Money gets surreal when it becomes untethered from reality; and a lot of strange financial wizardry began decoupling real value and nominal financial money in and around the 1970’s.
The website wfthappendin1978.com tells the story in pictures, in a series of economic charts that illustrate better than a thousand essays would, what happens when the rules are made up and the points don’t matter. The website illustrates how escalating inequality, declining labour productivity, spiralling national debt and many more of our current grand economic challenges can all be traced back to the ending of the gold standard (for better or worse, even with the disclaimer that correlation is not causation, the stories the pictures tell about the pivotal infliction point are still rather striking).
Yet the financialisation of markets and money was not all that began to become un stuck from reality in the 1970s. The below list, (which I have borrowed from @arlynculwik on Twitter) outlines how the roots of separation of the real and virtual worlds was a much a cultural phenomenon as an economic one.
From psychedelic drugs, to academic postmodernism, to un-pegged fait money, to the atheism experiment, to post capitalism, to moral relativism, to globalist neoliberalism and the “end of history”, to modern performance art, to some very strange food (see pictured), the 1970s was a literally as well as figuratively trippy time. And we are only just starting to understand just how destabilising that separation of what is real with what is relative, has been to society at large.
Where we are headed, there are no roads. Nothing is real and everything is possible.