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Corvida Raven

Community Catalyst, TED Conferences


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If you woke up today and money ceased to exist, what is the first thing you would do? Why?

Money is a motivating factor in a lot of actions people take on a daily basis. What if money didn't exist? What would you do then?

Let's NOT get into the technicalities of how removing money from the world would change things. This Conversation is SPECIFICALLY about the FIRST thing you would do if money ceased to exist today and why you would do that particular thing.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Topics: life money
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    Jul 24 2011: grab things at home, and head for the store to exchange it for canned food. if i can find a guy stupid enough to make such a deal, i can survive a little longer. i would also accept cigarettes. then i would work on fortifying my house. looting will soon start.
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    Jul 23 2011: I would re-introduce it...

    Face it. Money is one of the best inventions ever.

    Other than that, I would try and figure out how to obtain my daily need of consumer goods (food, drinks)...

    The problem is not money, the problem is how we allow certain money flows to exist.
    • Jul 23 2011: Money is the greatest and the worst invention ever. If at the beginning there were some value behind the money, it had been made from gold and silver and had some resource behind it. Now the money does not worth the paper it printed on. The money is great for you if and only if you are at the top of pyramid and it's only a 1% of earth population, for others money = depth and depth that can't be return - depth = slavery. Any way there are people that can explain this well than me for an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gKX9TWRyfs
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        Jul 23 2011: I don't think that my income is in the top 1%... though I feel myself a rich person.
        About debt: you should, as a person always try and stay out of debt.
        If people don't get into debt, a whole lot of problems would be solved.

        First earn money, then buy stuff! (even houses, but that is another discussion)

        Like I said in other posts already: I don't buy the Zeitgeist story. It has some really nice things to it, has some good critiques and makes people dream. If everybody who is pro Zeitgeist actually did something concrete to further the project (and not talking about it), I might reduce my skepticism.
        It does not sufficiently take into account that we humans, even those who had a very good environment and education, are still human, and prone to deceit, wealth, power, possession,... and a whole range of the less positive traits and behaviors.

        The notion of a value of mineral resources behind money seems useless to me (what use has silver or gold to me?).
        If you would want to couple money to something, make it related to the earth's production and abundance we can use annually so it is not only sustainable, but grows!
        • Jul 24 2011: 1. I am a person who trays to stay away of depts. But as you said – the house or even apartment I’m unable to bay without a loan and after that I’ll have to pay this mortgage for 20 years. I will have to return twice the amount I’ve loaned (at least). Well you probably say – don’t bay any house – rent one. If I’ll rent an apartment I’ll have to pay almost the same amount for rental as I would be paying mortgage – so what’s the difference.
          Well I’m the easy case, while I’m complaining about the roof. There are people that have the same complains about food.
          2. The Zeitgeist movement actually does something, for instance creating a movie is not free there are a lot of man hour and equipment, lecturing is not free either. And it’s even harder for this movement because you are unable to raise money for a good cause because you are against it. I am ready to contribute my time, physical and mental effort, but never the money because it’s contrary the idea.
          3. About the human nature, partially I will agree with you. But let’s look from a different angle: I want to possess some item, let’s say a TV – there are no means to bay some, I can take one from store for free – this eliminates stealing. I am a greedy person I want more TV’s: 2,3,4,5 … when a community sees that I’m taking into possession many TV’s it says – hey this person ‘really’ needs TV’s, let’s help hem and delivers to me double the amount I’ve taken. Eventually what will happen?
          I can’t do nothing with those TV’s – unable to sell or trade them, I will put in every room a TV what will I do with others? Where will I store them and for what? If at any time I can take another TV. My neighbors will look at me strangely – “Is this a man with TV problem”, eventually I will myself bring unnecessary items to the store, and I’ll remain with one TV in order to look modest in the neighbor eye.
          4. About the money made of gold: I didn't mean that the mineral is the value of money – what I wanted to say is – that there
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          Jul 27 2011: QUOTE: "I don't think that my income is in the top 1%..."

          Obviously, I don't know what your income is but assuming you are "quite well off," there is a good chance your income is in the top 1%.

          If you make more than $2100 you would be in the "top half" of the world's wealth distribution.

          About $60,000 puts you in the top 10%.

          And about $500,000 will get you into the 99th percentile.
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        Jul 27 2011: Then I would not even be in the top 10%

        Time to revise your assumptions I guess ;-)
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          Jul 28 2011: Ah, I no longer have to assume - you see, now I know you are not in the top 10%.

          Oh wait!

          I am assuming you are telling the truth (you seem like an honest fellow!) but I really don't know any more than I did before ...

          This knowing thing can be a bit of a bother. But that's a discussion for another thread, isn't it? ;-)
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    Jul 26 2011: The first thing I would do is doggedly determine what the current means of barter is.
    Because money ceases to exist does not magically transform our communities into some Shangri-La, where people exchange goods or services for free.
    People are not motivated by money as they are about the things (stuff) it may allow them to have. Many have used it to do wonderful things in our communities and elsewhere.
    Every generous endeavour and every worthwhile pursuit may be realized whether money exists or not. Just do it.
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    Jul 25 2011: Money has never motivated me. I've actually tried to use it as a motivator (setting monetary goals and so on) and it just doesn't work for me. I do what I do because I want to do it. The money comes or it doesn't.

