What’s wrong with money? Nothing, intrinsically. But it gets in the way. The monetary system is a system based on debt, scarcity and never ending growth. The first two aren’t very nice and the third is impossible, so it strikes me this isn’t a very good tripod to place our lives on.
I’m no economist, it really isn’t my forte, so I’m treading carefully here. Don’t expect expert opinion from me. What I want to say is nothing more than common sense.
The most common form of banking in the world today is called fractional reserve banking and I suggest you look it up yourself. But in a nutshell, it allows banks to create new money out of thin air. This is because when you deposit money into a bank, they only need to keep a percentage of it as a reserve, and will lend the rest to someone else. If everyone tried to withdraw their money at the same time, there would be nowhere near enough cash.
This means that most of the money in the world doesn’t exist; a pretty weird concept. Also in America (and probably other countries) every dollar bill that is printed, is actually leant to the country with an added sum on top, to pay back. This is of course impossible as to pay the money back, more must be printed, which comes with more debt, and so on.
World wide, governments are always borrowing and lending, with the poor Third World countries the worst off, spiralling into more and more debt as they are bullied into taking on more loans to pay back earlier ones.
I always get infuriated when the government’s excuse for not doing something important is “we simply don’t have the funds”. Yes you do! You have the funds for anything you actually want to do!
I read a statistic a while back claiming that the money the UK and US governments spent on bailing out the bankers when they crashed could have fed the entire world for 80 years. World hunger and poverty could be eradicated. We have the technology and the resources, it’s just the money that’s the sticking point.
In the monetary system, scarcity is a good thing, because it keeps value up. There are actually places where diamonds are incinerated to keep them rare and expensive. But in terms of you and me, in terms of reality, scarcity is bad because there might not be enough to go round. This shows that what’s good for the economy and what’s good for the people is not always the same thing.
But it should be. Money is a tool to oil the cogs of civilisation, a more sophisticated form of bartering for the modern day. It’s meant to sit around passively helping us, like washing machines and toilet paper, but instead we’ve somehow got into a situation where it has priority over humans.
This is insane.
The concept of never ending growth is also ridiculous because however technologically advanced we may be, all human-made products and services – without exception – rely originally on natural resources and natural processes. And the planet simply isn’t getting any bigger. To expect that it is, is an illusion too fanciful for anyone who has ever attended a geography lesson. For our world leaders, who to my knowledge are all over the age of 5, to base world economics on this assumption…
Is also insane.
A resource based economy
I think we need a new type of system. A system where the focus is on the most efficient and beneficial (to all parties) management of the Earth’s natural resources. Something that’s based on reality.
This is still pretty hazy in my mind’s eye at the moment but I’m gradually working it out. I’ll keep you up to date.
In the mean time, take a look at this. There’s also something related called The Venus Project which is very interesting. However two sticking points for me are that I think having too much of our world automated will not be sustainable, and that I am very strong on culture and I hate the idea of having the world run by one central group, whatever that group may be. It is a little overly futuristic for me, but still fascinating to be sure.