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Why do we still live in a monetary based economy? How can we make our current system more efficient, less wasteful and overall sustainable?

Is there a better system that we could follow that is based around improving quality of life for all humans and to increase resource efficiency? I am not proposing that we don’t use a type of currency for trade, what I am saying is that our current system is not working efficiently and not improving human life. Money is the focal point and it traps people in it through debt. Our dependence on money has many adverse affects. It is limiting our potential and stopping sustainable progression.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to live in a society were we do things to their full potential. Maximise efficiency and minimise waste. A system that is transparent with no class distinction. That provides the basic needs of life for free; Food, shelter, education and cloths. No strings attached, nothing locking you in. We live once so while fill it with things that add nothing to your life our others?

Im not saying we should do this or that, I am saying that there are flaws in our current system, how can we change it to make it better? How can we make our current system more efficient, less wasteful and overall sustainable??

Topics: community society

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    May 9 2013: lets take "improving quality of life". unless we want to decide what is good and what is not, quality of life is what people prefer to have. if people prefer to watch oprah, then for them, watching oprah is quality time. that measure of quality can be maximized in a free market setting, in which people work for each other and trade goods based on voluntary interaction. we can prove it is mutually beneficial, or otherwise the cooperation would not happen. we can also prove that coerced interactions can only benefit one party, otherwise it would happen voluntarily.

    resource efficiency. efficiency in what? the free market is a system that maximizes the psychic value output of any given set of resources and tools. it happens through the profit and loss concept, and through prices. profit means that you took resources, and transformed them into a good that is valued higher than what otherwise could have been created from the same set of resources. you found a better arrangement in order to generate more psychic value. again, this is a subjective efficiency, as it does not guarantee for example less food wasted. if people value abundance of cheap food, the free market delivers it without hesitation. the free market also optimizes other wastes the same way. it does not try to minimize waste, rather maximize the psychic value generated from a given set of resources.

    money is not the focal point of anything. psychic value is. we achieve higher level of satisfaction through the division of labor, that is, working on a single task, and then exchange. over a very basic level, this process needs a "common denominator", and that is money. the free market always creates some sort of money. throughout history, gold was people's choice, but we are getting to the age of computers, so some more advanced forms might come to life. it does not really matter as long as it is free from coercion (unlike today).

    check matt ridley's TED talk as a starter.
    • May 9 2013: Quality of life: amount of time in your life doing what ever you “enjoy” whether that is watching oprah or riding a horse. Large portions of our lives are currently taken up by work. Is work voluntary when you cannot survive without working to earn money? Everything we need to survive costs money. People buy these things. They then get consumed or break. Then you need to buy them again to continue to survive. Which then gives you a never ending demand in this “free market” because people kind of want to live. So this means you need to work (whether you enjoy it or not) to earn money. A majority of jobs in our society are made because people simply need to be employed and if they aren’t they get angry because they cant earn money to live.

      Today there are several things happening. That work is shifting towards machines and cheaper labour. That cheap labour is been found in poor countries and that’s why we are seeing an improvement with poverty. Yes that’s a good thing but it doesn’t stop the fight for work to survive. It is simply moving the work around. So I suppose you could say some people’s quality of life is getting better in some places but then others are getting worse. In this system there will always be a struggle for money to survive. Even though the resources and man power sits there, potential not getting utilised because there isn’t any paper to give to people in exchange instead some other poor fella as agreed to do it cheaper so he can live and a better profit can be made for only a few. The demand for better quality of life is always there but sometimes the money isn’t. Money is required to buy (trade) resources (or ideas as Matt Ridleys puts them) to add to local resources to meet a demand. People with little money can sometimes meet this demand but to a poor quality.

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        May 9 2013: you can not blame the need to work on society or the economy. i'm very sorry that iphones don't grow on trees. the free market economy that frees us from this burden. of course, we probably never will stop working. but we can work less and less, we can have more and more interesting jobs. it is not a remote possibility. it happened already, and it is happening right now.

        work is not shifting toward machines. some task are, but the total working population is not on decline. a tiny fraction of the jobs existed in 1000AD exist today, the rest is done by machines. people picked other jobs. as soon as the jobs of today gets automated, people will pick yet another jobs. only our imagination limits what we can do to make our lives even more interesting or satisfying.

        not "some people's" life got better. just look at the facts: average income in USA, 1800 was a few thousand dollars per year (inflation adjusted). today, even a very low income family has ten times as much. you can find no place on earth with declining life standards, except war zones.
        • May 10 2013: I accept that we will always have to work to a certain level. Machines can not do everything that we can. We will need to manage these systems and continue growing our knowledge base through work.

          A large portion of work is and has moved towards machines but yes there has been a shift in jobs around the work. Poorer countries are sometimes cheaper to do the work instead of machines but it is only a matter of time before the machine replaces them too.

          I agree there are some jobs getting made because our advancement with technology has reached a point of complexity that it requires people to specialise. The rate of these jobs being made however, are not keeping up with the jobs being replaced by machines. These specialise jobs as well require a lot of resources to educate people to meet them.

          Unemployment rates in the world are raising therefore weakening the economy. Making things more affordable for those who have money but less people have jobs so it’s a bit of a catch 22.

          This system is very complex and issues aren’t just caused by one thing.
    • May 9 2013: You have contradicted yourself when you say money is not the focal point but one sentence back from where you say this “ system maximizes the psychic value from a resource”. Which equals: We take a given resource and try to maximise psychic value but minimising production cost to maximise profits. Decreasing production costs has some serious affects on quality and efficiency. Ranging from human health, waste, product life, waste, pollution, etc. I think people would getter a higher level of satisfaction if they knew they were making something to its full potential and where receiving the same.

      You are obvious suggesting that our system is not free and therefore flaw. Flawed in what ways?

      I enjoyed that film. Recommend any others?
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        May 9 2013: i did not contradict myself at all. money is a great tool and nothing more. in fact it is so great tool that without it, modern economy could not exist. but it is still just a smart tool. the focal point of the economy is putting resources to uses that deliver the maximum psychic benefit.

        the problem is that you don't really get the role of money. for example you say " We take a given resource [...] but minimising production cost". the set of resources used *is* the cost. more precisely, all the goods foregone because we chose not to use the said resource to create them. if we make a bicycle, the cost of it is the steel and plastic, more precisely, the psychic value of a roller, a car door, 3 computer casings, and so on, whatever could have been made out of it. money is just a common denominator, so we don't have to list all the possible uses. so we say, $500. it is the same thing.

        reducing costs is a good thing. it does not have any negative effects. reducing costs only mean that we find a way to deliver the desired good in a way that we prevent the creation of less other goods than previously. in other words, the total amount of goods (measured by psychic value) can be increased with the same amount of effort and resources.

        resource overuse and the exploitation of nature is not a result of money. but a result of people's valuation. they value a good higher than a potential future shortage or discomfort.

        there are other factors that distort decisions made by people. for example misguided regulations. for example a liability cap, put in place by the US government, that limits the liability of oil drillers in case of accidents. this makes accidents less expensive, and thus makes companies care less. we know the results.

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