Richard Luster

Technology Integration Engineer , Virtual Radiologic

This conversation is closed.

With recent worldwide monetary issues, would a society without money work?

Our current systems of monetary, social, ideological and border divisions are imaginary, and clearly not working for us on our planet.

Once we can get past our outdated methods of decision-making through speculation and diktat, and remove our imaginary barriers, we will find our only problems are technical ones. ie. How do we provide for everyone and use our planet in the optimum way? Only when we are free of our conflicting ideologies and methods, can we truly solve this problem.
Our technology is now at a level where we can comfortably provide for everyone without the need for hard labour. What we can automate, we will automate. We don't need money to build machines, we can just build them. Tasks that can't be automated can be rotated among a populace who would be more than happy to dedicate a small portion of their time to a community that sustains them.
Everything could be declared free to use, but within an understanding of natural and technical limits, and respect for the combined common good. These understandings are achieved initially through education, and ultimately through consensus.
Once people realise that a money-free society works, we will naturally become more positive in our actions, more cooperative, compassionate and productive.

Please watch the video at and let me know what you think.

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    Nov 5 2011: My view is that money is a means of universal transaction... everyone needs to get food, pay bills and so on and so forth and having a trade-able that is universal is helpful and makes life much more easy. what if you have to pay your gas bill in carrots, but your a plumber? would we not just trade in precious metals and how do we know that they are valid unless we are educated for such things?

    We need to stop blaming bits of paper for why we are uncooperative and grow the hell up in terms of sticking to deals, being honest and being good people. We need to stop endless consumption and change it to meaningful aspiration... get people thinking about why they are doing it rather than the end result.
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      Nov 5 2011: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over believing there will be a deferent outcome. Humanity has been doing the same thing over and over and yes expecting a different outcome. Humanity is not growing, we are just stagnate waiting for a new way of thinking. Money is nothing but piece of paper, it only breeds inequality and greed, which are two negative emotions. I guess I am trying to look at this question on a positive perspective.
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        Nov 5 2011: I don't think its insanity, its trauma...

        I think its a case of how you personally look at things... no one is going to alter the nature of the game to make people get along because that is not valued by society.

        simply decide what you need and proceed accordingly... money is a very quick way to get there.

        If you decide you are a temporarily embarrassed millionaire then its going to make you greedy and if you value someone by how much they have in liquid assets then you will consider yourself to be worse or better than other people creating inequality.

        The fact is that it is only perception. the inequality and greed exists in the minds of the sick, their perception only affects you as much as you want it to. just simply do not accommodate these people in your life, make sure that you have what you need and you will get on fine. Less TV, expand your mind, perpetually educate and debate, eat your greens and avoid tossers.

        In sort, money is not the thing screwing up peoples lives, its people screwing up peoples lives... just don't be on the sinking ship and be kind to those who are unhappy... they just want to feel important.
  • Nov 8 2011: Yes, a society can still work without money. Barter exchanges between society can be a way ... but I must say that if the society had been reliant on money, they may find it a little difficult to adapt. From where I am sitting in Fiji, I see that it is possible and people can still have a life through exchanges.
  • Nov 4 2011: I have a hard time imagining a society where the difference between (1) devoting your entire life to contribute, (2) die to contribute and (3) doing nothing at all to contribute is absolutley nothing.
    Without those three being absolutely equal I can not imagine a society without money.

    The site and the movie was made up of outright lies and missinformation while not even attempting to explain how the process will work.

    But let's just start with two simple, "non-monetary yet easily solved by money"-problems:
    Closeness to certain areas or activities (who gets to live in the inner-city, near the lake or the school).
    Limited supply (Krisztián Pintér mentioned raspberries)

    There is not a single thing a person can do, say, think, etc., that would affect the solution to the problems, because that would be to establish simple money.
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      Nov 5 2011: We are educated to believe that there is only one way to successes, and that it only can be achieved through money. Change is scary, but if we do not try to think outside of the box, then humanity could never evolve into a higher conciseness. We could think of ways that this could be achieved, instead of how it could be achieved.
      • Nov 5 2011: This is the same kind of non-attempt to do anything as in the video. Please provide solutions and ideas of this instead of trying to mock me as an ignorant slave to society. There was nothing in the video that was reasonable or had any form of substance to provide a solution to any of the problems that exists with "not money".

