A lot has changed in our world since the taxpayers in this country were forced by their “representatives” in their government to bail out the greedy bankers on Wall Street in 2008.
Because in this country, 100% of the voters were against the bailout, regardless of how threatening the ultimatums of the bankers were, the politicians at first voted against it to maintain the semblance of some measure of democracy, but then they voted for the bailout anyway (the D’s and R’s in a happy union, with a few symbolic protesting votes as usual) and the money was magically made available to the criminals whose fraudulent schemes brought the worldwide economy to its knees. Not a single Wall Street banker was prosecuted because “it would be difficult to prove that they did something illegal” as I found out from our newspapers and TV.
Clearly, the bankers own everything. The banks are even bigger now, as greedy as ever, and it is only a matter of time before they come back for a second helping.
Incidentally, the worldwide economy is still on its knees. Five years later, unemployment levels are still very high, both here and in many European countries. The latest twist of the never ending crises is now taking place in Cyprus. Here in United States, the politicians are able to pick the pockets of something like a hundred and fifty million taxpayers by simply voting to take money from them and then giving it to the bankers who own them. But because Cyprus is such a tiny country, smaller than a city medium sized city like Philadelphia, the money for the bankers who lost their bets in their casino banks has to come from outside of Cyprus.
So the European bankers said: “We will lend you the money so that you could give it to your bankers, our brothers, no questions asked, but only if you “tax” everybody who has some money, any money, in a bank account in your tiny, unimportant country. After the anger of the Cypriot population exploded in the streets, the government is now trying out a new scheme: taxing only people who have at least a hundred thousand Euros in the bank. In Cyprus, most of these people would be foreigners, mostly Russians who parked their money in Cyprus because the banks promised them, and for a time delivered, high interest on their bank accounts.
What does this have to do with the translation business, you may ask? Bear with me for a few more moments.
We know now that having money in the bank does mean that this money really belongs to us, even if we made all of it legally and paid all the taxes that we were supposed to pay based on existing laws.
The money that you have in your bank really belongs to the bankers because your government can say at any time that you should give the bankers 10 or 30 percent of what you have in your bank account to your bank if the poor bankers had a really bad year. If they can get away with in Cyprus, why not in Germany, France, Austria, and the United States?
Bank is now possibly the most dangerous place to keep your money because the bank can always say that it will not give you your money, as the banks in Cyprus just did. Since the banks can steal you money so easily in the brave new economy as the history of the last few years has shown, it is best to keep only the minimum that one needs for normal daily transactions in the bank because that way the bank will not be able to steal that much.
If you have money, invest it in something that cannot be outright stolen with a mouse click by your government and your bank. Buy yourself a car, a house, land, gold …. anything that will keep its value, just don’t keep it in the bank. The politicians and the banks will still tax everything that you own, but they will not be able to steal most of it quite as easily.
What the banks and the politicians cannot steal quite easily are the skills and the knowledge that you have, provided that you do have some.
If you are a translator, your knowledge of foreign languages and your ability to translate them into another language is a much safer commodity than money in the bank, precisely because you keep it in your head, rather than in your bank.
This knowledge is what kept you afloat all those years, including the long years of the never ending economic crisis, isn’t it?
Many freelance businesses, including freelance translation businesses, were affected by the crisis just like everybody else. But for example in my case, all that happened was that the business was kind of slow for quite a while.
But every time when business is slow, after a while it comes back with a vengeance.
What we provide to our clients is information that is based on knowledge and skills. That is our currency. And without this information, our clients would not be able to run their businesses.
This currency cannot be stolen from our big, pointy translators’ heads. We will make it available to anybody who asks for it, but only in exchange for fair payment.
And this currency, called knowledge and information, cannot be frozen by a bank or a government like a bank account. This currency can be transferred to another town, another country, or another continent if you decide to do so.
What you have in your head is your most valuable possession because it is so hard to steal.