TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Taking money out of society.

Because man makes everything possible, why do we need money? What's the point of money? So that we have a reason to work? So we can retire someday and still be able to live? If man creates & manufactures everything, why do we need money to continue to create and manufacture things..

I've had this idea for a long time.. And have seen others with this idea. Obviously, there's never going to be enough support for the idea. And if there ever was, those with enough money would squash the idea with some crazy propaganda in the news 24/7, 365 until all that did support a moneyless society would be deemed incredible.

With money, there are soooo many downsides. Even rich people commit suicide or kill others over money. Especially the rich drug cartels. But all around the world, people starve, die of some curable disease, wars are waged, people get murdered for money... There's a huge list of the downsides money creates.. And only one good one...But without money, even that one good one, isn't necessary.

Share:
  • Mar 26 2013: Suppose you live in a "moneyless society" as you call it... now, you need some eggs so you go to local store and ask the clerk some eggs... will you take them home just like that??? that is the ideas isn't it???... now, put yourself on the other side of the counter, what's the point of having to work there???, you're not getting any benefit from it... now, imagine you go to the store and there is no clerk, you can take anything you want, so you do, in the meanwhile you drop some eggs and the floor becomes a mess, no body saw you, what would you do??? how's going to clean???, imagine the site 100 customers after. Now suppose you're the driver of the truck that delivers the eggs, what would you do when you get to the store??? will you just put the merchandise in the store entrance or would you carefully put it on the shelves??? the clerk didn't need to be there, he walked away since he didn't have an incentive to be there. So, as the driver what would you do??? doing this breaking back delivery job o going for some beers and get yourself drunk??? anyways you're not getting any benefit from it, and after all if you crash the truck it didn't cost any money, just go for another and that's all.

    You idea may sound sweet for some young ears, but if you don't explain clearly how your "moneyless society" is going to work then don't expect any real support.
    • Mar 27 2013: No offense, but I don't think you've thought about this too much. The answers to your questions are simple. There would be people working the store, simply because there's a job there to do. Because stores need people to run them. Because not everyone is capable of being a doctor, simpler jobs would be filled.
      • Mar 27 2013: Yes of course, people will do it job just because it's their job, people will be responsible just because they are responsible. No offence but you thoughts sound too naive to my ears. Just imagine someone wants (notice I did not use the word "needs") a car, if that person can choose between a small eco-friendly car and a huge wasteful luxury car and none of them cost him/her a cent, do you believe that person would choose the small eco-firendly car???... stop fooling yourself. A society like the one you depict is doomed to disaster... but if you insist you are right, I challenge you to give a clear explanation about how the whole manufacturing and commercial process will work, convince me you are more that just a naive kid.
  • thumb
    Mar 25 2013: A moneyless society can only function under a Draconian Absolute Dictatorship like the US prison system. If people are free to come and go as they please, or free to exchange goods and services at will, they will need Tangible Value Reresentation, aka money.
    • Mar 25 2013: Why? When everything they will need is at the store.. It got to the store by people who also need to go to the store for things.. And so forth and so on.. It's the reason why we, average individuals work. So we can get the things we need. Those that don't work, don't get what they need or want. Except for the young, old and disabled.
      I don't see the government playing much of a roll in this. What I see, is people doing the same thing they're doing now. Working for a living. And those that choose to be lazy, will get nothing for themselves. Those that pamper the lazy, will be caught and punished. Not by the authorities. But by people who choose to work for what they need and/or want.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: I cited the only example I am aware of where no official money is involved in an organized, functioning society. I think the point is that money and freedom go hand-in-hand. By the way, if you work for a living how do you receive pay for your services. What form does your income take if there is no Tangible Value Representation?
        • Mar 26 2013: Everything you need would be provided. THe Incas thrived as a cashless society.
    • thumb
      Mar 25 2013: but even in such circumstances, people try to establish some form of money, like cigarettes in prisons.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: I think that shows that there is a need for "money" wherever there is commerce, even if that commerce is black market.
        • Mar 25 2013: More than likely because the current system is based on some sort of value. Taking away that concept, changes everything. Including the way we currently think about what's actually valuable. Cigarettes are valuable in prison, because they are so scarce.
    • Mar 26 2013: Untrue. Prison is trade and cash but mostly cash for goods though. Prison isn't the only place where a moneyless society could exist. History states otherwise.
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2013: Please share your data about moneyless socities from history. You cannot expect to just say they have thrived in the past and expect to be convincing just on the merits of your word. I do not know the proven value of your word.
        • Mar 26 2013: You've never read on Inca society? A google search should suffice cause an argument made on false claims would be the easiest one to disassemble.
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2013: To be clear, you intimated that history records successful moneyless socities. Is your only example the Incas? It sounds like you are aware of a list of examples. Not true? Your assertion would be strengthened by such a list, if you can share it. Also, do you advocate establishing a society patterned after the Incas?
        • Mar 26 2013: What did I say to imply I had a list. The only one that is known, I believe, is the Inca empire. There was a question posed and I merely used them as a real life example. They accomplished a great deal without any commerce, trade, barter or cash system whatsoever. Look at there mountain cities they were highly advanced people.
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2013: RE: "What did I say. . . " OK. Sorry, no list of successful moneyless societies from history. The single example you offer as an example of national success without money was unable to defend itself from being devastated by foreign invaders. Not a shining example of success. Again, do you advocate establishing an AYLLU society today? Mr. Cook, no society sufficiently advanced to establish and operate free trade can function without establishing something as a medium of exchange. That something is commonly called "money". Thanks for a provocative free-exchange of opinions. Be well sir.
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Mar 25 2013: We don't NEED money. We CHOOSE to be the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and we will battle fiercely to preserve our right to be victimized