        That your only attempt to, I dont know, is it to prove a point of your high standards of moral compared to my small brain and lack of imagination? Is done by attacking me as a person only leads me to believe that you have no idea how to even begin to draft on a solution to any of the problems I mentioned.

        Feel free to try again, but if, please try to include at least one compelling argument.
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          Nov 7 2011: Hello Pontus,
          First I do not see where anyone "attacked you personally" and certainly no attacks as in the manor that you attacked the creators of the video and website that was the basis of my question. with that being said, lets break down your response.
          (1) devoting your entire life to contribute,
          As it is right now we all devote our lives to contribute, every job I have ever had was there to help society in some way

          (2) die to contribute
          I ma not sure what you mean with this but when I die any/all of my organs that are usable by someone else will be donated and the remainder will be cremated and added back to the earth.

          (3) doing nothing at all to contribute
          Everybody want's to belong to something. as with any transition some things are hard.
          if we were to go to a system such as this than through education our grandkids and/or there kids would not now "PRICE" they would go to work just like you and me. difference being they could have standing grocery orders that were delivered to their house/apartment which was free of "PRICE/CHARGE" is everyday free of "PRICE/CHARGE". In the interim (right after the transition) on one hand there would be a lot of people that decided to "take a vacation" on the other there are millions out of work because companies can not afford to "Pay" them these people would be returning to work because companies would NOT have to pay them. My brother-in-law and I had a conversation on this he stated there are a lot of people out there only working because they need the money to live that if they did not need the money they would not contribute. I told him those people would quit their jobs because they do not like what they are doing just like him, then I asked him "If you did not have to do what you are doing now. What would you love to do?" He stated he would wright songs and entertain people. I stated that is exactly what you would do then. My point being people would find what they LOVE to do and do that.
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          Nov 7 2011: Lets look at "Real-Estate" and "Limited supply"

          the way I could envision Real-Estate is much the same as it is done today it would be on a first come first serve basis the "Realtors" would be the ones regulating the market. lets say you wanted to live close to "Lake Baikal" you would just visit a realtor in that area who would show you a list of what is available there. If you did not like what was available then a builder (Builders would regulate the available home building plots a plot would be a piece of land that if you were to build on it it would not adversely effect the wildlife or obstruct the view of an existing home while preserving the public use of the lake) could be contacted to see if there are any available plots. This could work the same way for all Real-Estate including inner-city and around schools, Hospitals,sports arenas, Parks etc...

          as to the supply of foods and material good there will always be a Limited supply but this could be regulated by the distribution markets, farmers and manufacturers. As I have stated before as it is right now we are not guaranteed a product will be on the shelf when we go to the market, so why should we expect that guarantee in a world without money?
          but anyway lets use "raspberries" and my home city "Dallas" lets say Dallas has a Raspberry Farm and this Farm has standing "orders" from individuals and Markets that total a 1000 pounds of raspberries so the Farmer decides to gear to produce 1250 pounds of raspberries that is 25% over the standing orders. At this point if a market runs out or someone places an order they will have some to send out, if the farmer runs out, he can up his production of raspberries to meet the demand then if the demand exceeds the capacity of the farm the farmer can contact a builder and have a floor added to his farm.
          as for material goods like the iPhone etc... if you get to the market and they are out they could then check availability at other locations and have it sent to you.
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          Nov 7 2011: if the device was not available in any market or from the manufacturer that would most likely be due to the Limited supply of a natural resource or the item was discontinued due to being obsolete at which point you would be informed of and handed the new iPhone if you had to have the iphone 10 instead of the iphone 11 then the obsolete model could possibly be send to you from the recycling center but would be a used device.

          I know I did not go into real depth on any of these but I think I outlined possible ways things could be done "without money"

          Not everyone will choose to quit working, those that do still have the basic right to housing, food, water and toys. same as you and me I don't know if you have ever been laid-off or out of work but when you are not working for a month or so you start to get board and want to do something I believe most people are ethically sound and would continue to work then as the technology advances and more and more jobs are replaced by robotics that is when people will start to shift to spirituality, sciences, theoretical sciences and advanced engineering further propelling humanity.
      • Nov 7 2011: The first 3 points I wrote was what I saw as a premise for a money-free society. My point was that there could be absolutely no difference between a person who never does anything and a person who literally works himself to death for others. We somehow seem to agree on that.

