The Jump # 13 – The Chains of Debt and the Opportunities of Social Credit

Debt is a powerful force that keeps us as slaves. In this episode I will show you an older and better alternative, “Social Credit”, and do my best to explain the difference. For Social Credit is a liberating and useful force in the emerging post-Jump and Networked Social Economy.

How we used to borrow

Traditionally people borrowed money to purchase a “productive asset” such as a tool or against a predictable event such as the harvest. What this means in practice is that traditionally debt was self-liquidating. The productive asset, such as a loom, increased the value of the business and threw off enough cash to pay off the loan. Or the harvest came in and the seed loan was paid off.

This idea of a productive asset included the home. Traditionally, people mainly worked from home. So your house was also a work space and so it was a generator of income. Your lodging was a productive asset.

The big idea here is that we usually only borrowed money to finance a productive and self-liquidating asset. Only in desperation, or if we were an aristocrat, did we borrow money to finance consumption.

How we borrow today

Today, we mainly use debt to finance the consumption of items that lose their value quickly. These include clothes, furnishings and even cars. We even borrow for events, such as meals and vacations, that have no lasting value at all. Central to this now is borrowing for education. A BA in History has no direct connection with paid employment. But a plumber’s ticket does.

With ever increasing debt but no productive assets, we climb onto a treadmill where there is no payoff or release. This is even true for our homes. Today most of us work away from home and so our homes, this definition includes places that we rent, have become a net-cost and so a drain that never goes away. Rent or domestic mortgage payments are amongst our most significant never ending chains of financial obligation.

Using this approach to borrowing, we never escape. So, if you step back and examine how we use debt today, we see that much of it is in our choice. We can choose not to finance mere consumption or things and events that are in themselves transitory.

What we can do is to change our approach to borrowing and return to a more traditional way of seeing the use of debt.

It is hard to do this if you are caught up in the pre-Jump belief system of proving your status by “show.” It is much easier to do this if you no longer are captured by this external vision of your worth as a person.

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The Jump #12 – Freedom and Time

Once you have made the Jump AND made the adjustments to how you live post-jump, you will start to experience freedom. You will increasingly have more and more control over your time.

In this episode, I will explain what I mean by this statement about time.

We know that there is no such thing as an instant garden. We accept that great gardens take time. Anything in the natural world takes time. We as individuals need time. But our current world does not allow for this essential ingredient for quality.

The Post-Jump life gives us time. For it makes status no longer dependent on things, which can never be satisfied but instead on our contribution to our families and our communities. Such a contribution is real and is in our control. This takes most of the financial pressure off us and so provides us with time.

Let’s see how this works with food.

Food and eating has become a solitary transaction that we either squeeze into a hectic day or use as a cure for loneliness. How we buy food and how we eat now is driven mainly by our time deficit. Food is merely another item on a long list of impersonal transactions.

Traditionally food is not a transaction but is the main process for binding a community together. It is the human equivalent of primate “Social Grooming”.

Our ancestors, and many Italians today, seek out food that is good. They seek food that is itself not rushed. They prepare it in community as a sacred act. Once cooked, they share it as a celebration of that community.

This issue of time, cultivation and community, is traditionally the same for how our ancestors raised their children and how they worked.

Like plants, our children need to be cultivated by people that they know and love. Raising children is a community exercise.

It is the same for our work. Good ideas, good things the time to be cultivated. So do our clients. Our client relationships need cultivation. Not marketing, love.

Quality in all things demands time. A well-structured post-jump life gives us this time back.

One of the ways that we short-circuit time, is credit. But while credit enables us to grow faster, it can also bring chains that bind us and force us to make decisions about our business and our lives that are bad for us.

In the next episode, we will talk about banks and credit and I will show you how it can be our relationships with our customers that will bring us credit when we need it and so give us an escape from banks and other transactional lenders.

For, just as our children can learn without the institution of a school, just as we can be healthy without the institution of medicine, so we can obtain credit without the institution of banking.

We will look back at how communities supported each other so that its members could grow but at a sustainable and healthy rate.

The Jump # 11 – Complexity – Why only you can take charge of your health

In this episode, we will explore the complexity of health.

Winston Churchill did all the wrong things. He drank too much. He smoked too much. He had odd sleep hours. He ate too much rich food. But, while he had heart problems, he lived until he was 90 and held the highest office in the UK in both his 60’s and 80’s. The answers to why he was healthy and active in spite of all the “bad” things he did, is why there can never be a simple answer to health. And why only we, and not an institution that only offers help in a simple product manner, can do the work to give us the best chance of being healthy.

Jump Episode 11

While diet is the key trigger factor in Chronic Illness, Churchill shows us that other factors are involved, principally stress. Stress that in humans, as in all social animals, is primarily caused not by real threats but by social threats and pressure. So, in our case, worrying about global warming, about what to wear tonight, your boss and so on, can drive high and persistent stress levels that diminish or destroy our immune system. This is the core of Chronic Illness. Chronic illness expresses itself in some kind of autoimmune response, where our immune system starts to attack us.