    Capitalism is a cruel hoax played on its victims who do not know that they are slaves. Capitalism means:
    capitalizing on what others don't know, and then profiting by taking advantage of that.

    It is also taking advantage of bad things that happen to others. Profiting off the illness, accidents,
    crimes, mistakes and catastrophes that happen.

    It is also capitalizing on these 'breaks' and using that advantage to keep others down, thus maintaining
    a disadvantage that works to your advantage and then:

    Capitalizing on that advantage to widen the distance between those with and those without.

    It is fraught with reasons for fear, greed, crime, war, inequality, poverty, slavery and so on.

    It is by default, an unjust system that cannot be made just.

    Thomas Jeffereson said "A people who want to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, want what never was and never will be." People who support capitalism do not know what freedom is. If they did, they would not beg to be the slaves that they are just because their slavery is less onerous than the slavery of those who are worse off.

    But as the entire fiscal system is unsustainable, I believe that it will all come crashing down sooner rather than later.

    I'm doing my part. I'm simplifying. I buy nothing new than can be bought used, and I buy nothing used that I can learn how to make myself (even if it is not precisely what I want or if I need to borrow tools to do so). This way, I grow skills that can contribute to society when the money thing comes crashing down. Join some of us who are doing our part in helping to crash the economy. Spend as little as you possibly can. Find the joy of your own creativity. You are more than the consumer that the slave owners want you to be.
  • mary T