        "Everybody want's to belong to something. as with any transition some things are hard."
        What are you reaching at here?

        You make an incredible huge premise that if there was no money, everyone would still grow up and work in the same way we do now by no reason. You seem to lack an understanding of how businesses work.
        Let's take a store as an arbitrary example. The owners find a market where there are products available from suppliers and enough buyers in close enough proximity of the planned location. Then the owners put up a fairly large amount of money to build a suitable building. The building is then filled with necessary tools such as cash-machines, shelves, etc. Since the owner has a huge store to manage, she can't do everything herself. They pay staff money to fill in positions (cashier, staff-manager, storage worker, etc.) and the staff see the money as a good deal for their time. In the example of a cashier, it's an excellent job for someone just out of school, lacking experience or competence for other jobs, or simply because it's a job that's easy to transition from when generating cash which then can be spent on travels, moving away from home, starting their own business, etc. If the store lacks profit, it may be scaled down or closed. There is no longer an opportunity for the store to be run and it is removed from the economy.
      • Nov 7 2011: The existance of money and value self-regulates the available stores so that there is no huge waste of food, unproportional supply or demand, etc. Without money, a lot of the incentive to actually do anything that would lead to the running of a store would be simply removed. Even more so, all the small pieces of this gigant economic pussly exists as they do simply because of money. Overseas freight, production, farming, packaging, logistics, fright, roads, planning of roads, etc., etc., that even makes it possible for a product to be made in europe, transported to the states and then distributed reasonably to different stores is based on money. Do you not see a problem with the premise that everything would "just work" without money? You HAVE to provide more substance-based reasoning then that.

        Do you really believe that there's an even distribution of people who's dream is to become a musician as there is people who's dream would be to work the 7-15 job as an electrician running around noting the values in electric boxes around the country without any reason?

        Do you think that there are millions out of work dreaming of being able to fold cardboard boxes without an economic system holding them back? If it was so, why are these people not just volunteering to work for free? And would there be a job crisis if there never is a need for someone to work? I don't buy that one bit.
      • Nov 7 2011: In your real estate example, you are starting to give value to different occupations. This is a complex money system where a family or set of really close friends would benefit immensly from having a realtor and building-plot-planner and perhaps other occupations as you ascribe their responisbilities in this now no longer free world. Just that instead of finding a profitable nieche of society where you can make money and partake in everything the world has to offer, you have to literally stockpile each tradegoods, which is occupations. One of the reasons money is so good is becasue I don't have to keep a stockpile of flour, salt, spades and wood to trade for what I want, all I need is money.

        Your goods-example seems extremely poodly put together. Do you have models for how these systems would work for a 6-billion and growing population or are you just running with the "it works if you think outside the box"-mentality? Your examples are styled as "preparing to deliver in the future" but doesn't solve the existing supply, it would sure be wonderfull if we'd know now exactly what will be needed tomorrow, but we don't. We manage what we have after the supply constantly. You have not managed to outline how this would actually work without money. Sorry.

        Let's love rasperries some more. If you have 50 raspberries and I have none, but I really want rasperries, if I have something to trade with, something of value, lets say money, I might be able to get those sweet raspberries. How can I do this in a fair way?
      • Nov 7 2011: It would depend on how much we love our rasperries. If I would give you, say, 1 cent per raspberries, you might just eat the berries. But what if I increase it to $2 per raspberry? Suddenly, I'd pay you $100 to get like $1 worth of raspberries. You may think I'm being stupid, but what if I really love raspberries and think it's worth it? Turns out that we both benefit tremendously from the transaction (unless you too love raspberries, then I'd have to increase my offer or realize that you value them more).

        Money does not have a problem with this trade system. It even works if I wanted a huge crown made of diamonds. By the way, how would your system handle if I'd like a huge crown made of diamonds, a larger (habitable) katamarani and a hand-craft wooden bed? (I'm serious, money makes these things simple matters)
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    Nov 4 2011: Hello Richard. Thanks, brave question

    Adhering to the definition of society as a voluntary association of humans for survival, then the response is clearly yes. Humans have been in this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, and their "societies" worked without money. Going back to the caveman's ways of life is not doable, but by understanding the fact that money is a very recent human invention, we can dispel the myth that we would be doomed without money.

