TED Conversations

Richard Luster

Technology Integration Engineer , Virtual Radiologic

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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Once we can get past our outdated methods of decision-making through speculation and diktat, and remove our imaginary barriers, we will find our only problems are technical ones.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 www.freeworldcharter.org and let me know what you think.


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  • 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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