    • 0
    Apr 5 2013: Goodness, cash is the best. Actual bills, preferably hundreds. No one knows your business, and privacy is preserved. Everyone accepts cash. True, you will need some electronic transfers but for just walking around, day to day, cash money makes everyone smile and all doors open.
  • Apr 1 2013: There is no bartering in this idea. Everything of value no longer has a monetary value. Guns, tv's, phones, food, etc etc. Everything that humans grow or manufacture would continue to be available. People work so they can get what they need. They would continue to do the same as they always have. Only the harder jobs would become easier through better technology or employees. Money keeps companies from hirering more people. As it also keeps technology down.
  • Apr 1 2013: If you and everyone else went to work, as we already do, then you've already traded what you need to in order to get what you need/want.
  • Apr 1 2013: Trade what?
  • Mar 29 2013: The only reason I can think of for people starving is faulty political leadership. I'm sure people ate just fine before modern day economics. Take the native Americans for example. They traded I'm sure but there way of life was not centered around commerce.
  • Mar 29 2013: What results are terriblevby today's standards?
  • Mar 27 2013: I think this idea is thought provoking but I'm not sure how you'd implement it. I suppose the main problem is people's labour value is set to decrease with increased mechanisation and industrial processes. People can save money - however poor the interest rates may be at the moment - and there is also such a thing as purchasing power. If money was taken out of the equation, what would people have to trade? People can barter, but what if the things you need can't be bartered for? I think your idea relates quite closely to the more specific idea of what currency is, and perhaps they way currency operates (see radical, unthinkable but real things like bit coins in the news right now). If we changed the way currency worked, we could really change society, well that's my view.
  • Mar 27 2013: There seems to be a lot of opposition to this. To those I ask, can you think of how it could work?
  • Mar 26 2013: . There agriculture was highly advanced and there architecture is mind boggling to this day. Example: machu picchu. Give credit where credit is due. Read up buddy, you'll see.
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2013: mindboggling how could they pull it off. but the results were terrible by today's standards. division of labor is so much better, no surprise it spread all over the place.
  • Mar 26 2013: I never said it wasn't. Money came about because3 bags of salt a sack of wheat and this fifty pound bag of rice was too much to carry so a coin was developed that was backed by government to do away with the cumbersome load. Paper money came about because they could back it with a gold standard. If you had actually paid attention you would see my argument states that commerce and or some sort of cash system is not essential for humans to build an advanced society and the incans were very advanced in many ways.
    • Mar 27 2013: I agree. We need humans to build, manufacture and grow food. We don't need money to do it. Right?people need us to do what we do. Human labor doesn't require money or even a barter system. That is, unless you're talking about the greedy or the lazy. Contrary to popular belief, most people are neither. It's just a few of each, that ruin things for the rest of us.
  • Mar 26 2013: This discussion made me look up the history of money and my initial thought was money shows people in general lack a common focus and goal towards a greater good, that being people as a whole. Like an ant colony. They often get a bad wrap but you can't deny there success as a species. Technology is one way to see and understand the universe but who's to say that's the only way.
  • Mar 26 2013: If the Incas could do it and thrive the way they did why couldn't the same be done in a technological society? I definitely think this can be achieved less human sacrifice.
    • thumb
      Mar 26 2013: RE: "Everything you need . . . " Cashless or coinless is not the same as moneyless. The Incan Tangible Value Representation was based upon the intrinsic value of something as compared to an amount of gold or silver. The Incas did not use coins but used a collective system of tribute and bartering, the ayllu, where they traded creations of gold and silver as well as agricultural products, weapons and clothing. The Spaniards later introduced a system of coinage after their 1525 invasion. The Incan's money was gold and silver.
      • Mar 26 2013: The only trade that occurred was by Central government which was long -distance trade for particular commodities. There were no markets or trade amongst themselves and the only tax required was a Labor tax to the government which in return you would obtain your necessities from state storehouses. No money was ever made because it was not necessary.
        • thumb
          Mar 26 2013: How does one collect taxes without having one of the four forms of money? (Commodity Money; Receipt Money; Fiat Money; or Fractional Money). Just for purposes of this debate let's say there are two examples from human scoial history of moneyless societies: the Incas; and the Prison Systems. Which of those do you advocate putting forward as a convincing argument for establishing a moneyless society?
      • Mar 26 2013: They called it a Labor tax and why would they have money if they're was no where to spend it. it would be pointless. As for prison, that's actually a bad example because there's plenty of cash in prison but due to risk and quantity something normally a couple dollars on the street costs20 dollars in prison.
        • thumb
          Mar 26 2013: Actually, the point that there is money in prisons reinforces the premise that wherever there is trade there is a need for money. The rules of prison say "NO MONEY". But the reality is there is money and always will be money UNLESS the rules are enforced with an iron hand, which cannot be done in a free society. Thank you for supporting my point that money is essential to trade.
  • Comment deleted