    Beyond that. I have heard many people blaming banks, the Fed, the government (or some combination) for the current state of affairs. And not without basis. The current monetary system is a runaway process that creates an ever increasing amount of debt that cannot be paid. It is not whether it should be paid or people would like to pay. Even if everybody was willing to pay their debts, they could not. But i don't want to turn this response into a treatise on the fractional reserve Monetary system

    Money as a facilitator of barter can be useful. I agree with the ideal that you propose but i would try to take a more pragmatic approach. It cannot be done in a single step. And since it took thousands of years to get to its current state, it would be naive to think that it can be solved in a few months or even years.

    How could we jump start the process? One way is putting the money problem aside and try to achieve production of basic goods (one example: family size water treatment equipment) at the lowest cost possible, and then work to make its cost drop near zero. Somewhere along the way you can get to the point where you don't need current money to pay for it, either because it's so easy to build by yourself or because you can easily get it from someone else. The less scarce something is, the less its dependency on money

    Then move on to the next basic good

    Do you think this gradual approach would work? if not 100%, do you think 80% (and the mechanism to maintain money-independence at 80%) is a noble goal?
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      Nov 4 2011: Hi, Andres

      The problems I see with doing this gradually are money perpetuates greed and inequality, and I don't think there is any way to put "the money problem aside". I know I am technical enough to be able to build an off grid system using a combination of Hydro, solar and wind for power and supplying my family with enough clean water using a homemade dehumidifier and collecting the condensation, there are plans all over the internet for all of these technologies.

      So what stops people from using them right now?

      from what i can tell the main reason people don't do this is time they are too busy working to make ends meat to be able to put the stuff together, and then there are the ones who are trying to make busyness out of the technologies but they have to charge in the thousands for a product, to cover the cost of tooling for mass-production and be able to make ends meat as well.

      then there are the Laws, regulations and HOAs that stop people from putting these items on, in or around their house.

      I believe that gradually getting away from money is like gradually trying to ween a heroin addict off of heroin.

      unfortunately, I feel the current system will have to come to a complete and total financial collapse and then the people choosing to replace it with a system of this nature.

      people have to believe it will work before it will.
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        Nov 5 2011: Hello Richard,

        I agree that "putting the money problem aside" is not entirely feasible, what I meant by it was to ignore money (as much as possible) while starting to work on a long term solution that will not need it. I always think about this kind of problems with the example of what would it take to change a flat tire while a car is running on a highway.

        I am aware of the vast amount of information available out there for technology, and I share some of your frustration when you ask "what stops people from using this technology right now?", to your response I would add two things:1) Not all people are as lucky as you and I to have access to that information, and 2) even people who have access and time may not have access to the raw materials and/or the skills to implement such solutions.

        Laws, regulations and HOAs are indeed a nightmare to navigate. Even though in principle being its function, the current legal system turns out to be an impediment to empower people, but i suspect the legal system is a whole new tangent to the discussion.

        The current monetary system can indeed collapse, but with no working alternatives to replace it (a general assembly of the required size will likely take an enormous amount of time to coordinate the design, test and implementation of a global replacement for money)

        That is why developing working prototypes even by temporarily using money is a solution that I would pursue today.

        I think when the people see it working they will have a greater chance of believing in it.

        Now your emphasis on an overnight collapse and replacement got me curious. Let's think that money is abolished tonight. What do you envision happening tomorrow/next days/months?

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    Nov 4 2011: There are enough homes/apartments on the planet now for every one to have one. in the USA alone 11.4% are vacant If there were no cost for one these would be filled. it is the same with automobiles it seems there are hundreds just sitting in new and used lots these could all be used or created when one is needed to help manage resources

    there would be a boom in inner-city agriculture food could be grown anywhere in the world even in the desert! imagine a high-rise complex in Dubai providing 100,000 acres of food grown.

    if tomorrow money were gone but everyone just kept doing what they are doing now and NOT let the fact that you would not get a paycheck stop you but continued because you know you could just go to the store or restaurant and feed your self or get that tv you wanted or trade in your old car for a new one without cost.

    so the "HOW" is not in the logistics of actually doing it but is in people "believing it can be done"

    "How" to get people to believe in a concept like this?

