Sean T
  • Sean T
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

Abolish money and create a better world

Money, specifically the lack thereof and the finite amount of it, brings about starvation, homelessness, criminal activity, personal inequality, and health care issues as well as hindering our technological development.

Why do people starve when there is plenty of food to eat? The answer is: it costs too much to get that food to them. Why does the USA have 3.5 million homeless while simultaneously having over 19 million vacant houses? Again, the answer is: they don't have the money nor can they obtain the money to afford a place to stay. Why is it that most non-violent and some violent criminals originate in poor families? Once again, the answer is: they don't have the money to obtain what they need/want so they steal from others, scam others, prostitute themselves, etc. These issues as well as others originate with our usage of money and specifically our thought that everyone receives compensation equivalent to his work.

I am suggesting that we abolish our usage of money and replace it with a society controlled (read: not government controlled) resource management system. In this system, we use the resources we have without restriction to ensure that no one goes hungry or remains homeless while simultaneously advancing our technology into the next era. We have adequate resources to fuel our military and feed our people; money prevents us from doing this. In this system, a person can have everything he needs and all the reasonable material wants he desires so long as he contributes to the society in some positive fashion.

Decreased crime rates, prevention of homelessness and starvation, equal education for all, and health care available to everyone are just a few surface benefits. Is there anyone out there who can see the benefit of this change? Anyone who would like to help make it a reality?

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    Aug 22 2011: Get rid of money, replace it with another system of exchange of goods, pretend that it is nothing like money when it is. The problem isn't money, the problem is human beings.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 23 2011: For the record, I never stated or hinted that a barter system is better nor did I advocate it. Either I did not explain it well enough or you misunderstood. There is no trading or bartering. A person receives what he needs and wants if he has contributed to the society in some manner. The only thing you could argue as trade is the exchange of a person's time for what he needs.
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        Aug 23 2011: So, like a job you get paid for in resources. Ummmm...
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          Sean T

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          Aug 24 2011: Not quite. You aren't paid in the strictest sense of the term. You are simply permitted to take that which you need.
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        Aug 24 2011: so now its no longer what you need and want, it's only what you need? Who permits you? How do you decide what you need? Doesn't entertainment products get slashed in the process?
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          Sean T

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          Aug 24 2011: Now you're trying to twist my words and I did walk straight into that one. I simply did not feel like writing "need and want" at that moment; a petty whim.

          Society at large would permit you to take. The difficulty being how to determine whether or not someone has contributed and deserves to receive. You could argue that is the idea behind money, but the system is flawed in a way that a person can contribute and not be compensated enough to get what he needs to survive. Every previous attempt to fix this system to prevent this systematic error has failed thus far and so I believe we need to try a different system.

          Tell me: how do you decide what you need? How do you decide that you need food? How do you decide that you need water? How do you decide when you that to move to a new area? Needs supersede economic systems as money does not dictate what you need or when you need it. It is subjective; I will gladly grant you that.

          Entertainment would not necessarily be slashed. That is not to say that it would remain in the same fashion it does now, but it would not be eliminated if that's what you meant. Every society, even from cavemen days, has had entertainment. It ranged from story telling around a fire to dancing to modern movies. It serves a distinct purpose to alleviate stress as well as educate and promote social values.
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    Aug 22 2011: I agree that the future of humanity will make money obsolete but we are far far away from that.

    First thing we didn't figured out how the right alternative looks like. And I don't mean theories, I mean tests that proves to work.

    Second, we didn't figured out how an appealing transition is going to be. For one thing, it should be organic and not imposed.

    Governments, or powerful resourceful people, should be running economical experiments for instance in an island or a new small town with volunteers and tests new economical systems based on what we know today about neurosciences, neuroeconomy, anthropology, sociology and friends.

    Google, Steve, Bill are you hearing?

    Sponsor that island/town. That's a huge opportunity (of your size guys).
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      Sean T

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      Aug 23 2011: I absolutely agree that we have to do small scale studies before full on implementation. That is the only way to correctly predict how things would work and fix any problems in the system prior to implementation. Lacking those data points, everything I've been saying is largely conjecture. Also without a proper, working example, a large number of people would never buy into it.

      It should be and hopefully would be organic. Societies are the way they are because of the people that comprise them. Once enough people agree that this is a positive change, it can happen. Until then, any group would have to force it upon people and we all know that never works.
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        Aug 23 2011: Yeah, but I focus again on the current challenge: create the circumstances for those tests.

        Before those we only have conversation (better than nothing), after them, tweaking some versions will get us to the right system. Once found it, things will either fall into place (or won't be the right system).

        I know I'm not saying anything new, I admit that, only stressing our current, baby step, challenge
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    Aug 22 2011: "Why do people starve when there is plenty of food to eat? The answer is: it costs too much to get that food to them."

    No, the answer is that it is difficult to get the food to them. It requires that you allocate physical resources and human labor to get food to them and this in turn is why it is expensive.

