Step Number 2: Know Thy Enemy—Money and Power

     There are two primary factors that make Them tick: money and power.  They form the nucleus from which everything in the world revolves around.

     Power is purely psychological.  Those in power get off on controlling other people’s lives, getting in their heads, and having authority over people or nations.  It’s like a drug, only better, because the effects go deeper and last longer.

     Money is the vehicle which gets Them there.  One of the most important lessons you can ever learn is that money runs the world.  Anything that They do, They do for money.  This is true in almost every single situation or scenario you can think of.  It should be no surprise then that the most powerful people in the world are the ones who control the money—the Bankers.

     Here’s how it works: Banks use start-up capital and customer deposits to loan money to people, businesses, or countries.  (Or they print it out of thin air!  But that’s a whole other issue.)  They lend this money with the agreement that the client will pay them back the original amount of money loaned and then a little (or a lot) more on top of that, which is called interest.  They then loan out the money they made from the interest and make more money (with interest), and so on and so forth, becoming fabulously rich and powerful.

     To be honest with you, I don’t necessarily have a problem with this, generally speaking.  It’s not like the banks are forcing us to take their loans.  (Well, in some ways that may not be true.  I’ll get into that more later.)  If there’s something that a person wants or needs that they don’t have the money for, this is a viable option to help remedy the situation.  It’s not evil for the bankers to offer this service.  On top of that, they are taking a risk in that they may not get all of the money they loaned back, so the money they make off of the interest is their reward for taking a chance.  In fact, in a perfect world, both college loans and home loans should turn out profitable for both parties involved.  Most people who go to college make considerably more in their lifetime than those who don’t go to college, even after paying off their college debts.  The same is usually true in the value of a home; its value goes up as time goes on.  So you really can’t blame Them.  It’s us—we’re the ones who put ourselves in the undesirable position of needing their help in the first place.

     The problems start when banks use tricks or “fine print” to mislead their customers or partake in other questionable practices such as the use of “fractional reserve banking,” which means that they are legally allowed to lend 10 times more money than they have in reserves (and, of course, make interest off of that money), or they use compound interest or they loan the same money more than once, or gamble with Federally insured money, giving loans to people or businesses whose ability to pay them back is highly questionable, putting the tax payers on the hook to bail them out if the people or businesses default on their loans.  (It should be noted that these things wouldn’t be possible if people were educated about the various forms of usury that exist in the world today and took measures to protect themselves against it.)

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto