- Personal Finance
Making Money the Old Fashioned Way
There are going to be quite a few hubs posted over the coming days/weeks relating to budgeting, saving money, finances the stock market and other money related topics (I hope to post some myself in fact!), but I thought that considering we as a species have a written history of over 2000 years there are probably some secrets to making money that we could learn from the actions of our ancestors too!
Now that being said - I'm sure that our ancestors practiced budgeting and we know that the envelope method is hardly a new invention either, but there are perhaps some just as well known but perhaps not as well publicized ways of making money that I thought I would focus on in this hub.
Perhaps ironically considering how I was personally impacted earlier this year, I suspect that Theft is one of the earliest and unfortunately easiest forms of "making" money. While its not what many would consider honest and ethical (myself included!) it is something that without a doubt has historical roots and connections.
Theft also varies depending upon who practices it and who is impacted by it ... in its simplest form of course it is one or more individuals removing without the owners consent a piece of their property for their own personal gain.
Now as I said earlier, Theft is a word used at an individual basis, but to some extent while it applies in a larger capacity the verbiage is completely different. Confused? Allow me to explain ... Taxes!!!
Theft & Taxes:
There are many sites that oppose or speak to the fact that taxation by itself is theft (see here for one of them). I don't necessarily agree with that argument. I think that the services we receive (Police (to stop theft!), Fire, Health, Military etc...) need to be paid for in some fashion. My argument that taxes are theft is actually a little bit simpler and is simply related to waste, corruption and graft for the individuals responsible for providing those services to us. Government by itself is not corrupt and I think there are a lot of really good and hard working people in those fields that do the job they do, with little or no public recognition. The unfortunate fact though is that there are a lot of less honest people in Government who are there to take advantage of us and the "system" and they need to be removed.
Theft - Identity Theft
Definitely a more recent phenomenon but one that has historical roots also is Identity Theft.
It is now much harder and also much easier to assume the identity of another as while the plethora of paperwork and ID cards are much more difficult to forge and require special equipment, once it is done most people will automatically assume that the information provided (assuming it is an accurate forgery of course) is correct and true.
Identity theft in the "olden days" was unfortunately quite a bit simpler but also a lot more violent. When people stayed in their own local towns and villages, the criminal would likely just kill their victim and them assume their identity in another town where they were not well known! In some respects I have to admit that I prefer the newer variation of this type of crime!!
Hmmmm ... I started of this hub in a bit of a light-hearted fashion but its rapidly gotten a bit morbid on me!
Corruption and Graft
In an effort to bring things back to a more light-hearted tone I thought I would discuss Governments and the excellent services that they provide all of us for all of our tax dollars!
As they say - YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.
Living (as I do) in the Western World I would expect that my "elected" government officials are all above board and that they are doing what they do because they want to help people. I'm all for them getting a fair and equitable wage for the work that they do and think that (as Spidey best said) - WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. With this responsibility should come a commensurate compensation.
However when said officials receive their hefty salary, ridiculous perks and unbelievable benefits and still try to take advantage of us and the system then that is simply going too far and line needs to be drawn in the sand as that is theft in its simplest form. The most visible representation of this recently in the UK was the Minister's expenses scandal which was a complete joke! The sad thing isn't that "how could they think they would get away with it", rather it is the fact that they have gotten away with it for so long!
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. This could be in many different ways and means:
- Bribery - simple and effective. Payment for looking the other way or for allowing someone to bypass the system.
- Influence Peddling - perhaps most amply demonstrated by the Duchess of York - Sarah Ferguson when she offered access to her husband (Prince Andrew) for the sum of £500K.
- Patronage & Nepotism - basically letting people without the relevant skills have the job. Something like letting me be the President of the United States!
While this might feel like a more recent introduction to the government money grab (speed camera's are another one), it turns out that street parking fines have been around since before the 2nd World War.
Many American cities and citizens listed traffic congestion in urban centers as one of their most serious issues and with the lack of designated parking area's and enforcement, people parked where they wanted causing severe issues.
When the Great Depression hit and revenues dwindled, cities needed to find a new revenue stream and parking fines were introduced. The nickles and dimes rapidly added up and by 1944, American cities were generating some $10 million annually from parking meters alone. With the introduction of meter maids this revenue only increased and unfortunately now parking rules, restrictions and regulations are a simple fact of life.
As I said earlier, this was meant to be a bit of a lighthearted look at larceny through the ages. Unfortunately I think I've failed in this endeavor as I find that rather than making me laugh this whole thing has ended up making me angry and depressed!
I think I'm going to stop now before I ruin my New Year even more!