    You can certainly make an argument that we don't distribute resources and labor as efficiently as possible, but you haven't made a cogent argument that getting rid of money would do better. On top of that you are attributing causes to money that are really symptoms of underlying causes.

    Money and markets are, in fact, the "society controlled resource management system" you are talking about. Maybe there is a better one, but simply suggesting that we get rid of the one we currently have, even if not perfect, without a viable alternative is not particularly helpful.

    I would suggest taking a concrete example and trying to work out the details. For instance: start with a starving population in Africa and surplus of grain in the USA. Don't pretend that you have unlimited resources and try to figure out how your system would decide to mine the iron for a ship large enough to carry the grain, the fuel to run it, the man power to work it, the roads and trucks to move it, all while understanding that there are other people elsewhere that would like to make demands on these limited resources. It quickly becomes a very difficult problem if you are realistic about it. It's a very simple problem if you pretend your resources are unlimited, but that's a fantasy.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 23 2011: The problem I see and have attempted to point out is that the distribution of the resources is determined by who can pay for it. Those who need it most typically don't have the money to get it. I never intended that everyone in Africa would have an abundance of food. Like you said, the logistics of it are astounding. I was focusing on the people who can walk down the street to the corner store and look at food and not be able to consume it because they cannot afford it.

      The fatal flaw of our money and markets is that a person can put in a hefty amount of work and receive very little while someone else can play golf and have lunch and receive an excessive amount. The imbalanced distribution of the money is the fatal flaw and that is caused by money promoting greedy behavior (which I identified in another comment).

      Also, the thought that unlimited resources are the only way for it to be possible is not necessarily true. The resources may be consumed at a faster rate. While I personally don't believe that would happen, it is a possibility, however, that I will not deny. The distribution would change. Instead of a billionaire directing the development of technologies, groups of engineers would have more influence on how the materials are utilized to better everyone.
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        Aug 23 2011: Are you sure money is the source of greed rather than the things money can buy? Kobe beef and yachts will still be desired beyond their availability with or without money.

        So the question again, is how do you decide? For instance, who gets to eat caviar and who doesn't? There's not enough for everyone who wants it. Does everyone get a private plane? They really are very convenient.

        And who gets the nice golf-playing, lunch-eating jobs and who gets the hefty-work jobs? How do you decide without money, markets and incentives?

        Who decides?

        When it comes to feeding the hungry, money is actually much more useful than you give it credit for. For instance I can send a sheep to someone in Africa through Heifer International only because money makes it easy for me to convert the completely unrelated work I do on the other side of the globe into a sheep in Africa.
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          Sean T

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          Aug 23 2011: I never said money is the source of greed. It simply promotes greedy behavior as I have explained twice already.

          Luxury items would either become non-existent or more abundant depending on society itself. Either people will make more of them and less of other things because people want them more or they will make fewer of them in an attempt to make more of something more practical. That is something that I cannot predict.

          The people would decide who gets the cushy jobs and who doesn't by picking people from among themselves to run things. In this way, a person who does an exceptional job not only becomes a model worker but is also elevated by his peers to a managerial position. Given that a skilled construction worker may not be a good manager as the skills don't translate over, the people would probably choose someone with the skills to do so. However, since everyone can go get what they need after a contribution is made, no one receives more than another because they have a job deemed more important. In short, it is a collective decision made by the workers of a company and not the upper tier.

          While being able to send food to a starving person in Africa is undeniably good, that is not the idea I'm proposing at the moment. As I explained before, that is not my current focus. That person is not part of your society as he lives outside your country. This idea only benefits those within the country until of course it spreads and encompasses others. If that person made a contribution to the American society, then sending him what he needs would be a requirement. Since he does not, such things would come out of the kindness of people's hearts as it currently does. It would be a collective decision between the food producers and the shipping companies to send food influenced by society's desire to do so.
  • Aug 22 2011: Money is not the problem; the problem is with us on how we value that. Further to resolve the issue of people not having it,

    Richness is in giving money, not in holding it only.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 23 2011: I agree with your final statement but the people with the money received it because they were largely greedy and unlikely to give it away to anyone. As I said in another reply, society provides money as a form of positive reinforcement to those who act in certain ways; which typically is through greedy, selfish acts that are detrimental to society's existence and purpose.
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    Aug 25 2011: Let us remember that, since the beginning, the needs of the human body were approximately the same that we still have today (disconsidering the need of food, if we take into account that, on ancient times, more energy was in fact spent by each human being in the search of the very food he/she needed etc).As human population and the universe of things at our disposal became greater, we began to add new needs to the first ones... So, money served as a kind of logarithmical deflactor... It reduced the needs to an imaginary common denominators... At that point, it was a really necessary conversor... This denominator was initially a means, but eventually became an end in itself...After its instituition all over the world, it is very difficult to get rid of it just because it lays at the bottom of many transactions and assumptions in real life... It is like a remedy (medicine): it has a good and a bad side-effect... So its elimination should have the same effects...Its abolishing could result in an at least initial diminishing of greed, but should end up bringing bad side-effects, like the ones that we might see when some drug-addicted person sees himself without his drug...
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      Sean T

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      Aug 26 2011: No doubt it is infused into everyday transactions and seems difficult to remove. The base concepts, the principles for the work enabled by it, remain after it is removed. It would take time for people's focus to shift back to what it should have been on to begin with.

      I like your drug addiction analogy; I may borrow that in the future. The drug addict sees a world that is worse without his drugs and suffers withdrawals denied the substance. However, the withdrawals are a passing condition and afterwards he feels better than before. I haven't disagreed with the thought that everything may, and probably would, get worse before getting better.

      Ultimately, I'm seeking a solution to the systemic problem the current system has and has always had. At the onset of the system, wealth is evenly distributed and over time the property of the system to promote greed causes the distribution to be uneven. Eventually, society wakes up and repossesses its property and redistributes only to have the same degenerative process take over once again. It's seen continually throughout history and what's sad about it is that the vast majority are content so long as they have their personal needs fulfilled and freedom to do with their spare time what they will. I don't think the solution lies within the current system but exists in a different system all together. One that hopefully doesn't promote greed or has safeguards against it.
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    Sean T

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    Aug 23 2011: The only reason a job requiring more education pays more is that education costs money. Education is nothing more than a method of refining a person's skills or providing a person with new skill sets. That does not mean he deserves more money because his skills were honed.

    More stressful jobs certainly do exist and people do them for whatever reasons they have. Not all do them for money or more specifically for the things they use that money to get. There are people who perform these jobs because they want to, emphasis on "want." They have reasons greater than compensation for doing their jobs. For instance, a man becomes a doctor not for the lifestyle that he can afford with the money he gets; but rather because his mother died of cancer and he wants to cure the sick so others don't go through that pain. You could pay him minimum wage and he'd still do it because he has a reason greater than money.
  • Aug 23 2011: I once heard someone say that if you think a country like africa couldn't feed itself, you are crazy. There should be no point sending food to africa at all - if an african has a sheep, why can't he just rear more sheep? (I guess he would need at least 2). Or grow food for local consumption rather than sending it to us so we can have asparagus in april? Or stop diverting and making scarce water resources for those that really need it so veg can be flown to us as and when we demand it? Even in times of climate hardship, there could and should be more local solutions to it.

    I can only see money and the pursuit of it as the cause for it. We have created an ecological and humanitarian black hole, and to argue that money is the best way to fill it can't possibly be sensible. It does however have it's uses.

    What if it were possible to say each and every job pays 40k per year, regardless of what it is? Wouldn't people find the jobs that they love to do, and do them for the right reasons? Even if you were unqualified and had to sweep roads, we would see it as the necessary role for society that it is and equally reward it. My mother was a nurse, and told me that 30 years ago, 50% of her job was cleaning. Now, cleaning is handled by minimum wage workers, so no wonder we have hospitals rife with infection. The humble cleaner is a vital part of hospital safety, and should be rewarded as such. They could potentially save more lives than doctors.

    I know high earners who are totally trapped by their wages. I also know people that have earned their money and gone on to dedicate their lives to worthwhile things. However, they are lucky to be able to do so, as they can afford to not earn bigger money.

    All roles in society are equally important, as are people. An hours work is an hours work, and you should be paid for it accordingly.
    • Aug 23 2011: I know people who have turned down promotions because they didn't think the increase in (net) pay was worth the added stress of a higher position. For that reason I don't believe that paying everyone the same would work.
      • Aug 23 2011: Thats interesting, and I have also heard of this. What if every job had a comparable pay scale? So, if promotion were offered you moved up a tier, but that pay scale were the same regardless of the job?
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      • Aug 23 2011: An hour is an hour, but authors don't get paid by the hour anyway. Creative output, and art, could easily become a way to supplement an income, but if we are talking about work, why can't a walmart employee earn the same as a tax collector? Or a Graphic Designer? Or etc etc. Some people might prefer a stress free job, but as it is essential that there are places to buy goods, their job should be viewed as as important as any other.
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    Aug 23 2011: Abolish greed first.
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    Aug 21 2011: what's wrong with the other 10 conversations about the same venus project lunacy? you really did need an 11th?
    • Aug 21 2011: The people who constantly write these articles probably believe that the more they spread the idea, the more converts they will get... like Religion.

      No matter how much they say it will work, that will not make it work.
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    Sep 6 2011: I love your suggestion
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    Aug 29 2011: I would argue that financial diversity is healthier, for the same reason that plant diversity is healthier than mono crops culture. It no longer becomes a zero sum game. If one economy fails its not the economy. Life goes on. Counterfeiting would also be less of problem since it would be done on a local level. It would stand out more because the economy would be smaller.

    You say you see the problem that exist in all money. First we need to untangle the bias of what we have as money vs problems intrinsic with humans. Humans like all creatures have a survival instinct that puts there well being as first priority. This is not inherently bad but it does lead to problems. As for money, the problem with it now is it tends to collect in the hands of the few. Now a local currency will not have this problem since its primary yo exchange immediate goods and services and would not be lent out at interest. That not to say it is not without problems. It means people would trade less with outsiders and we could run the risk of feudalism. Central currency is great at preventing this and it also make things like airlines, trains, and cell phones possible since they can't exist on a local level. That said many things can be supported on a local level and globalization can only work when we have healthy towns and cities to prop it up.

    As for coming up with a resource management crew I feel there is to much individualization in the world to let that cat back in the hat. Excess is fine as long as it is done ethically.

    Finally you mention the people in charge have the power to change the system for the better. I'm sure they do, but the system works fine for them so there is little chance they will. What I am saying is we don't have to wait before the select few who run the economy to be enlightened and change their ways. The people who the system is not working for need to and can make the needed change.
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      Aug 29 2011: check "HR 4248 Free Competition in Currency Act"
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      Sean T

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      Aug 31 2011: I didn't say that "the people in charge have the power to change the system for the better." I responded to your point that those in charge of the resources would be in a position to abuse it and that your point is mute because they already have that imaginary ability in the current system.

      The fundamental problem with money is not that a handful of people can obtain obscene amounts of it, that is a flaw. You could argue that a flaw and a problem are one in the same, but that isn't the problem regardless. The problem is that money promotes greedy behavior as I have explained in two other posts. Being greedy and selfish, people accrue vast amounts of wealth and hoard it to themselves. After gaining that wealth, they realize that greed is good for personal success and they repeat that behavior until the system crashes. Even in a small local economy, this is still present and a small minority will always end up with the majority of the wealth until the surrounding society repossesses its property from those few.
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        Aug 31 2011: Sorry for misquoting you about people having the power to change the system. It just that the 95% or so of the population that are not rich ultimately have more sway than the 55 that are rich it’s just that we are taught that we are powerless.

        That said, I do agree that our money as it is now promotes greed, from all people whether they are rich or poor. This does not have to be the case. In a barter system there may be greedy people, but the system itself does not promote greed since the many of the goods that are traded have a self life. Those that horde just miss out on newer fresher thing. Our economic system has no grounding in real world products so you can just acquire more and more, without risk of spoilage. All I’m arguing is people can form a new currency to better facilitate a barter system. Will this solve all our economic problems? No, but at least people will have a way of meeting their needs and it will give most of the population better leverage with those that issue centralized currency since we will need it for less transactions.

        That said I'm purely pragmatic with this argument. If you can find a way to promote the no money idea go for it, I just do not see people doing it. I see people as having a need for something that regulates transaction between people so people do not take too much, or contribute too little. Most people probably could be self regulating, but it only takes a few bad apples to crush morale. We are a highly social creature.

        At the heart of this debate I think I see money as being more socalaly flexible than you. Like any form of media it has inherent biases, but we can change what those biases are. Right now our economic system is bias towards greed, but we can fix this. I also believe it is easier to create and successfully promote alternative systems than to get people to abandon a concept that is so ingrain in our collective dna.
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          Sean T

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          Sep 1 2011: Thank you for being open minded and not shutting the idea out. Right now, I think the only way to sway a sufficient number of people to the idea is to set up a small test group somewhere and collect hard data. Everything I've been saying thus far is conjecture without hard data and a functioning society utilizing it. The unforeseen problems that are inherent to every system could be discovered and solutions devised prior to large scale acceptance. Of course, something like this would ironically require a large amount of funding as well as initiates to make it happen.
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    Aug 28 2011: Perhaps instead of abolishing money we create more money. Not just more of of the money we have but other forms of money all together. Create some financial diversity in our economy. This really has to start at a the local level with towns and cities coming up with there own versions of what they consider money. As long as people have skills and needs they can come up with an economy. This is already happening to various degree with time banks.

    I really don't think people will give up some form of bartering. It is one of the oldest continuous activity we do as a species. It would go against our nature, not to mention those controlling this system would be in a position to abuse it. Who's really to say what is necessary.

    I agree our system is broke, and I have no faith in politicians to fix it, and even less patients with the IMF which I view no better than a cult at this point. They have removed removed money (or at least most of it) from any tangible reality and turned it into speculations. The reality is we do live in a world of limited resources, but for the most part they are not as scarce as our ability to buy them. Also many could be manage better, or be replaced with better resources. We been giving the tools (internet) to create better systems of exchange, its just a matter of reaching this potential.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 29 2011: Financial diversity is not necessarily better. There's a benefit to having one currency in that exchange rates become less common and counterfeiting is easier to notice. Also, I still see the degenerate problem that exists in all monetary systems.

      The people who currently control the movement of our resources as well as those who have an excessive amount of money are already in a position to abuse things. They just don't exercise their ability to do so. Even if they did, that ability isn't real and society would repossess its property as a result.

