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 9 2013: A Monetary system Is an accounting tool, for a resource-based society.

    The fact is: money does not exist, and everyone knows it intuitively; but comes back to the reality of “you can’t live without money”.

    A Monetary system & Money are simply a system for measuring Value.
    Value exists only as an opinion of people, and is, as real as the people expressing the opinion.

    “You can’t live without Value” - Many people live without money all over the world.
    Working, is simply an effort taken to create enough value, to balance out the value you must consume to live.

    I think that the dominant Western Monetary system is a “comprehensive accounting of the planets resources”, physical & intellectual. TED is a bank of intellectual resources.

    *Ownership of resources
    In Australian Aboriginal culture the concept of Owning something is non-existent.

    In that culture value is not placed Owning something, value is belonging to & caring for something. Ownership is not, an asset, it is a liability.

    When a young Aboriginal child is educated about their totem, say the River, the child is compelled to spend much time learning about, and caring for, the River. The River is not an asset they own, this is a liability. A responsibility that they invest much time into, the River becomes their contribution to society. They become as valuable to society as the River.

    •Indigenous cultures have existed for 10,000s of years, Western “Ownership” has existed for 5000 or less.
    •Western cultures have increased environmental risks, while Indigenous cultures adapted to environmental risks.
    •Indigenous cultures belong to the land & move through the world. Western cultures cling to hopes of permanence.

    * Usership vs Right of possession
    The desire to use not own, is a growing trend exhibited through the rise of the…
    •“The sharing economy”
    •Peer 2 Peer

    Conclusion – The Monetary system is an accounting tool for a resource-based society. Money does not exist.

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