TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Can you suggest a different or better rule/s to use in our society instead of the current exchange rule?

Why is our society based on the exchange rule? For instance if we go to the supermaket and get food, in exchange we have to give some money to the owner of the supermaket. If we want to have water in our houses we have to pay a water company so they can supply it to us.

I can see this rule being adopted thousand of years ago by our ancestors and back then it probably made sense. They possibly could not come up with a better idea. But why in the 21st century are we still using it? Why can't we come up with a better or different rule?

Has anyone a different rule or rules to suggest that we could use instead?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 21 2012: Edmond,

    Maybe we have to change our conception of "exchange." I just started reading a Derek Jensen book where he discusses briefly that in nature a bear eats the fruit of a bush, but doesn't exactly give the bush anything. Then the bear poops and more bushes grow.

    What if we could develop a system of "exchanges" like that? Instead of real-time methods, perhaps more of a delayed response to help productivity. It's similar to the bartering system Colleen participates in her community, but it could probably be tweaked.

    Also, going back to the bear and the bush, sure the bear seems to be just taking, but I think it's important that it too contributes to the growth of the resource. It's almost as if we need suppliers and makers. Suppliers have the knowledge to grow or get materials. Makers have the skills to use those supplies as well as contribute to harvesting or developing tools for suppliers.
    • Jun 21 2012: I understand your point Zac. Nevertheless I am not convinced that we need a system based on exchange in order to make our society work.

      We could instead give and get no one would be excluded from this rule. Everyone must give something or a service to society in order to get something back.

      I can think of 6 things that we should all get regardless of what we contribute to society.

      1) Water
      2) Food
      3) Shelter
      4) Medical care
      5) Education
      6) A mean of transport

      Can you think of something else?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.