      You're right that people would gravitate towards a bartering system of some kind more than the idea I propose. I believe, however, that given time my idea could thrive.
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    E G

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    Aug 28 2011: Not a real option : abolish money . In fact you know that if you don't think only at money as such : $ .....
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    Aug 26 2011: Annan,let me make a comment out of this statement of yours: "It's seen continually throughout history and what's sad about it is that the vast majority are content so long as they have their personal needs fulfilled and freedom to do with their spare time what they will". It is very difficult to the stabilishment admit an innovative (not an absolutely new one) idea.
    in Brazil, we have (unfourtunetelly he is dead since 2001) a great geographer, Milton Santos, who says that "the future belongs to the poor" ("o futuro pertence aos pobres"), because the poor bear the seeds of changing. And Santos keeps on his reasoning, talking about social conservativeness of the middle classes.He says something like: "the middle classes always had at their disposal bank credit and credit cards", no matter what happens.
    Despite actually is a very difficult thing to get rid of money, we should not dismiss your idea, because it constitutes, even if not adotped at this moment, a "genetic databank" ready to use in the future...
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    Aug 23 2011: so what is money after all?

    some hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors decided that they are not satisfied with what nature gave them. they started to make their life better by consciously acting on it. they made tools, and learned to handle fire. but the most ingenious invention of all was cooperation. the division of labor, in greater and greater degree, allowed human beings to overproduce, and thus accumulate capital. capital allowed even more production, and more capital accumulation. fast forward to now, we see cities, giant size cargo ships, the internet, stock markets, electronic money transfer, medicine, abundant food, shelter, clothing and nutella. all that good stuff. money is nothing else than an intermediate medium for this grand scheme of exchange. not more and not less. it is one of the most important things we have. but it changes nothing and influences nobody. it just makes things a whole lot easier for us.
    • Aug 23 2011: I suppose in a moneyless world, people would hoard food, or clothing etc.

      The strength of money is in having it while others don't, is it not? There is an in built unfairness in it, whatever it represents, and it seems that there must always be poor people, or how would we know we were rich?
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        Aug 23 2011: it is the strength of money for you? certainly not for me. when i think about my money, i always think about opportunities. what can i do with it? what should i buy? how much should i give to a fund? how could i invest it? these are the thoughts one have when it comes to money.
        • Aug 25 2011: it is certainly where the 'value' of it lies i believe. And your thoughts about it are valid, but those that don't have it are always thinking of the things they cannot buy, the investments they cannot make. The power and potential is yours, because you have it. Yes, you may work hard for it, but there is a finite amount of it in theory. Every dollar you have is a dollar someone else doesn't. It's value is pegged right there.
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        Aug 25 2011: your comment is close to perfectly wrong. i mean, almost every statement that can be identified in it, uttered directly or hinted, is wrong. in order:

        value is personal. you cannot say that the value of money (personal value we are talking about, not dollar-value or purchasing value) is this or that. it is this for me, that for you. i was also sloppy saying that "thoughts *one* has". i meant "one should have, in my view". you can value money just because you want more in a bank account than your neighbor. but it describes you, not money, nor any other persons.

        there is no such thing as not having money. everyone has at least something, if nothing else, beg on a street corner. the question is only the amount one has. but no matter how many one has, wanting more just to beat someone else does not follow from it. it is still your approach only.

        there is no such thing as too few money in the economy. we don't have less money than we want because there is not enough of it. we don't want money actually, but stuff. stuff is limited, and we can't have as much as we want. but money, since has no intrinsic value other than as a mediator of exchange, can be in any (any!) amount, and still function perfectly. simply its purchasing power will adjust. if there were only a thousand dollars in the world, we could buy a beer for nanodollars.

        that is why it is irrelevant that my dollar is not someone else's dollar. what counts is that my chocolate bar is not someone else's chocolate bar. but the amount of stuff is not fixed. with accumulating capital, we can increase production, have more stuff, and tomorrow i can have 3 chocolate bars, and you still can have one, although you don't deserve it.

        in the above text, exactly one statement is not serious, but a joke. it is up to the reader to determine which one.
        • Aug 25 2011: lol, man, you really have an attitude issue. I am sure my discussions with a previous poster on a previous forum have upset you in some way. No matter.

          I thought I was talking about the value of it, the dollar value, and the potential for conversion into goods and services. More dollars = more goods and services – can you disagree with that?

          Of course there is such a thing as not having money - and you can also not have enough. Beg on the streets? What sort of comment is that? There are people who have literally none, and people who have so little, they might as well have none as their purchasing power is so low as to be non existent.

          You have imagined that I said that someone is trying to beat someone else with the amount they have.

          You have also twisted my next comment – I never said that there wasn't enough money, I said that there was a finite amount of money. Which follows that, literally, every dollar you have, someone else doesn't. Is someone printing your wages for you? If they are, then an investigation is sure to follow. If that money is unfairly distributed, i.e not evenly distributed, as an example, then surely the potential for spending is in the hands of those that have? Even those that have some are excluded from certain purchases, because they do not have enough. Thats simple maths.