    • Mar 25 2013: I understand what you're saying. But, I have to point out, you're still putting some sort of monetary label on things that would not need a value. Like the cost of having a baby. There would be no cost. There'd be no cost for chickens, eggs, ropes, cars, cell phones, internet, computers etc etc.. And so on down the line. These things would still be made by man, as always. Our pay would be simply, that we continue to do our jobs and manufacture things and provide services.. Same as we are already doing.
      There'd be an over abundance of jobs available, because the company isn't drowned in overhead. So jobs would become easier. The technology alone, would make it easier. And having more helping hands on the job would also make it much easier.
      Also, instead of a 40hr week, I'm sure that time would be cut in half, as long as the production was kept up.
      I'm a truck driver. I've spent weeks out on the road. Away from home & family. Just to keep the water, lights and the phone turned on. Why? Because very few people will do my job.
      Put this into perspective. Trucking companies have "OTR" (Over the road) positions, because freight needs to be moved from east coast to west coast and border to border. It would cost them too much to tranfer loads every 200 miles to a different driver. Because instead of one truck doing the job, now you have to have several trucks to drop n hook that same load. If money wasn't an issue, then each driver could haul his load 200 to 300 miles, give it to another driver, and go home.
      I don't think you've thought about this too closely. Don't get me wrong, the whole idea seems incredible. And as I stated in the beginning, a moneyless society will never take place. There is too much greed & corruption in the world. And too many people are complacent with the society we have now. Even the poorest of poor.
      • Comment deleted

        • Mar 25 2013: It does seem communistic. But considering that the government plays very little roll, and everything is market driven.. (the new market being the best product, not the least/most expensive) sort of takes the communism out of it.. In fact, the states could be the ones issuing the employment cards. Like drivers licenses.

          Who can build the better car, make the fastest data plan for cell phones and laptops, and so on and so on. A better product or service would be the key factor in keeping a business alive.. And not the profit margins.
          A friend of mine worked for Radio Shack back in the 80's (I think the 80s) And once or twice a year, he was forced to fire people at different locations because they had to show a certain percentage of profit. The fastest way to do so, was to cut their overhead. After 2 years of doing that, he couldn't stand it. Because he'd get to know these people and couldn't handle the stress of firing good people, just because of the stock holders rule of a .06% increase in profits...
  • Mar 25 2013: The issue of "slavery" makes me think of American slavery, where the blacks and asians were used to either build railroads or farm.. And anything else they were told to do back then.
    They worked for their food, clothes, shelter and other things they needed. The only pay they recieved was the things they would've bought with the money they earned from working, had they not been slaves. We all work for the same things. Of course it's different now. We have cars, cell phones, computers etc etc. Things that humans already make when they go to work, so they can buy food, clothes, shelter and other things that they want and need.
    Of course, we'd have to have some sort of verification. That would be government issued (BTW, there'd still be a need for a government. Only it would severed to what was only necessary) We'd have an employment card.
    When you go to work, you'd clock in & out with your employment card. On your way home, you decided to pick up some groceries. You get what you needed from the grocery store, and swipe your employment card. When you needed a new car, you'd swipe your employment card. When you needed anything that was available, you'd just swipe your employment card.
    I know what some are thinking right now. That there'd be some with 20 Porches in their drive way. And 35 deep freezers in their garages packed full of freezer burned food, because they can't eat as much as their greed thought they would.
    This might be the case at first. But within a year or less, things would calm down. People would realize they don't need everything. The reason why they thought so at first, is because they probably had very little to start with, and all this free stuff was just too good to pass up. I would not want the government to regulate how much a person has. If we are producing, then let them figure out on their own, what is too much and what is not.
    Technology would allow for better goods and services. Especially for jobs that no one wants to do.
    • Mar 26 2013: I could see electronic vouchers to eliminate abuse. This is just making me think of all the money government gets from the owners of this country, we the people, and how it's totally mismanaged and wasted.
      • Mar 27 2013: If the government was without money, it wouldn't be corrupt or in control of good honest people. We'd still need the government for the bad people.
  • thumb
    Mar 25 2013: .
    Yes!
    .
    To society, money is:

    (1) Good ---- below or at its optimal point of amount.
    . . .It makes barter easy.
    (2) Bad ---- above the optimal point.
    . . .It makes greed, invalid happiness, crime, evil, inequality, war, environment crisis, ,,,,
    . . .humankind self-extinction.

