Saturday, July 31, 2021

The flow of goods and services can no longer pay the "rent" to maintain high asset values

I got to thinking that the flow of goods and services is one thing while the accumulation of wealth is another.

There is a lot of accumulated wealth in this society. Property values, retirement savings, stocks, public buildings, infrastructure and so forth. On the other hand, there is the flow of goods and services. Things that are consumed.

Seems like a high flow of goods and services is needed to prop up or "justify" the wealth. The flow is needed, basically, to pay the rent and the taxes; so to speak. It's needed to keep a flow of first time homebuyers in the market.

Keeping up the flow of goods and services is like running on an ever faster treadmill as the value of the wealth, to be maintained, ramps up. If the treadmill slows, the bottom eventually falls out of the wealth market. People become "upside down" in their homes if they owe more on the mortgage than the house can be sold for in the present market. Businesses can loose the lease on their space, get behind on their taxes and so forth.

During the pandemic, much of the rent and the value of wealth was maintained by the coronavirus relief bills. This was a way to maintain people's perception of wealth without having to rely, as much, on the flow of goods and services since that flow had to be curtailed by the shutdowns. Wealth propped up by the central bank (in USA the Federal Reserve) creating money.

As anti tax sentimant continues, the Fed seems to be increasingly the way government is financed. This is how services that people rely on; such as the military, public safety and Medicare are maintained. This tries to keep the economy stimulated enough to pay people's mounting fixed costs.

Enter something called "Modern Monetary Theory;" a school of economics that (in short) downplays worry about increasing the federal debt. That's a whole field of discussion, in itself, but I just touch on it here.

As the future unfolds, there may be more and more maintaining of wealth without relying on commerce to do so. This would tend to mean high federal debts that seem to matter less and less.

As for the flow of goods and services, there is usually enough. Yes, some people go hungry, but, especially in this country (USA), over consumption is more the problem.

The virus forced a slowdown in consumption. As climate change keeps becoming more evident, it may necessitate slowing down the consumption / production cycle as one way to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Slowing down consumption works, but most people prefer technology fixes such as job creation through green technology. In the long run, green technology is the answer, but it doesn't happen overnight.

People don't like the idea of their wealth being lost so wealth may continue to be propped up by other means besides commerce. Propped up by things like rent subsidies, unemployment and government spending; for instance.

I still think future prosperity is possible through green technology, but there is also the concept of "enough." Consumption of goods and services should not always have to be increasing to pay the "rent" that maintains the perception of wealth. That would be the definition of a rat race. It's not only threatening the environment, but the rat race is also pushing humans to their breaking points, having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Quality of life should always be the true bottom line.

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