          Which I think makes your dollar extremely relevant. Not that you should be ashamed that you have it. You've worked for it, it's yours. But do try to understand that there are others who don't have access to it. And never will, all the time it is yours. There are others whose access to money is limited for many reasons, but that doesn't mean that for them there is less money in the world. The amount is the same, THEIR purchasing power is reduced, as they can't access it. The power and potential of it is in the hands of those that have it. Give your dollar to a homeless guy and see how much it's worth.
        • Aug 25 2011: I do agree however that money has no value in itself. You can't eat it after all. It's what you can do with it and what it represents. But that means that effectively it IS a million chocolate bars, or a car. But It is not both. It's value as such is limited because of that, but if you don't have it, you can do nothing.
        • Aug 27 2011: With the above case, what if it's not your dollar, but the millions of dollars in a rich guys investment account? If money were more evenly distributed, more of it would remain in circulation. We would have more access to more of it. If it sits in investment accounts, then less people have access, but make more from it. If, like Muhammad was driving at, you have enough money to satisfy your lifestyle, then the surplus is wastage - money that is removed from circulation, and unable to benefit anyone. It is not spent, it is accumulated. This is why, no matter how hard you work, you don't need to take home millions of dollars a year. The only people that benefit from it is you, your accountant and your investment managers.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 24 2011: Money came about as a means for different societies to trade with one another. It replaced the bartering system which was ineffective and inconsistent. A goat would get you two stone axes one week and only one the next. When those societies merged, they didn't want to lose their individuality and kept money as a way to remain separate while intermingled. Thus began a system which has yet to function in a way that is satisfactory.

      In order for a society to "over-produce" as you said, it would first have to produce enough for its own people using the excess for trade with other societies. In order for them to produce, everyone in their society would have to be satiated otherwise there is no such thing as too much.

      To say that money has brought about cities, cargo ships, medical advances is ludicrous. People design and create in order to solve a problem. An engineer discovers that goods are not be shipped as efficiently as possible and designs a better cargo ship. A medical researcher seeks a cure for a disease that kills thousands a year. At no point does money enter their minds unless they are designing with a budget in mind. It is only an issue for the person funding the R&D and selling the product. We would still have these advances because people want them; they dream about them; they make them for reasons other than money.
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        Aug 24 2011: not it is not. check your sources. money was created exactly for what i described: to facilitate exchange. first, money was a commodity that most people used. grains, butter, cattle. later precious metals won. today, we have government controlled fiat money. international trade was never a factor.

        every single one of functioning societies on earth overproducing. that is, we produce more than we consume. that is, we not only produce consumer goods, but we also create and buy new tools, new factories, new technologies. again, what you say is factually wrong. choose your readings better.

        i never ever said that money brought about cities. i said economies did. and money is an integral part of a modern free market economy. creating a city is not a design problem. nor it is an engineering or architectural problem. it is mostly an economic problem. if you give today's knowledge to the medieval man, he will not be able to utilize any of that, because he will lack the factories, trucks, tools, computers we possess. even with complete knowledge, rebuilding this world would take hundreds of years of hard work and capital accumulation.
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          Sean T

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          Aug 24 2011: You did insinuate that the accumulation of capital, profit in other words, enabled cites, giant ships, etc. to exist. At the very least, it appeared that way since one immediately followed the other in a singular paragraph.

          The original societies however did not utilize any form of money however. Cavemen may have traded between one another but it is doubtful that they would have a designed a standardized system within their own society. The practice largely occurred, at first, between the societies so that one group could get a technological advance, new food, or just something different from another group without killing each other. They were relying on each other for survival and that does indicate that they would have created a in system in which only a few can succeed.
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        Aug 24 2011: capital is not money. wikipedia helps.

        original societies used no money. they had a very basic stage of exchange. money appeared gradually tens of thousands of years ago. at that time, trade between different societies were much smaller than inside trade. money was invented to facilitate trade. any kind of trade. i won't explain it again.
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    Aug 22 2011: Despite money was a goog invention, society became too much mediated by it...
    At the beginning, the convertion of work into wares was a relatively simple process. A ton of corn represented the work of someone that spent, say, one year sowing and working on the fields.
    Since humanity began to confer value to ideas, the world of work became too much complex, and the relation between "AMOUNT OF WORK" and "REWARDS EARNED" began to accept many exceptions...
    It is sure that humankind always ellected some objects, chosen by its rarity, so as to intermediate transactions...
    We could say that money was a goog technology, but... does it keep that position until today?
    Could we compare "money" to "democracy"? They are not perfect, but the mere absence of them would lead us to a catastrophe, unless we thought about adopting a transition agenda...
    At any case, I don´t dismiss this Utopia, because I believe that some progresses of the humankind derive from a quest to an extreme idea that, though not attained, might lead to important discoveries...
    So, the sheer abolishing of money right now should be insane, but if we are prepared to deal with it, perhaps we might face a great leap in history...
  • Aug 22 2011: Instead of merely complaining, I'd like to propose another, perhaps more workable idea. The problem is not money, but rather where and when it's spent.

