This doesn’t make cents

Here’s another sticky point about money. By its very nature it is taking us away from the present. Originally we all bartered. Chicken for wood, my help in construction for your cow, etc. skill and effort matted as much as luck. Then money came along to allow “fair trade” deferring what one party brings to the barter agreement.

I don’t quite know what I am saying, butit is something about being a giver v a taker. Where giving represents being generative, adding to our world in some way and the other is simply a consumer. In capitalism consumers have a vital role, and I often argue to myself that conscious consumerism is a generative act.

Since I am not a maker, adding to society means something more abstract. And I struggle with that. It’s not as simple as production. I use the word generation. But I struggle with all of it.

At my most philosophical I think that the enlightened state is the exact point between production and consumption. That is where living each day is the focus, we don’t rush forward. It is not my natural state. Maybe no ones?

I’m trying to change my mental picture from treading water to floating. You stay in the same spot. However one takes a hell of a lot more effort than the other.

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

3 thoughts on “This doesn’t make cents”

  1. From treading water to floating. God that’s beautiful. Been sitting with it for a few minutes, and as I do, I actually warm up to the treading, actually. Sometimes treading water feels powerful, like you’re USING the medium to achieve something, not just fighting against it. Same with floating, but in a totally different way, that is maybe more peaceful, but also more passive. You’re not a passive person, Anna. You may be wrestling with where and how and when to exert your active force, but it is YOU.

    I’m also going to challenge you on the “taking away from the present”. I know exactly what you’re saying (and agree), but in the bartering days, a lot was planned for the future. How many animals could you feed? How much did you need to grow (and of what) to make it through the winter (in Vermont)? There was a lot of longer term planning, a lot risk.

    The difference perhaps that I think OUR capitalist culture forces upon us is money for what? To trade potatoes for protein? Or money for money’s sake? The latter is what distracts us from not only the present, but the VALUE. What are we in fact chasing, consuming, demanding, enabling, supporting?

    I was on a plane last night and in those moments of no electronic devices glanced at the SkyMall catalog. It’s an illustration of everything that’s wrong. No one needs ANYTHING there. That’s DROWNING in our own capitalism.

    1. Come on, you need the day of the week watch. How else will you know when
      Wednesday is?

      Yes, you have put your finger on it about the money for money’s sake. That is what keeps us from living. money started as a tool, or a way to track exchanges, and ended up its whole monster. Its sort of meta, really. But not really metta. If there is anyone who can understand that it will be you.

  2. If there isn’t value in our transactions (financial, social, all types) than what’s the point? The current paradigm that I can’t get over is the cultural expectation that we all need “more”. What good is money if it isn’t doing good things? Good things can be kept close (sending your kids to college) or distant (supporting a social venture). But hoarding, for lack of a better word, seems like an empty and futile goal.

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