View Full Version : Could we survive without Money?


loneAzdgari
06-29-03, 11:43 AM
Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering? Is it possible that society could survive without money? Would people work on for the satisfaction of their job and not expect anything in return. How would a money free society work? Would all problems be solved without money?

These questions have been going round and round in my head for years. I know there is no answer, but I want to debate it. People rely on money so much that it is never, ever, questioned. No one i know could imagine a money free world. Is it possible?

Xev
06-29-03, 03:01 PM
Money is simply a representation of buying power. It is essential for any industrialized nation.


Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering?

Money is more or less bartering - we barter a commodity like labour for money, we barter the money we gained from our labour for groceries, etc.

Why one would want to do away with money is beyond me.

one_raven
06-29-03, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by Xev
(Money) is essential for any industrialized nation.

Possibly.

But we could definitely build a civilization without money or barter.

Not that I want to trun this into a debate about whether industrialization or technologiocal progress is positive or warranted...

Just wanted to point out that although money may be a prerequisite for the type of global civilization that we are attempting to build, it is not necessary for building a successful civilization.

Xev
06-29-03, 08:01 PM
one raven:

Just wanted to point out that although money may be a prerequisite for the type of global civilization that we are attempting to build, it is not necessary for building a successful civilization.

Really? Can you name me a civilization that has functioned and prospered, that did not have some sort of currency?

I'm thinking of 'money' in the broadest terms - i.e currency, something that represents value - and I can't think of how a civilization would function without it. Even some hypothetical, Thomas Moore-esque commie utopia would need a form of currency.


But we could definitely build a civilization without money or barter.

I don't see how?

one_raven
06-29-03, 08:17 PM
On small scale it has been done.
I have seen documentaries about small (relatively) remote groups of people that live in a truly communal community.

There is an isalnd in the South Pacific that has such a community of people.
Granted, it is only one island, but they have no means of barter.
All the work is done by all those that are most capable in that work, and the profits of the work are equally and openly shared by all.
If Jim is a skilled wood carver, his job is to carve wood.
If a new oar is needed for a boat, Jim makes it without any direct compensation (other than the good of the community).

Another special I watched was about an African tribe.
Nobody had any personal posessions.
The language did not even have any words of posession (mine, yours etc).
An animal was killed, brought back from the hunt, and everyone ate.
Every body raised every body else's children as well as their own.
If a hut had a leaky roof, the people fixed it.
If a hut collapsed, the people that were sleeping in it, simply moved to another one.

Besides all that...
I conceed that these are small examples at best, and you could easily argue against referring to them as "civilizations".
Even if they are discounted...
Even if no people had ever built (or even designed) a civilization without a value based barter system...

The simple fact that it hasn't been done does not prove that it can't be.

It not succeeding or existing is little more than supporting evidence of man's selfishness and greed.
Man's selfishness and greed, of course, could be used as an argument that this isn't possible, but I think it is just ecidence that it isn't probable.
I guess, for me, the question comes down to:
Is man's greed and selfishness inherent, is it created by the societies that we built and fostered or is it a combination of both?
If it can be deomantrated that a communal society that benefits all can be successful would people regect it?

one_raven
06-29-03, 08:18 PM
I think maybe it also comes down to personal definitions of:



Originally posted by Xev
a civilization that has functioned and prospered

What is yours?

Xev
06-29-03, 08:38 PM
one_raven:

On small scale it has been done.
I have seen documentaries about small (relatively) remote groups of people that live in a truly communal community.

I wouldn't consider them "civilizations". I'll grant that there's a bit of subjectivity in the word civilization, but all of your examples are cultures, not civilizations.

Perhaps I should clarify - I do think it is possible for a culture to exist without money or barter. But an industrialized nation? A space-age civilization?
I don't think so.


The simple fact that it hasn't been done does not prove that it can't be.

Well yes, but it is evidence of difficulty. I think the fact that all developed cultures use some sort of "money" is telling.


Is man's greed and selfishness inherent, is it created by the societies that we built and fostered or is it a combination of both?

What does "greed and selfishness" have to do with anything?


What is yours?

Roman empire offhand. Egyptian Middle Kingdom. Aztecs. Any modern civilization.

