TED Conversations

Andre Hoogeveen

Specialist, Apple Computer Inc.

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What benefits and challenges might arise as a result of transitioning from a monetary system to a resource-based society?

In other words, if we were to eliminate all forms of money and bartering, what changes - large and small, positive and negative - might we see?

Thus, imagine a world in which there is a comprehensive accounting of the planet's resources, such as fresh water, arable land, minerals, and animal life. Further contemplate that technology and automation have begun to eliminate dangerous, boring, or repetitive jobs. Finally, take a moment to ponder the possibilities if each person were given the opportunity for a quality education and the ability to reach their highest potential.

Indeed, there is a lot to take in, and no single answer could account for the many facets of such a scenario. Nevertheless, from a position of sustainability, I think we must realistically look at what the monetary system has done, and what ever-developing technology will do.

As you consider your possible answer(s), please reflect on the following:

- The effect of education on the birthrate.
- Ownership of the Earth's resources.
- The concept of "usership" as opposed to the "right of possession".
- The inevitability of "technological unemployment".

I thank you kindly for reading this, and for taking the time to answer!

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    Aug 4 2013: has anyone read 'Looking Backward' by Edward Bellamy? it speaks to a futuristic social structure similar to this. It was written in 1888 so does not include present day challenges such as environmental issues. It is a good read.
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      Aug 4 2013: Hi Mary, thanks for your response!

      "Looking Backward" is on my reading list, and I look forward to checking it out! [Incidentally, I just finished "Cloud Atlas," and cannot recommend it highly enough. David Mitchell is a brilliant writer, especially when it comes to period languages and speaking styles.]
    • Aug 13 2013: Fictional utopias (and all utopias are fictions) are fiction for a reason: They cannot exist in the real world.

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