Money is Silly and Unreal… So Buy The Most Expensive Thing

— Money is worthless in a shitty life.

Fantasy representation of using money to buy the most expensive things
Fantasy representation of using money to buy the most expensive things

First time doing this; rather than search far and wide—sometimes taking upwards of 30 minutes to look for and find a headline image for a post—I just typed “fantasy representation of using money to buy the most expensive things” into a field right here in my WordPress editor. My same AI I use for the Chatbot Zon went out and had DALL-E create six completely different images, and Stable Diffusion, two more (so many possible settings…so lots of future experimenting). I could have had it redo as many redoes as I want, but I picked one, and just click-inserted it right up there. Less than a minute, done.

Amazing.

I like the random serendipity of it. And I think it’s going to be fun to experiment, and maybe you’ll even get a kick out of it, too. I’m happy to be done with stock photography and canned graphics, at least mostly. More creative, random, surprising, and interesting. It’s almost like art. Incidentally, this is set to Michelangelo, classical (as if I even know what that means vis-à-vis stuck-up art snobbery).


… Ask yourself this: what’s money really good for? If you say it’s to buy land, gold, homes, businesses, securities, finely-branded goods, 5-star vacations, fast cars, yachts, private jets, beautiful women, power, influence…you get the idea…then I would ask you: what then are those things good for? And if there’s an answer to that question that makes sense, then the obvious question that follows is, why not just buy that thing directly, then?

… I gave ChatGPT-4 the theme and a summary, including the bottom line, for this post. I asked it to critique and propose the structure and points for a 2000-word piece, and it did an absolutely marvelous job. No stone left unturned.

And I’m using exactly none of it.

My notions about this are radical; far beyond any sort of conventional, financial-conference, “sound money” and “wise investing” banality. These odd notions of mine are beyond that taking of money so seriously that you’re crippled, stressed out, and a damned willing and even enthusiastic slave to it. I swear to God that I often sometimes wonder who’s getting the better end, the crack dealer or the addict…of if there’s a meaningful difference.

Which drug is worse?

It’s a harsh and unforgiving master. And the more of it you have, the harsher, more unforgiving, and gargantuan it is.

Money: A Silly, Unreal, and Ridiculous Game

Right off the bat, a section header like that invites skepticism, as well it should. So let’s dispense with that first very simply and obviously.

Just because you’re compelled to do something is no justification of its soundness.

There’s a logical fallacy in that (argumentum ad verecundiam).

Now, while there’s no law that says you have to hold money, there are [valid] laws that say you can’t steal it.*

*(unless you’ve been elected or appointed to high office…in which case the law stipulates that not only can you steal it, you can’t be prosecuted when you do—really, it’s in the law books just like that, explicitly…no? …well it sure appears that indeed it is)

Not to belabor this. The point is, it’s not hypocritical, nor any contradiction or moral failing to criticize and condemn laws and civil structure and norms while at the same time, meticulously abiding by them.

Bluntly, if life is a game—and in many measures it is—then money is basically the scorecard.

Pay to play.

That out of the way, let’s look at how ridiculous money is, and to do that, we have to make fun of “goldbugs.”

I posted those three images in a Twitter thread a few weeks back—full of goldbugs—along with the concession that gold-backed did fare better in terms of the overall inflation number. By goldbugs, I don’t mean just people like me who would say sure, a currency backed by a rare something (like gold) will probably fare a little better in some measures than one backed by debt with solemn promises to repay [by means of payments and inflation] (“full faith and credit” is euphemism for broke-ass and in debt).

… Anyway, goldbugs are funny in how they invoke the magic words: GOLD STANDARD!!!

It’s kinda like prayer…or gambling. You hear only about the rare, statistically average, clock-stopped wins. Where charts like that don’t just shut them up, then they waffle, “well there was inflation because of [WWII…name any “emergency”],” to which I reply, thanks for making my point, which is: it doesn’t matter what, when the state requires more money (often for bread & circuses political gain) than it can realistically tax or borrow, it’ll just come up with a euphemism reason to expand the money supply print it.

So, gold standard or not; crypto that would actually work like a currency or not…it’s just a scorecard for where you are in that particular game and while it has something—a lot, even—to do with life and its enjoyment, it’s not the thing that buys the ability to enjoy life.

And if you think money and the ridiculous game surrounding it is the essential thing that’s required for enjoying life to the fullest, then interpret this chart under that specific constraint.

The Art of Happiness and Life Fulfillment With No Money

By this point, readers have got to be wondering what the heck I’m advocating for, and if their suspicions are correct (probably not) then they want no part of it (gotcha).

No, there’s no more virtue in being dirt poor than there is, per se, in being filthy rich. They’re both independent of virtue, neither a cause nor an effect. Neither have much to do with it, and both can be associated with exactly the opposite. A dirt-poor person can lack virtue because they don’t get off their lazy ass and engage in rational, purposeful action. A rich person might have gotten there my cheating others or having friends in elected or appointed high offices of the state pave certain ways.