Thaug
06-29-03, 08:49 PM
Another special I watched was about an African tribe.
Nobody had any personal posessions.
The language did not even have any words of posession (mine, yours etc).
An animal was killed, brought back from the hunt, and everyone ate.
Every body raised every body else's children as well as their own.
If a hut had a leaky roof, the people fixed it.
If a hut collapsed, the people that were sleeping in it, simply moved to another one.

-----------

They do have a psedo-barter system. Its just that it uses reciprocity instead. Do they also tell you though that if you break the chain of reciprocity the punishment can be death?

one_raven
06-29-03, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by Thaug
They do have a psedo-barter system. Its just that it uses reciprocity instead. Do they also tell you though that if you break the chain of reciprocity the punishment can be death?

Actually, no.
The punishment for not working at all, is banishment.
Everyone that can work does, if you can't you don't have to, if you can, but choose not to, you leave the tribe and fend for yourself.

That is not a value based barter system at all.
It is not as if Bob needs a new roof, so Jim put one up in exchange for Bob giving him a day's catch of food.

If Bob needs a new roof, he gets one.
If Jim needs fish, he gets it.
There is no personal posessions, so nothing has any personal value.
There is simply value to the community.
If you strive to help the community, you are not rewarded for those specific efforts with a day's wages.
If you are a member of the tribe, you do what you are capable of, and all benefit equally.

one_raven
06-29-03, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by Xev I wouldn't consider them "civilizations". I'll grant that there's a bit of subjectivity in the word civilization, but all of your examples are cultures, not civilizations.
I'll give you that, but what is a civilization but a collection of cultures and societies?


Originally posted by Xev Perhaps I should clarify - I do think it is possible for a culture to exist without money or barter. But an industrialized nation? A space-age civilization?
I don't think so.
OK, well then we pretty much agree.
Except possibly for the value we individually place on a civilization being industrilaized.




Originally posted by Xev Well yes, but it is evidence of difficulty. I think the fact that all developed cultures use some sort of "money" is telling.

What does "greed and selfishness" have to do with anything?

The only real purpose for money is the exchange of weatlh.
The reason it works so well is that people have a desire to accumulate wealth and personal posessions.
Do you disagree?


Originally posted by Xev Roman empire offhand. Egyptian Middle Kingdom. Aztecs. Any modern civilization. [/B]
Well, if you cinsider "prosper" in its monetary sense, then, of course, money would HAVE to be involved.
If you think of it as growth in size and military might, then I would say that money would come in damned handy, but if you are a self sufficient state with a communal structure, there is no reason why you couldn't build weapons and have military man-power.
If you consider it longevity, obvioulsy it hasn't happened, but I don't see why it can't.
(other than possibly people's tendency to want to accumulate "wealth".)

Xev
06-29-03, 10:16 PM
one raven:

I'll give you that, but what is a civilization but a collection of cultures and societies?

A civilization, I'd say, is a highly developed culture.
It really all comes down to development, which is rather subjective. To the !Kung of the Kalahari desert, 16th century England would seem rather highly developed. To me, a modern American, 16th century England does not seem to be highly developed.


Except possibly for the value we individually place on a civilization being industrilaized.

Perhaps. I'm trying to be neutral here.


The only real purpose for money is the exchange of weatlh.
The reason it works so well is that people have a desire to accumulate wealth and personal posessions.
Do you disagree?

Somewhat. Money is also much more convienient than simple trade - value is more definite, it's easier to transport and exchange, it's much more fluid.
It simplifies the exchange of commodities. "Wealth"? Well yes, one can see commodities as wealth.

I basically agree with you, but I want to note that money simplifies things greatly.


Well, if you cinsider "prosper" in its monetary sense, then, of course, money would HAVE to be involved.
If you think of it as growth in size and military might, then I would say that money would come in damned handy, but if you are a self sufficient state with a communal structure, there is no reason why you couldn't build weapons and have military man-power.
If you consider it longevity, obvioulsy it hasn't happened, but I don't see why it can't.

Even a developed communist state is likely to need some way to transfer commodities quickly and efficiantly, wouldn't you think?

Clockwood
06-29-03, 10:28 PM
We could go on either barter or credit but we would need SOMETHING to trade. Without any sort of exchange we are back to the mesolithic and even paleolithic periods. Monkeys with sticks.

