Sunday, November 07, 2010

Some bad consequences of money flowing into a country

There is fear that nations all over the world will try and devalue their currencies. When your currency is devalued, your products are cheaper on the world market which helps your export industries. This puts your people to work and gives them purpose.

Is money now becoming a toxic asset?

When too much money flows into a country, the value of that country's currency rises. Prices rise and the country prices itself out of the world market. The country becomes a debtor nation.

What's wrong with this picture?

In the past, money was considered an asset. Money created capital investment which put people to work. Now capital puts people out of work.

I'm sure there are a lot of complex reasons why money seems to be less of an asset for putting folks to work than it was in the past. One factor is that there are so many of what used to be called "third world nations" emerging as industrial centers where the cost of living and doing business is low. Manufacturing and many service jobs, such as call centers, can move there. Then the money from this industrialization comes back to formerly wealthy nations in the form of loose money for investments.

In the past, people thought the rich nations could use their money to create higher end, high tech products and services to stay in the market. Now, even that advantage seems less viable.

Money is becoming more of a toxic substance. Money is a good tool, to a point, but it also has it's downside.

As export industries exit the rich nations, capital has less meaningful activities to invest in. It floats around causing trouble, in some cases. Money can inflate prices for real estate, for instance, pushing up the cost of living thus pushing up the cost of doing business in a country. This can push business overseas to cheaper nations.

Money can flood into politics also, creating a toxic situation. I hear that the last election, in USA 2010, had more money invested in it than any previous election. Even more than the last presidential election in spite of the fact that it was only a bi year election.

A "buy election?"

Then there's all that money flowing to Washington DC lobbyists and the toxic situations that creates.

Of course, there's also the money flowing through government that is producing many services which people still want. Police and fire protection, school teachers, health care and the like.

That money may be going to good use, though some might argue things like the military are not good use. Others might think we have too much education and health care, but not enough wisdom or health.

Much of the government money is now "borrowed money." It carries worry with it toxic worry like "can this ever be paid back?"

Part of the problem is that money is just taken too seriously. We need to step back and see how irrational it can make us. Money is a useful tool, but it can turn toxic. Money has both it's good and it's bad aspects. There's got to be more to life than just money.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Robert, your analysis of this is sharp and insightful...but mostly it is UNDERSTANDABLE.
I think your commentaries are always thought provoking