    How about this: Instead of selling to consumers, companies sell to each other and then provide for their employees. Your "pay" consists of a package of goods and services - clothing from company X, groceries from store Y etc. The more difficult the job, the more luxury products (or the more choice) in the package. People still get rewarded based on the work they do, and companies are still motivated to produce. What's more, since they are selling larger quantities to fewer customers, producers save on advertising and shipping costs. The companies that are able to negotiate the best arrangements have the best packages and thus attract the best employees. Finally, every employee - and thus their children - gets the essentials of life, instead of being handed money they may spend unwisely (such as on alcohol or gambling).

    For the unemployed, the same thing goes, except that the "package" comes from the government and provides for only basic needs.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 23 2011: The problem I see with this is that the company heads would decide what everyone gets and the individual isn't permitted choice in the matter. Additionally, these companies would still be trying to cut costs continually and the products purchased would be of lower quality as a result. Instead of all their employees receiving and iPod, they'd each get a uPod which costs half as much and malfunctions semi-constantly.

      The societal problems would still exist as well since those who can get the "best" jobs would receive the best stuff. Everyone else would have to suck it up and deal with a lower quality of life because they do something vital that is not well valued. Plus, the education system wouldn't benefit from this in any way.
      • Aug 23 2011: Re choice: We're already in a situation where most industries are dominated by a few large companies - it just isn't noticeable because they sell different things under different brands. Old Navy and The Gap are the same company, for example.

        And yes, some people would still get "paid" more than others. Some jobs require more education and entail more stress - if everyone is "paid" the same, no one will want to do those jobs.

        As for supplying uPods, that would be a reason to go work for someone else.
  • Aug 22 2011: Sweet sentiment, a currency devoid economy, albeit wholly unoriginal (see: Zeitgeist Addendum)

    Not to mention unworkable given all the guns are in the hands of those WITH money / power and who want to stay ensconced thusly, at any cost. And we all know it always boils down to who has the most 'guns' in the end... -_-

    Human GREED and APATHY towards others is the problem. Money is the / a symptom, not the disease.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 22 2011: You're right that greed is one of the major influences but you're forgetting behavioral science. Pavlov discovered the principles of positive and negative reinforcement in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. When a behavior is rewarded, the likelihood of its repetition increases. Likewise, when greedy people get lots and lots of money, they are more likely to continue to be greedy. The generations following are also more likely to associate greed with personal success and since the American dream is personal success, they will in turn be greedy. This continues until the system collapses as it historically always does.

      You're technically incorrect about the people with the money having all the guns by the way. Certainly they employ people with guns, but they have no direct control over those guns. If the people with the real power stop listening to the people with the imagined power, suddenly the imagined power equates to nothing. In other words, you can employ someone and order them to shoot, but it is that person's individual choice to pull the trigger.
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    Sean T

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    Aug 22 2011: As a note, I would like to say that I am not currently affiliated nor have I ever been with the Venus project nor was I aware of the other 10 or 11 posts as I did not see them prior to posting. My apologies for readdressing an issue.

    I am simply pointing out that the fundamentals of money are detrimental to society as it encourages people to act in a way that erodes the fabric of society and its purpose. I'm sure you'd all agree that our ancestors formed the original societies as a means of survival. Everyone works toward societal goals and everyone reaps the benefits so long as they contributed of course. Somewhere along the way, we started using money which encourages greed and selfishness. It encourages people to have more than everyone else even if there is enough for everyone. It promotes societies to compete within themselves instead of cooperate for the better good of all.

    Seeing that the monetary-based economies of the world are once again collapsing as they have routinely throughout the ages, I was hoping that some would be interested in a system that wouldn't contain the same problems. I am not saying that it is perfect, but at least no one would starve or freeze or suffer an education less than another's (excluding the fact that some teachers are inherently better than others).