    So, take it out of society beyond the optimal point!

    .
    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 10, 14, at
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
    .
    • thumb
      Mar 25 2013: Barter is just another form of capitalism. It's no better than money. Money's only advantage is that it is easier to carry around, and for the money-holders, its easier to deceive with. There have been moneyless societies in the past. Wealth as the social glue imposed on them, destroyed them.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: "There have been moneyless societies in the past."

        Please give us an example or two, Gail. Maney/barter/capitalism is simply a convenient exchange format for society, because no one can be self-sufficient on their own. Having read many of your posts, I know you're far too intelligent to believe that humanity was tricked into capitalism by the Illuminati.
        • Mar 25 2013: The problem with moneyless societies in the past, was that they were too small to continue. There are simple things that are a necessity, that even in a money-less society, you still have to pay for. For example: Sewage, clothes and other necessities...
          If everything went moneyless, then the sewage plants, water treatment plants, clothes manufacturing, lumber companies, concrete plants, drilling rigs etc etc, would continue to operate.
          The moneyless societies in the past, couldn't sustain themselves because not everyone is willing to wash clothes in freezing temperatures, walk out into the icy woods to use the rest room. Or even something as simple as going wiithout keeping up with their friends on facebook...
          If everything was moneyless, their still be facebook.
          Those moneyless societies you speak of, were like living in the caveman days...
        • Mar 26 2013: Do a little research before you discredit some ones claims. The Inca empire. Look it up.
  • thumb
    Mar 25 2013: I'm with Pat. Any amount you feel you must remove from your life I will gladly take it from you.
    To your point however, I believe that Gene Roddenberry's thoughts of a moneyless society where mankind has decided that knowledge is more important is so incredibly far fetched that I rather believe warp drive is a possiblity comparatively speaking. Having said that, sure why not? If my freedom remained in tact and my needs were met completely I suppose that would be ok, however that would mean that society finally decided that all people are equal, that diseases are completely removed from our lives and war could finally be buried once and for all, as a start. Also, there is the heirarchy of power above that must be considered. If money isn't the motivational factor, would it be labor or worse slave labor? At least we would have food replicators.

    Always an interesting question.
    • Mar 25 2013: Hathaway.
      So you believe the lie we have no motivation except for money?
      Why do people teach, play, learn, study, build, design, create and eat?
      Solely for the gain of money? No. We are motivated because that is part of what we are as a species.
      If the global monetary system collapses, we will still want, desire and need to do those things I listed, along with many others. Let's see, according to your logic the people who swarmed over Thailand, Malaysia, India and other places devastated by the 2004 tsunami, did so for money, even though they didn't get paid?
      With out money, we have nothing standing in our way from solving our problems. Why?
      Because nothing costs money. Everything costs people.
      Things don't........"get done"...........because of money.
      Things.............don't get done".......because of money.
      Since money is the cause of most of ills of humanity, getting rid of it will also rid humans of almost all crime and what goes with it.
      We don't need money but the financial people/elite/rulers need us to continue believing we need money in order to maintain control of humanity. That is where their power comes from in the manufacture, control, distribution and manipulating of its value.
      The power structure has to be based on how we make decisions, not who makes them.
      Decisions made involving money are always the wrong decisions and benefit only those who profit off them.
      Usually, well almost 100% of the time, this involves 'not solving the problems' promised, needed and even demanded.
      The monetary system is a corrupt system, unjust, cannot be made just and has to be done away with.
      The only way to be successful in it is to become corrupt because that is how it works, thrives and survives as a system. It is a system of enslavement.
      Sorry, if you don't believe that. It's true however.
      Some people can see the truth. Most simply don't want to, but they will take you down with them.
      We don't need money.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: @RANDOM: Nice to see someone as passionate and rational as I am. Nice post.