Here is how this process of constant stress works against us.

As Sapolsky and Marmot (see prior post) tells us, our position in the social hierarchy is key to this response. The further down we are, the less control we have and so the more stress. This has nothing to do with medicine and cannot be remediated by a doctor.

It appears that the modern diet, both agricultural and industrial is a factor in making our stress response worse.

The impact of the Industrial Diet also has a gradient of harm. Least affected, AT FIRST, are people from populations that have been well adapted to the western agricultural diet. Such as peoples from Northern Europe or the Middle East. Most affected are populations that have had the least exposure. Such as all Indigenous peoples.

But even those of us, who have some adaptation, lose that in our 40’s and 50’s.

If we continue to live our lives inside the pre-jump world where all the forces of the “shoulds” are the most intense and where we have the least control, then medicine cannot help us when confronted by the chronic illness epidemic.

Only if we step outside and begin to build a life based on how humans are designed to live and so be healthy, so we have a chance. In the next episode, we will look at what that might mean in practice.

Epilogue 1: Here is the full hour of Sapolsky’s thesis on stress and an excellent introduction to Marmot’s work on human hierarchy and stress and illness – The Whitehall Study

Epilogue 2: Here is Sir Michael Marmot talking more on the social determinants of health. He explains why it is that our social differences and situations determine our health and not access to the healthcare system. It is inequality not poverty that is the issue.

Here is a comparison of an artery from a low status monkey on the left compared to a high status monkey on the left. Look at the plaque build up on the low status animal. Both monkeys have the same diet. The issue is stress driven.

Here is Marmot going deeper into the issue of stress driven by rank and control – showing that there are not only radical health differences between nations but also inside them that have nothing to do with access to healthcare.

Below is a slide from this video that highlights these differences.

Marmot’s slide shows us all UK data. At the top, we see a ten year gradient in life expectancy between the best off and the least. All have access to the NHS. The health issue is not access but the hierarchy itself.

The graph at the bottom shows disability. Here the gradient is even steeper. The quality of life degrades all down the gradient. Here is where individuals and societies bear the most costs.

So when the call is for the NHS to be funded more or to have a national system of health in the US, all these calls ignore the reality that our health is not determined by access to a healthcare system.

I don’t think that any government will be able to act upon this insight. Surely, only each of as individuals can?

The Jump # 10 – Your Environment and Your Health

All disease, both infectious and chronic, is driven by factors in our environment. As we have seen with infection, changes to water systems, brought a vast reduction in waterborne diseases such as cholera. So, changes in how we live as individuals can help us avoid, or even cure, chronic illness. All who keep fish know this as a truth.

A healthy animal, or human, lives, by definition, as close as possible to its evolutionary ideal environment. We eat the foods that we have evolved to do well on. We have the right amount of sleep. We have an optimal social environment.

Any animal that satisfies these evolved conditions is generally healthy. Good health is the natural state for most of the population.

In the last 50 years an epidemic of chronic illness has swept the world. It began in Europe and the US, but now affects the entire world and it affects those populations that have been least exposed to the “modern diet” (as defined by agriculture) even worse than those that have farmed for millenia.

In less than a century, our bodies have changed. This process accelerated in the late 1970’s when the official view of what is a healthy diet changed and we adopted highly processed food. The institution of healthcare has been unable to make any progress here.

Concurrently in this period the internet as a force has grown from nothing to being pervasive. This has increased the tempo of life and has put us on high alert to social pressures. A result is that social stress has increased dramatically.

Never have we as a species moved so far away from our evolved ideal lifestyle.

In this podcast, I will go deeper and show how, by understanding these issues, we can take action and so prevent, or even cure, these chronic illnesses.

This image tells the story of the power of our social environment.

This slide is based on a study of the British Civil Service by Sir Michael Marmot. The Whitehall Study shows the rates of mortality of Heart Disease in the civil service by rank in the hierarchy. The “Administrative” group are the few at the top. The Other are the many at the bottom. You are 4 times more likely to die of CHD at the bottom of the hierarchy than at the top.

Your position in the social hierarchy and how much control you think you have is a critical aspect of your health.

I will talk more about the social environment and its effect on our health in the next episode.

The Jump #9 – The Myth of Medicine

There is no institution that we have greater faith in today than the medical establishment. As with the institution of school and the education of our children, we have given up all our power and responsibility to this institution for our health.

Does Healthcare, as an institution, deserve this faith? How did it get our faith?

Are we helpless and do we need to put our total faith and some much of our money into this institution?

This is the first of a series of talks that will explore these questions and then go onto the bigger question of under what circumstances can we safely take charge of our own health.

For the essence of the post-jump life is a life where each of us takes full responsibility for all parts of our lives.