    So, on a personal level, I would do what I "normally" do ... which is enjoy life and respond to whatever situation I am participating in.

    Of course, how one operates within "the system" would have to be renegotiated ... rebuilt I suppose. But I don't think that's what your asking.
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      Jul 25 2011: I agree with Thomas.

      If you can get everything for free, they won't worth their value anymore.

      But to answer to your question, I think I'll go back to my country to see my parents. I miss them so much. Tickets are too expensive.
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    Jul 22 2011: I think a better way to frame this is not to say 'what if money didn't exist but everything else was the same?" but to say " What if everything you need money for was already taken care of, ie you won a 'cash for life' lottery?"

    I'd do the same thing I do now, but without the worry that it doesn't pay enough. I'd do more research during the summer, rather than working a second job.
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      Jul 22 2011: Michael, your question is one I through out to kids that tell me they want to be rich or a millionaire when they grow up.

      What I'm getting at with my current question is the difference in options we would consider and how much we think accessing things will change if money is not in the picture. A very simple example of the difference is that without money in the equation, people immediately think of bartering. With money still in the equation (whether you have an unlimited supply or not) people tend to think of more material things.
  • Jul 27 2011: Travel, travel, travel. There are so many places I have wanted to see but money was ALWAYS the obstacle. I've never been out of the country, never been on a plane, barely left the U.S. east coast. But I'm still young, so things might change.
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    Jul 26 2011: Then everything would be free....
    Life, Love, Living....
    Coz majorly money revolves around these.....
    So id fill her Up & let it rip.....
    Cloud 9.... cruisin speed.
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    Jul 26 2011: I worked in IB during the financial crisis, and their was a moment when it seamed money would sort of "cease"...the first feeling i got was that i felt relieved...suddenly a huge burden of pressure and competition fell my mind...to answer concretely your question,...I would try to be close to peolpe I trust and feel comfortable with...
  • Jul 26 2011: I would request to be taken to space and be left there floating for a week...
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      Jul 27 2011: Why?
      • Jul 27 2011: Because I don't have the $30M it would cost to do now... plus it would be AWESOME to go to space!
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          Jul 28 2011: I agree with you there, space would be incredible!! Would there be space travel without money though? Serious question, not rhetorical.
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    Jul 25 2011: I would spend more time meeting new people. There are too many people I didn't get to know because I was working to pay for college/living.
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    Jul 24 2011: Think. Assess the skills and commodties I have that can be used to barter. Organize a community meeting (4-5 block area to begin) and assess how we can help one another through barter. Set up structure to ensure necessities are availablle to all (water, food, shelter).

    Begin to think about longterm needs once shortterm comforts are met. Find information on the pre-industrial household, which was self-sufficiient,.

    A social organization must be created to contend with the changed circumstances.
  • Jul 24 2011: I'd go to work (teaching reading at a public school) and then organize a community bartering center.
  • Jul 24 2011: I guess I would still go to have my breakfast first, and thinking about what I need and want to know about how people exchange their things. Because it's hard to estimate the value of all the things, it would be very difficult for people to exchange what they need very equally.
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    Jul 23 2011: If monehy ceased to exist I would go back to the barter system. I would fully enjoy lifes little pleasures.
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    Jul 23 2011: I think the day money ceased to exist first thing I’ll do is I’ll go back to my village that to free of cost. Free not because airlines or trains will provide free services but because I have to travel by walk or by cycle all the way 1000 miles as with money most of the means of transportation will also ceased to exist. I’ll not be able to buy food so only option will be to grow it so I’ll setup my farmland and start growing crops. My kids will not go to school to learn how to live in materialistic world so we’ll have plenty of time together enjoying and learning how to live in this beautiful world. I’ll not need to buy precious gifts for my wife to show my love because she’ll get what she always demanded even after getting those gifts and that is me. I’ll be always be with her with my family and I think it’ll be the happiest time of my life.....But that's just a dream in reality if money ceased to exist first thing any one will do it to recreate it :-)
  • Jul 23 2011: WOW, what a great idea !!! I would just stop, think and enjoy the idea of a world free of corruption, that is mainly created and maintained for the sake of accumulating money. Saying that as an Egyptian, who is still witnessing our revolution that reveals every day how corruption was tied to money. Latter, I would look for the simplest form of life, choose it and enjoy sharing life with humanity.
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    Jul 23 2011: if money was no issue, I would go to NY and work for Architecture for Humanity. That is what I want to do anyway, but can't afford because they only take volunteers :(
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    Jul 23 2011: I would do exactly the same as usual. If I were working would carry on, but I would not expect to be paid. When i need something I would just pick it up and not pay. That is what I have agreed to do and so has everyone else. Until we get used to it we might be inclined to grab a bit more than we actually need but when we find it will always be there, we would stop hoarding. Like everything else, freedom carries it's own responsibility. ( Is there somreting wrong with this typescript, some characters are not forming properly). Of course, it can only happen if we all agree>
  • Jul 23 2011: I think immediately of Orwell's Animal Farm. I think in the short run, it would reset local inequalities temporarily and displace and remove the elites from power with a feeling of euphoria for ones once repressed. But in the long run, a monatary system would be re-established and a new group of elites in the right place at the right time would arise. There would be negligable difference between the old elites and the new elites. Throughout history following voids of power to be seised, the new rulers often feel nostaligia and go back to habits of previous ones in power as its often the only example of ruling known before.
  • Jul 23 2011: if all money ceased to exist the first thing i'd do is work out what things others would likely want in trade for the things i need.

