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 12 2013: Andre: I don't see any apriori reason why money has to lead to abuse. My relatives were Quakers, and they used to make deals with a handshake, and honor them. I've heard that various Jews, Chinese, and others did the same at various times.
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      Aug 14 2013: I think it's fair to say that most people do not abuse money, and the vast majority of the people I know are honest and fair. However, I think it is also fair to acknowledge that there is enough large-scale waste, fraud, and corruption in the world to warrant long-term global change.

      Many of us have heard the phrase, "too big to fail". We should also contemplate the saying, "too big to go to jail". All to often it seems that corruption at the upper echelons of many institutions - the corruption that affects thousands to millions - goes unpunished and sometimes uncorrected. This is criminal, a shame, and - I think - holding us back from creating a far better world.

      Thanks again for all of your comments!

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