    You can Not be greedy if there is nothing to be greedy about!
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      Nov 4 2011: if everyone kept doing what they do know, there would be no progress
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        Nov 4 2011: My apologies, let me qualify this statement. "everyone just kept doing what they are doing now". without money the financial institutions could not keep doing what they are doing. but everyone else with a job could, when you take money out of the equation that opens the door for the millions of "Unemployed to be able to work. With the "corporations and busynesses" not having to worry about having the "Money" to "Pay" the employee. Or for that matter with not having to worry about the "Money" to start a busyness anyone could start one and it's success would be dependent solely on customer service and product quality. more minds would be freed for innovative thinking, research and development of not only technology but in all facets of being human.

        By "Doing what we are doing now" this keeps the social structure from collapsing in on itself while the social system is being rewritten by the population. in this respect I believe there would be progress,
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          Nov 4 2011: everyone likes raspberries, right? so the first N people arriving the market will take loads of it, the rest, well, bad luck for them. how do you plan to solve that problem?
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        Nov 5 2011: Gentleman like Dickson Despommier are working on this issue right now the solution is Vertical Farming. These farms can be built anywhere and would insure more then enough food for anyone. and I believe could be expanded to include Ranching (can you see a high-rise building full of livestock?)

        but still there is no guarantee that you will have any certain product when you go to the store today, but I believe that in a cost free world there would be a better chance of the market having what you want when you want then there is today. If you look at the reasons supermarket shelves go empty now, I can only think of two. one is almost unavoidable this would be "times of crisis" such as a natural or man made disaster and then most man made disasters spawn from the use of money or monetary value of a substance "Oil, Drugs etc..." the other would be a failure of "the current Financial system". In both of these instances it comes down to logistics.

        in a "times of crisis" it is usually physical damage and lack of money that stops the distribution flow
        in a "current Financial system failure" nobody would have access to "Money" to be able to buy products such as "raspberries" or fuel hence the distribution flow would stop.

        this brings me back to "if everyone just kept doing what they are doing now".

        having a cost free money free world is not about having everything available all the time for everyone, it is about having untouchable personal liberties and equality of life for every human.
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          Nov 5 2011: i was aiming at provoking some thinking, but to no success. it is not a technological question. no matter what kind of farms we have. we will dedicate just enough farm space to provide the necessary amount of raspberries. but how much is that? that is the interesting question. who will do the survey, who will ask every men on earth whether they want one more acre of raspberry plantation, or we should grow apples instead?

          such decisions are preventively complex. literally hundreds of millions of products are produced and sold today. it is not exaggeration at all. and we need to determine the amount of satisfaction one unit of each gives, and what is the cost of that unit, in terms of every other unit. should it be an iphone, or 200kg apples, or 10 bottles of quality wine?

          and even more complex: should we produce an iphone, apples or wine, or we should manufacture another machine or tool to enhance future production further? or we should do some scientific research, so tomorrow we can make better tools to increase production the day after tomorrow?

          and even more: our economy is not a static system. todays decisions and practices does not work in the future. not even in the close future. new ideas come up every day, and old ones become obsolete. trends change. our knowledge changes.

          these problems are solved with the price system. it is one of the smartest inventions ever.
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    Nov 4 2011: "how do we provide for everyone" is now only a "technical problem"? wow. painting is easy. you just put paint on the canvas. how, is just a technical problem. jeez.
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    Nov 4 2011: I believe it would work and it is the next step in humanities evolution. When 51% of us start thinking it will work, it will come to pasted, for it will become a natural occurrence. We all create what is around us everyday. It is so Great to see others on this mindset.
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    Nov 2 2011: I will start here with a summarization of my thoughts and hopefully we can expand from here. My thoughts on a "World without cost" are global it is an all inclusive idea a world of humanity without borders living as a single race, "we are all human" while everyone helps and provides for everyone at the same time preserving individual freedoms and regional culture. a persons mindset would haft to change, we would have to get rid of the thoughts and feelings of "greed" and think more along the way of "because I have you have, because you do I do, I live to help and help to live" i think this could work as long as everyone would keep DOING the job they currently have and drop the thought of money. the Unemployed could be employed where ever they wanted to work regardless of skill because training them would cost nothing.