    a lot of commenters say they'd be glad, but i'm sure that'd be extremely short-lived. say you order a pizza to celebrate the erasure of your student loan or the fact that in an instant the rich and poor have been placed on equal ground, how would you pay for it? do you have anything at all that the supermarket would accept in exchange for the daily necessities you need from them? and how would you like to be compensated by your employer?

    money is NOT a motivating factor in anyone's life, it is a means to an end. money is not some giant evil creation it's simply a trade standard which enables us to trade the things we have for the things we want.

    if you're trying to make an objection to the way society is today in that the rich tend to do whatever they can to ensure they get the biggest share of the pie even if it means leaving everyone else the smallest possible, then i'd agree that you have a point. i firmly believe maximum wealth should be tied to minimum wealth - the CEO can't make more than 10 times any other employee for example, so that if he wants more he also has to give all of his workers more.
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    Jul 23 2011: If money ceased to be the currency by which we make a living and everything else remained the same it would change my life in nearly every aspect. It would be Utopia.

    Even those for which money is "no object" it still defines them. Take money away and we would judge people's worth not by the size of their bank account but, to quote MLK, "by the content of their character". That would be nice.
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    Jul 22 2011: Probably, pretty much the same as I do every day. I know that's not inspiring or even particularly interesting, but it is honest.
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    Jul 22 2011: throw a party!
  • Jul 22 2011: I would probably weep for joy at the prospect of all of my college debt being erased. Then I would pour myself a bowl of Corn Pops and watch cartoons, just like I used to when money didn't matter.
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      Jul 23 2011: This made me almost cry, I'm seventeen and I don't know just sounds so sad that this is what life will turn into, missing the good ol' days
      • Jul 23 2011: Oh, man, I really didn't mean to make you (almost) cry. I sincerely apologize. I'm only 24, and 17 doesn't seem like that long ago, so please don't think that everyone that gets older is cynical and depressed. I mean, I am, but that's me.

        But seriously, a 17 year old browsing TED? Not just browsing, but interacting with the community? Awesome. I commend you. I wish I had a resource like this when I was younger. And really, it's not just the absence of a resource, but the desire to grow and learn through a positive environment. This website and the community that surrounds it are amazing, and if you're interested in discussion and education that relates to TED, I have a feeling you'll be just fine.

        Long story short, yeah, I suppose my outlook is a bit sad, but if there's something sad, there must be something beautiful waiting to be experienced.
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          Jul 23 2011: Thank you, I really needed your message I guess I'm just afraid cause I don't know what's next but your words have shown me you can't have good without the bad so I guess I'll just have to weather the storm and keep moving.
      • Jul 23 2011: Wow! I'm 29, a high school teacher in Oz, and someone who knows far too much about educational debt (20g's+ initially, but slowly whittled down to about 11 ) and hoping the best for my students' futures. I wish I had more kids like you in my class Jerell. I sincerely mean that. I experience far too many young adults who feel disillusioned by the circumstances that they grow up in, focus too much on the negatives of life / school / peer pressure etc... and give up on the amazing experiences that the future holds. To be honest, i found the whole concept of school pretty tough (i don't think i could explain to you succinctly enough how i ended up being a teacher!), but there is an amazing life waiting for you. The only requirement is that you embrace it.
  • Jul 22 2011: I would pray and ask for the LORD's guidance on what to do and how to go about it.
  • Jul 22 2011: The first thing I would do is gather my guns & their ammunition, clean the guns, and get ready for trouble. That would be the ultimate financial strife in society, and financial strife is the worst--people like their money, and when there is none, big trouble is on the way very quickly.
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      Jul 23 2011: Yes, I was thinking the same, because there would be a huge battle for resources that people with money no longer have necessary access to. There would be no order at all because the laws rely on law enforcement and that would not likely be functioning. 1. Get protection ready 2. Set up some form of sustainable farming 3. barter/trade with people for things I need
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    Jul 22 2011: I think I would drop everything and move to some place that I chose at random
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      Jul 22 2011: I'm tempted to follow in your steps :)
    • Jul 23 2011: How would you pay for the flights / petrol etc...? Money is a means to an end. It allows us to transfer a relative value to someone else. How would your new abode be acquired? Whatever the materialistic / intrinsic value, it would be really difficult to create a new measure-of-value on-the-fly to a broad range of people.
  • Jul 21 2011: Pretty much the same minus the obvious...
  • Jul 21 2011: Find some food, so I could live.
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    Jul 21 2011: I wouldn't go into work.