note is that the system itself is always running as efficiently as possible; basically, this is the best we can do thus far. This is not to say that we are stuck with what we have, as a system can always be improved. If the solution is good then its integration into the system will be seamless. If it does not work then the system will reject it. If you force matters then the whole system will implode. Understanding the system will help us identify its weaknesses and thus be able to “fix” it and make the system run more efficiently. In the future articles in this series we will look at the several important systems and analyze how they work and try determine the best manner to improve the system.

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