Money, our shared belief. We participate by mutual consent, like with other shared beliefs: religion, science, law, and government. All have affected humanity, providing order, guidance, hope or instruction. And have persisted because they work! Some work well for our benefit, others are a mixed bag, a little bit good and a little bit bad.
My objective here is to examine one shared belief, money. We think it functions the best way it can. This is an illusion and illusion is an element of most beliefs. This does not mean that money is not real and does not have a real impact on us all. The illusion is found within the artificial boundaries we accept as the ‘way it works’. We have invented an incredible method of value and commodity exchange but we have stopped short of its vast potential. We are stuck within the cul de sac of its profit making potential and have explored its possibilities of human enhancement and the preservation of nature very little.
Economics as it is accepted and used presently has taught us that anything can and should have a price; our time, our thoughts, our organs, education, food, shelter, healthcare, nature, justice, recreation, water… Are there some things money should not buy? Does everything have a price? Can there be moral limits to profit markets and an expansion of humanitarian and conservation ‘markets’?
“The reach of markets, and market-oriented thinking into aspects of life traditionally governed by non market norms is one of the most significant developments of our time.” Michael J. Sandel.
We have accepted the present functioning of money as the way things are and cannot be changed. But we should question this assumption. We can understand and have opinions about how money should be used without losing the momentum of for-profit competitive markets. And stop the universal necessity of money making to survive, from using up our lives and creativity.
A parallel currency, that does not eliminate the present currency and its uses, dedicated to nurturing life by providing food, shelter, education, healthcare and infrastructure, is a possibility. This currency can not be invested or taxed. It can be used only for basic human needs and circulated alongside all world currencies. It would not create inflation because it would be destroyed when it reached a bank.
We are capable of seeing this familiar structure, economics, in a new light. We can imagine money with added dimension and effect for good. But this is not easy. Humans like the familiar and are suspicious of change. These tendencies are hardwired into our brains. They have served us well over thousands of years. Kept us safe and increased our populations. But, innovation and change have also increased human survival and happiness. The use of electricity and vaccines for instance.
One of our most established belief systems, religion, has undergone many modifications over past years. Its core purpose of moral education has been protected and enhanced with various improvisations. Many intended to make clearer how we can better understand and protect each other and Nature.
Our economic belief system can also be modified. A Protestant money movement so to speak. Helping money to give more to humanity and humanity in return using the benefits of increased autonomy and free time developing the vast resources of our dormant creativity. Then our ideas of meeting life beyond the outer reaches of the Universe become more than a dream story, and other amazing possibilities we cannot begin to dream become reality.
Let’s decide that the moment has come to expand the uses and potential of money and humanize our shared economic experience.
It can only come from us.