One of the hard truths of our world is that money is really just a collective fantasy that only works because we’re all in on the game. There’s an expression, “suspension of disbelief,” that is usually reserved for written works of fiction, movies, or television shows, where the person enjoying the fiction is willing to temporarily accept the fictional premise as real for the same of entertainment.
If you pause in the middle of a show (let’s use Game of Thrones” for fun) and you decide to note every place where this or that can’t possibly be real or make any sense in the real world, there’s not much show left there. Suspension of disbelief can also falter, in that you can no longer sustain disbelief, when the show you’re enjoying suddenly does something so outrageous that it mentally throws you out of the experience. We say things like, “it really jumped the shark” to emphasise that moment when things just became to weird to continue with the fantasy.
The same is true when it comes to money and this weird economic system we’ve created. As governments hand out vast amounts of money in bailouts and stimulus cheques, it’s becoming plain that we’ve jumped the shark and the whole thing is perilously close to showing itself for the badly written fantasy that it is.
This article from Forbes Magazine does a good job of explaining why throwing money around like this has gone a long way toward making it hard to sustain disbelief. Their take muses on whether cryptocurrencies might be the beneficiary of this jolt from fiction to reality, so it’s not quite my take on the whole thing, but one thing is clear, when it comes to money, we’ve finally jumped the shark.