I have a good perspective on this, having lived for over three years now in a country with lots of relatively poor people, especially in the region in which I’ve spent the most time down & dirty with the locals.

… I was telling someone the other day how it’s remarkable: almost nobody ever has much money, they’re always struggling, but damn if they don’t strike me as largely the happiest people I’ve ever known. What’s the telltale outward appearance of that?

Hands down?

… Smiling and joyful children romping around and playing every chance they can get…and they’re everywhere.

It’s still an economy where it pays to have lots of children.

Is that ever on anyone’s list of SOUND INVESTMENTS!!!???

No?

How sad and unhappy, then.

… They have these woven straw tarps in various designs and colors they sell cheap all over the place. They fold up nice and compact. Folks are never without one close by. Eating a meal—even if only rice, vegetables, and a bit of fish, shellfish, or meat—is a social affair and I swear that there must be a rule: you never lay down the tarp in the same place for consecutive meals.

I used to playfully make fun of them, “oh, you’re all sitting in the driveway tonight.” The different places they can find to station that tarp for everyone to sit around for a social meal is limited only by the imagination.

Little money, but rich in that most expensive thing…

There are a couple of things they do—old-school things—that tend to ensure that the little money they do have goes largely toward buying the most expensive thing; or indirectly, throws off dividends denominated in that most expensive thing.

  1. Everyone is a jack of all trades: men in men stuff, women in women stuff
  2. They save to buy assets that are useful, and carry no debt

It’s rather easy for many Thai people to be quite poor without much outward sign of it in terms of hardship. They have no bills. For many, their biggest bills are the gas for the motorbike (or pickup truck or tractor) and electric for the house…oh, and maybe cheap cellphone data. Land is paid for. House is paid for. Vehicle(s) is/are paid for. No property taxes. Do the lack-thereof math.

So they want to buy land to do something, they save money and buy it and hold it and do something with it. When they want to buy a motorbike, they save money, buy it, and it gets them cheaply from place to place. When they want to buy a family car, they save money and buy a pickup truck that has utility beyond imagination. When they’ve saved enough money from working in farm fields, building houses and other structures, being a handyman and fixing things, doing haircuts, standing security…or any of the many things they can do…they may buy a piece of farm equipment of some sort. This allows them to make more from their own labor in the fields, and they can rent or lease it out. They always have chickens. Goes without saying. Used for eggs and, occasionally, the pot. Some will get a few cows.

There’s a common theme with all such stuff they buy: depreciation either doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter, and there’s a lower limit. For instance, worldwide, a working reliable pickup truck has a minimum intrinsic value regardless of its year of manufacture, the spiffiness of its paint job, or dents.

Spend enough time observing, and you might see how much so many people could learn from these “poor, ignorant,” rural farmers & folk.

The Most Expensive Thing You Can Buy

Well, if you’re clever, you already know or have guessed what the most expensive thing is.

TIME.

Of course.

First, it’s the one thing we all have the same amount of during any given period. I’ve only got an hour, and an hour’s all you got, too.

Second, it’s very limited as to what you can do to change your total amount in a lifetime. Sometimes a person’s genes just suck. Maiming and killing-accidents suck. Following reasonable dietary and lifestyle norms is probably the best policy because, again, time is the most valuable thing, so it’s really fucktarded to spend all of it in the pursuit of increasingly marginal and diminishing gains…especially with the risk you might be overdoing it (chronic cardio), or ignorantly doing it (stupid fucking diets), and actually going in the opposite direction, shortening your life.

These things can be tricky. Best stay on well-trod paths in that regard, and it ain’t like there’s not shit-tons of examples out there. Pick a few that feel good and synthesize an elemental path that you follow.

I thought about how to put all the elements together I’m thinking of in under 1,000 words. This was much easier to do:

Observations:

  1. The blue line is the continuum from no money and all the time in the world, to lots of money and no time, at the extremes. I’ve called one extreme “jail,” but you can call them both that.
  2. The blue line is what the state, schools, voting, laws, and institutions are designed for. Keeping most people on it and if they had their rathers, the ones who get to step off that path are those who’ve been chosen and anointed to do so.
  3. Get-a-job-work-hard isn’t bad for everyone, and not all the time. Inside the yellow range is the way to do it, though.
  4. The hyper rich get to do what they want. The money is the given, time is a completely discretionary variable for them. They don’t have to work at all. Completely up to them. Elon Musk is an example who works very long hours…but understandable. Look at all the cool shit he does. Warren Buffett? How does he keep his eyes open? Yawn. Bill Gates is an evil fuck who thinks people are like software code and sicknesses like computer viruses. He should be compelled to take some time off. A lot of time off.

As for me, I’d put myself in the small business area as a freelance blogger. It takes WAY more time than the money justifies. Last year, 2022, gross revenue averaged out to $1,169 per month. Now, tons of people would claim to love to have that income to sit around and write shirtless…and in a pair of dirty shorts that get washed weekly whether needed or not. But realize, this is a 20-year trajectory. And don’t think I don’t know how to make it big or don’t have connections who could help.

