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A world without money

January 15, 2009

I recall an episode in Star Trek TNG where Capt. Picard said his society had evolved to a point beyond the need for money.

Yeah, pretty utopian but an attractive thought nevertheless, considering how much of our troubles are attributed to money (or the lack of it).

But we all know that physical money in itself is not the issue, that greed is the issue, and that money just puts greed into a convenient form that you can carry in your pocket, trade, etc.

Money is one of those funny things that solves one problem but creates a hundred others, just like how cars gave us mobility but created a crippling dependence on oil, not to mention screwing our environment. So have these things actually given us a better quality of life? I guess that depends on one’s point of view and how one defines quality.

So, what if we woke up one day and found that all the money in the world had vanished? Can we live?

With how we’ve organized ourselves today, probably not. We’ve never bartered goods. In fact, most of the time we can’t even quantify what we produce at work, let alone take the results and exchange it for a burger or something. At work we’re just a tiny piece of a gigantic machine, producing one tiny part that is worthless standing by itself.

But we CAN live without money if everyone turned craftsmen. If you are a sword-maker, you’ll trade one sword with 10 sacks of rice or something like that. Life would be inconvenient in one sense but liberating in another. We will be free of global recessions, devaluation, speculation and anything to do with the predatory banking and credit system.

The only complication is how to standardize the bartering system. For instance, how do we know how much a sword is really worth? 10 bags of rice? 15? What if everyone gave different amounts for the same thing?

IMHO, yes its hard but not impossible to achieve. From a material perspective, it might seem like rolling back the clock. All of us grew up programmed to believe that consumption = happiness, flawed thinking as many have begun to realize. But being the alternative guy that I am, I personally would be happier not worrying about loan repayments, depreciation and losing money halfway across the world because some dude did something that caused currency values to slide.

Yeah its a fantasy but seriously, looking at the amount of suffering we put ourselves in on account of money greed for money – this record-shattering recession to begin with – and if you appreciate how money has created us a house of cards, you might begin to wonder if we humans started off on the wrong foot.

Is there another way? Personally I’d like to think there is.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2009 10:42 pm

    mmm, but as you said, it’s hard to decide how much does a sword worth…compared to say…a can of beer. So in the end, people will start arguing which one worth more…and then, some smart guy will come out with an international trade system – something like currency exchange rate. 😛 and we’ll start saying “oh shit, sword rate increased so much today! gonna sell all my swords!”

    mmm, the good thing about this is…….more people will start creating heavier stuff to be exchanged…since you cant carry that much…..which also means heavier stuff is supposed to worth more. 😛 and not so easy to rob!!

    ok, a bit crazy today. gonna get back to my work.

    True. Our thought processes are conditioned by a lifetime of doing it one way. Its so deep I don’t think it will change in our lifetime. I think a global currency is a good first step, the way the Euro is going. It will remove some speculative forces and make the conomy less prone to distractions. Once everyone has the same currency, its a lot easier to propagate new methods of transaction.

  2. D.T. permalink
    February 23, 2009 4:24 am

    This type of society can exist.Most people do not realise what would be required to bring this to fruition.
    This is such a drastic change in the way we think,most will ignore,some will laugh,a few will listen.
    The danger will come if too many people listen.Those currently in power and control will not take this nicely.
    There is much more to say on this subject but I dont have the space.Thanks for your ears.

    It existed in the past, so its doable alright. But its a tough sell because the people with money are the ones who stand to lose the most. Its one of those things that will require a revolution to see light of day, instead of evolution.

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