        This bears repeating:
        Nothing costs money. Everything costs people.
        Things don't........"get done"...........because of money.
        Things.............don't get done".......because of money.
      • Mar 25 2013: I'm sure there'd still be many motovating factors. Because as you said, it's just part of our species. I do think, how ever, we'd be motovated for different things.
        Take cars for example. Why are their low end and high end cars? Because of the money factor. Some people can't afford Porches. Some people are can't even afford a used Porche. So they get what they can afford.
        Without money, all vehicles would be the absolute best they could be. Imagine, without money, there'd be electric cars that could go 100mph, and last for 200+ miles on one charge. Petroleum would NOT be a thing of the past, because so many products, like trash bags, all types of plastics and other things, need (right now) need a petroleum base, to be manufactured.

        I can just imagine all the great ideas that have been bought and then squashed before it got to the production stage, by those that can't afford or allow the competition. Things that would make all our lives more efficient, less costly and less stressful... Stressful in this case, would be pulling up to a gas pump @ $4.00 per gallon, knowing you have to buy it, but really need groceries or medicine.
        • Mar 26 2013: Capitalism breeds competition which is never bad but instead of competing against each other we would be competing against ourselves which is probably even better for innovation, possibly but will definitely ponder some more.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: I don't believe that I said that I believe that money is the only factor, mearly stating that for many that would be A factor.
    • thumb
      Mar 25 2013: @HATHAWAY: You should watch this TED talk. Money is proven not to be the best motivator - except for menial slave-like tasks.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

      I know that I keep very busy and I am retired. Money doesn't motivate me. Passion does.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: Again, I didn't say that money is MY reason to work. As an artist and designer I know all too well the reason why I get up in the morning and all too often it is to be satisfied with my work alone. If you read my comment you will see that I said " Having said that, sure why not? If my freedom remained in tact and my needs were met completely I suppose that would be ok..."
    • Mar 26 2013: How could they be far fetched when a perfect example of a money less society were the Incas.
    • Mar 26 2013: I think there majority of us have decided all people are equal but why would all diseases need to be eradicated? This change could only happen over several generations. Whole new ways of thinking would have to be implemented generation after generation.
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2013: Well, as to diseases my thinking was just as much a reference to Mr. Roddenberry's vision of the future as well as the heirarchy of power I mentioned above in my first comment. A drug company would need to somehow make people work for them to create drugs that would stop diseases, and how would that work? Some form of commerce is needed to produce results, yes? Passion has something to do with many things in life but a corporation isn't a passionate entity unless commerce is involved. If money isn't the driving force, what is? Barter or perhaps indentured servitude? Most people live for the good times and money can buy that to some extent. Thinkers believe that humanity can be better than it is, and I believe that too. However those of us who are only focused on the potential still miss one fact. Part of being human is to achieve goals in life. If money is my goal, who is to say thats wrong or backward. I don't know about anyone else here, but I have yet to see any captains of industry chime in on this post. Multimillionares would be hypocritical by saying "we don't need money", therefore only dreamers and the dillusional believe that. I prefer dreamers myself.
        Referencing your opening comment/question of the majority of us deciding that all people are equal I must respectfully disagree Mr Cook. Such a statement seems to me a bridge too far as we are talking about a world wide change (afterall who would do business with the US if we didn't offer commerce, therefore the whole planet would have to be in on it) and simply reading any headline of world affairs indicates the contrary to that. As you said, "whole new ways of thinging would have to be implemented.."
        • Mar 26 2013: Don't get me wrong. Your totally correct. I made a reference to Incas but that's just one ancient, albeit very successful, civilization but if that were to ever really happen that's at least another mellenia, especially on a world wide scale bit its always fun to vision. All people should definitely be treated as equal because no human is above any other.
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2013: We need money