    Perhaps, it is lunacy. Perhaps, I've lost my mind. Just remember that in his day, Galileo Galilei was thought to be insane and was tried and placed under house arrest for what he said; and yet we know today that he was right. I'm not trying to compare myself to him, but the principle remains: denying the possibility that an idea contrary to the modern thought is correct without consideration or experimentation lends itself to continued ignorance.
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      Aug 22 2011: if you are interested in the topic, you can look for the other conversations. if you are interested in hearing your own voice, you don't need to. just continue repeating the same points.
  • Aug 22 2011: I have also thought thoroughly on this subject and believed much the same way that you do; money essentially breeds evil and corruption in today's world. We have too much nowadays and selfishness has often become a unwanted but an eerily accepted thing. We must not forget the fact that money, as much as it is desired and revered, is essentially useless. This piece of paper and cloth that we hold dearly in our denim pockets and vault secured bank accounts has no real use. In the event of a disaster, this once obsessive currency becomes pointless. Even with all of those facts pointed out, there is absolutely no way that we could absolve completely money or currency. It just simply would not work; it is like taking a modern city adolescent and placing them in an Amish society to live without their city comforts. They will always remember and reminisce of their now lost comforts and miss them too much to appreciate any lesson they can learn in their new life. Ridding society of a currency would yield a more disastrous effect then good. Think about it for a second. Who would do all the necessary things to keep our modern society running? Would jobs then become completely voluntary? Who would do the mostly undesired jobs? And if we were to use our available resources without limit, then how long would we be able to survive? Without money, there is no incentive to do anything. We have an obesity problem now in the US what would happen when no one has to do anything but can receive anything? The only possible way we could abolish currency is to revert back to ancient culture and let go of all our gadgets and technology. As much as I would love for there to be no currency and for the world's money problems to be gone, humans have become too inherently selfish for anything like that to happen. We have swum too far down and we no longer have enough breath to return to the surface.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 22 2011: You are correct that the undesirable yet necessary jobs would fall away, initially at least. I believe that in time, 6-8 months by my estimation, some people would start performing those jobs again. No one wants to pick up people's refuse, but it is necessary and eventually someone would get tired of trash buildup everywhere.

      As for you assertion that people would receive something for nothing, no. As much as some would like to receive something for nothing (maximum efficiency), we could not allow that to happen. I would argue, and I'm sure some will argue back, that if you contribute nothing to a society, then you are not part of that society. Just as our ancestors would do: if someone capable of working in any capacity who has not yet "done his time" and reached retirement refuses to work, then he gets nothing until he does. It's harsh, but most people would probably agree with the sentiment.

      Jobs are already voluntary. A person can never be forced to do something unless the act requires their mere existence and does not require their consent. When your boss directs you to do something, you have a choice. You can choose, typically in a passive capacity, to obey or you can choose to do something else, disobey. Because of free will, a human being can never be forced to do something. Of course if you disobey, you may be fired; in which case, you what's called a "Hobson's choice." It is still a choice however. We all choose to do our jobs for once reason or another and those who work for a reason other than mere survival are always preferred by employers.
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    Aug 21 2011: Everyone that has commented so far has really persuasive arguments as to why this is a horrible idea...
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    Aug 21 2011: We're all so eager to pass the blame to something/someone else. Money is not the problem, human behavior is. What will change when we remove money?
    Instant goodwill for everyone? Not likely.
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      Aug 21 2011: Well you would hope without set values, all becomes equal right.

      Everyone else's stuff will always be shit, and my shit will always be stuff.

      I think to have the abolish money idealism, you have to love what you do, and hate that your friends don't.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 22 2011: The problem you are referring to is greed. Greed is exacerbated by money. I never said or insinuated "instant good will for everyone." That's ludicrous. It would take years for things to see a significant change for the better and generations for everything to hit a running pace. I am simply stating a fact that we have the resources needed to end this social ills and there is only one thing preventing us from doing it.
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    Aug 21 2011: More or less that's called communism. Believe me, it has been done and it doesn't work.
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      Sean T

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      Aug 22 2011: You're correct that modern communist societies have failed horribly and the reason is also due to economic collapse. The money becomes so devalued that the government can no longer sustain itself and it either falls apart of its own accord or the people revolt. Despite the fact that they still have resources at their disposal, the societies fall apart because of their money.
    • Aug 25 2011: Communism can work, in a way and in an ideal world (if thats not a contradiction in terms). It's limitation is the lifespan of man. Take Cuba as an example. In my experience, the older generation see Communism as liberating, as they remember what it was like before Castro, and understand that they are poor because that is how it must be to maintain SOME SORT of equality in their society. The younger generation feel it as oppressive, because they see the rest of the world and want what they have. In these cases, tighter and tighter restrictions have to be imposed to keep order, as without everyone would grab what they can. I'm not saying it's right, but I have had these conversations with Cubans, and this is how some of them feel about it. I daresay that they would all prefer it to be different, but they are a poor country, and it's easier to be equally poor than equally rich.

      What of power and corruption, I hear you cry? Castro leads a comfortable life, while his population do not. That is a tragedy, and something that Castro wasn't fighting for. But the position and power have obviously corrupted him. Does this always have to be the case I wonder? That is not a problem with Communism as such - it occurs in all political systems, even in buddhist societies. It is a problem with man, then, and his irresponsible use of the power he has. But given that money usually equals power, we're back the the beginning. One thing is for sure, Capitilism pretends to give equal opportunity, when in actual fact it is far from fair.
    • Aug 25 2011: when i say buddhist societies by the way, I don't mean countries that adopt buddhism as their religion, nor do I mean practicing buddhists outside of the organisational levels. I mean the actual higher buddhist monks and lamas. They have corruption and backbiting that would rival any other government, and many of them are searching for more power.