Money, or any abstract medium of exchange, by its very nature creates a stratified society based primarily on purchasing power generating structural violence in our very social model. We are in direct competition with each other in the job market and there is a give take battle between the employee looking to get a higher wage and the employer balancing wages against profitability. There is no equality for our species in a sliding scale of pay rates that have a direct impact on quality of life and access to goods and services. If we continue to operate our society based on the need to earn to pay to live, then as a direct result what we are saying is that every human needs a form of employment to prove their worth. The result of this is a continually exasperated version of what we have now, poverty, fraud, theft, the list goes on. Currently there are not enough employment roles available to provide everyone with a job, a direct result of this in our current system is that due to under and unemployment a growing number of people are looked down upon for being reliant on a social safety net. Or they are simply ignored left on the street relying on the charity of others in the hope of sustaining their lives, which is hardly living and is better referred to as existing.
Even if by some miracle we could find a way to generate enough employment roles to allow everyone to have a job, the results would be a near insane level of both production and consumption that would be required to maintain those levels of employment. The environmental degradation resulting from the required resource waste to maintain those production levels, would leave our future generations little to no hope of having an environment that could support even the most modest subsistence. With “full employment” there is still not equality in “pay” so we continue to find our society experiencing all the symptoms that come with social stratification, including the continued reinforcement of a values disorder that has the majority in a race to the bottom in a vain effort to accumulate the most stuff, and have the most power. Not only is it basically retarded, it is totally unsustainable on any and every level.
Our “wants” are generated by our distorted values that are programmed into us through marketing in an attempt to keep our current system of anti-economics limping along, our “needs” are serviced but only to the degree that is profitable; this is evident in the reactions to the inability to sell food in our free market system. Everything in our world is produced with a limited life span, far below that which we are capable of, in order to keep everyone buying, buying, buying. That is how you keep billions of people employed, create mountains of complete and utter shit, while selling the notion to the masses that if you just work a little harder you too can rise to the top of the pyramid and have it all. Whatever “having it all” is supposed to mean. Our social malaise has gotten so bad that individuals actually buy into the idea that money can create comfort and happiness, while disregarding the fact that suffering creates fear, creates hate, creates violence. Thus making comfort and happiness something increasingly difficult to obtain in a world of continually exasperated levels of suffering.
Now while again it is true that we live on a planet of finite resources, we are most certainly capable of creating abundance. In today’s world we produce enough food to feed every single human on the planet, our problem is with distribution not production. If we stop and look around our society, taking stock of what we see, it becomes clear that scarcity is being manufactured in order to drive profits, maintain the status quo and our outmoded economic system. As an example of this look at phones, how many companies on our planet produce a version of a telephone and of that, how vast is the product range of each company? The point here is that as opposed to producing a stratified range of made to break products, we could produce high quality equipment in abundance that made use of intelligent design principals. Allowing for ease of upgrade, repair, aesthetic manipulation and to be as near to 100% recyclable as possible.
We have options, we could consider altering our system of economics to come into line with the natural laws of our planet and to remain flexible enough to change with and as our understandings of the world we are living in progress. The idea of altering our economy is not unrealistic, what is unrealistic is to imagine that our current antiquated economy that demands near infinite production on a finite planet is not only sustainable but is the best system we can currently muster as a species. I am not sure I have ever heard anything more utopian. It must also be understood that every aspect of our current social design is complicit in reinforcing our current economic system. Making surface changes to our type of money or how it is created fails to deal with serious issues like stratification, inequality, resource use/waste, unemployment, underemployment and poverty to name a few. As a result it is not simply our economy that must be altered, but every aspect of our social structure must be reviewed and upgraded to reinforce equality and sustainability.
Now of course we will not have a new type of economy overnight or any time soon, that has a whole lot to do with our distorted values and ingrained social conditioning. Selling money reforms as any type of solution is failing to look at the bigger picture and understanding the interconnected nature of our social issues. In saying that transition away from money is going to include changes to how money works in our society, allowing people to redefine how they see and what money means to them, facilitating an overall change in our values system as a species. There is a very interesting concept being talked about that has the potential to bring about this change, it is called the basic income. The basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement. It is a form of minimum income guarantee that differs from those that now exist in various European countries in three important ways:
- it is being paid to individuals rather than households;
- it is paid irrespective of any income from other sources;
- it is paid without requiring the performance of any work or the willingness to accept a job if offered.
You can find out more about “The Basic Income” at basicincome.org
The predisposition to support the current system and by default the status quo is ingrained in us all our lives through our social conditioning and is exactly what the powers that be would be jubilant seeing being reinforced.
In a social model in which children die as a result of not having their most basic needs met, we can be sure of one thing. We have serious structural issues that require addressing.