I hate it too much when someone cancels because they were shocked about something I wrote. It’s one reason I go out of my way to be as awful as fuck. Thankfully, that’s rare and this last year, there were only two of those I’m aware of (the stupid Jimmy Moore thing…it’s just unacceptable that I don’t call Jimmy a pedophile; my position is unchanged: that’s what I would call him if it were true). The other handful of cancelations are financial hardship over Covidiocy and belt-tightening. Tell me about it.

Add to that the $1,561 monthly from early SS, plus the infrequent rental of the Cabo property. Not a great deal of money. I would like more. But, I do have lots of discretionary time and more importantly, the time I spend can be spent any time. There is zero need to do any particular thing at or by any deadline unless I’ve imposed it upon myself (which I never do…remember the story above about how the gold standard doesn’t stop the state from doing what it wants anyway…?).

So with that amount of money, I’d be destitute and living in squalor just about anyplace in the US that isn’t already squalorful.

But in Thailand? Geoarbitrage:

  • Rent $200
  • Food $250
  • Electric, water, internet $60
  • Motorbike gas $15
  • Bills (Netflix, hosting, phone, subscriptions, etc.) $100
  • TOTAL $625

But that’s bare scraping by. Of course, I enjoy life and I give a lot away to those in need. A lot.

I’m not a saver, and never have been. Always just something that strikes me as odd about it. At times, I’ve had retirement accounts (IRA, 401K) that grew to substantial amounts. I always end up liquidating them and paying the penalties, for one euphemism or another.

I live without fear of rainy days or communicable diseases…and I can’t do squat about the numbers I was dealt at birth (though I seemed to have lucked out in that regard).

I’ve been rich. I didn’t hate it, and I actually had decent discretionary time. Last thing I’d ever do is be the bearer of chronic shit in exchange for money.

“Money is worthless in a shitty life.”Me

I’ve been pretty down to scraping the barrel of financial resources…twice in my adult, post-college life, and pretty dire straights.

And I didn’t hate that, either.

Ever gotten stranded in some form or way, managed to survive? I think it’s why I like no-reservations travel. Just go. Let serendipity happen. Whatever.

Life might surprise you.

And what a shame that’d be, wouldn’t it?


Have I gotten my point across? That chart sure as hell helped, so I hope you’re catchin’ my drift. Let me know in comments, email, or the contact form. I do very much like getting the feedback.

6 Comments

  1. Andrew From Oz on May 6, 2023 at 09:23

    Terrific post. I’m chipping away at the final few layers of familial and environmental conditioning, and this sort of writing is really helpful. I’ve been poor, I didn’t love it but only because I couldn’t buy dumb shit. I’m now not poor, I still don’t buy dumb shit, but resist walking away from the “security” of paydays. Might be an Aussie culture thing. We’ve never really seen true poverty as a nation apart from the Great Depression era so its uncharted waters for most. Now I’m just talking shit. Thanks Rich

    • Andrea Geller on May 6, 2023 at 20:22

      I like your way of thinking very much. I always worked my ass off for small money, but major pressure and stress. Stopped that some 15 years ago. Still small money , but no pressure anymore and only little stress sometimes, but much say in what I do when.
      Got much freedom (free time) to think in exchange.
      I knew things went wrong right from the beginning of my professional training, when I sat in open space office with noisy typewriters everywhere, looked outside where people moved around, seemingly free, but felt myself as if I was in prison.

      Wish I had acted on this way earlier. The prescribed life most of us live is a lie, a prison and a fraud, just like human battery farms.
      Better get out of this and do your own thing. There is nothing wrong with making money with useful things, of course, it’s in fact the only thing worth doing!
      Doing it myself,and wouldn’t ever give that up but rather make more of that , much more. Thumbs up for your work, Richard!

    • Andrea Geller on May 6, 2023 at 20:29

      Hey Andrew,

      good point about buying dumb shit, that’s what takes people into self-made prisons.

      Loved Richard’s observations on Thaïs not doing bank debts, but being self- sustainable – big deal for being happy and content. Just do your thing.

      • Andrew From Oz on May 7, 2023 at 02:00

        Thanks Andrea, so cool to hear that you broke free, better late than never



  2. Andrea Geller on May 13, 2023 at 23:08

    Hello again, Andrew,

    thank you. You do many things right as well, great! Wish you good luck for the future!
    So far I broke free only conitive way, my salary is still poor, but my spirit is alive and kicking! Just received an interesting offer that’s relatively well paid, i.e. in comparison to my normal poor pay, so I’ll see how that one works out.

    I think that paycheck-“security” is fine and can (in the long run: should) be combined with other sources of income, esp. passive ones. I’m working on it currently.

    That’s one more reason for me @Richard to read your stuff! Good role model!

  3. Andrea Geller on May 13, 2023 at 23:09

    … in a cognitive way…
    ROTFL what a typo

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.