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If you think of a society or a nation as a human body, then the economy, being the circulation and distribution of goods and services, is the circulatory system and money is the blood.
In times of stress, the body naturally directs and re-directs blood flow to compensate. Generally that means that vital organs are supplied at the expense of the extremities. Our current economic system is like having a one-way tourniquet on one area of the body, which gets bloated and oversupplied with blood and nutrients, while the rest of the organism slowly deteriorates and rots away.
It boils down to the basic idea of what an economy is and what it is supposed to "do." To the wealthy, the economy is their source of wealth and power. To the poor, it is a matter of survival.