Thaug
06-29-03, 10:36 PM
Thats not reciprocity. Reciprocity is sometimes a gift must be given and it may not be refused, that gift will then at later date be "paid" for in some way. In parts of africa where they kill a giraffee or something they have to much meat. They will share it with other tribes. This isint really sharing though because it must be given and it must be recieved. If one clan is on a part of land where there is water and another clan comes by they must ask to drink. The other clan may not refuse and the gift may not be denied to be given. Later on this favor must be returned.

In our society we instead use loans, credit, checks and cash to see who is in dept to another.

The reason why we need this is because without we don't do anything. Punishment and rewards guide the humanity.

one_raven
06-30-03, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by Xev
A civilization, I'd say, is a highly developed culture.
It really all comes down to development, which is rather subjective. To the !Kung of the Kalahari desert, 16th century England would seem rather highly developed. To me, a modern American, 16th century England does not seem to be highly developed.
I suppose you can look at it that way.
But then the "definition" of civilization changes with time?
By today's standards, the Ming Dynasty would hardly even qualify as a civilization.
I think the line between culture and civilization simply comes down to scale.



Originally posted by Xev Perhaps. I'm trying to be neutral here.
And doing a good job at it.
Thank you.
I am really enjoying this conversation.




Originally posted by Xev Somewhat. Money is also much more convienient than simple trade - value is more definite, it's easier to transport and exchange, it's much more fluid.
It simplifies the exchange of commodities. "Wealth"? Well yes, one can see commodities as wealth.
Absolutley.
However, what I am saying is that a civilization can exist without privately owned/controlled commodities.
Without privately owned commodities (everything belonging to the community) there is no barter, no trade, no reason or need to place value on any of these commodities.


Originally posted by Xev I basically agree with you, but I want to note that money simplifies things greatly.
I agree with that.
When applied to any civilization that relies upon, or even exercizes commodities trade.




Originally posted by Xev Even a developed communist state is likely to need some way to transfer commodities quickly and efficiantly, wouldn't you think?
Same as above answer.

I know that the use of money of some sort has always come into play in all the major civilizations and cultures in our history.
It is almost inevitable.

Take the African tribe example from above...
For localized efforts at sustinence, there is no need to exchange goods or services.
The farmers will plant and grow food.
The hunters will hunt.
The weavers will weave.
Etc...

But then, there will be people that don't want to participate in the community and will be kicked out.
These banished people willband together as thieves and rob the seperate communities.
The seperate communities will join together in a common cause and form alliances to collectively protect themselves.
They will create nations.
These nations will want to trade. *bingo*

On remote islands (like that one in the South Pacific) it is less inevitable because it is less necessary since the whole island is a single collective commune, not distinct tribes.

I know that money (in its essence) is convenient.
I know it comes in handy when dealing with the trading of goods and services.
I do, however, think it is possible to create a civilization without it.

one_raven
06-30-03, 12:12 AM
Originally posted by Thaug
Thats not reciprocity. Reciprocity is sometimes a gift must be given and it may not be refused, that gift will then at later date be "paid" for in some way.

I understand what recipricity is, and I know this tribe was not an example of reciprocity in action.
That was the point.
They got along without it.
theu did not trade with neighboring tribes.
They were self-sufficient.

Xev
06-30-03, 01:01 AM
one_raven:

I think the line between culture and civilization simply comes down to scale.

Precisely. However, you have to admit there's a difference between a culture like modern America and a hunter-gatherer society.
And this is why money takes over the larger the society becomes. In a small, close-knit society, people are more interdependant. Everybody knows what everybody is doing - if you don't pull your weight, you have to look the people you parasitize in the eyes.

I'm not expressing this well.


However, what I am saying is that a civilization can exist without privately owned/controlled commodities.
Without privately owned commodities (everything belonging to the community) there is no barter, no trade, no reason or need to place value on any of these commodities.

How would this happen? I don't think it's impossible, just unlikely.


I know that money (in its essence) is convenient.
I know it comes in handy when dealing with the trading of goods and services.
I do, however, think it is possible to create a civilization without it.

A civilization without the trading of goods and services?
Not possible.
Money is so efficiant, that a civilization might be possible without it, but rather extremely difficult to create.

Why one would want to create it is another question.

one_raven
06-30-03, 01:32 AM
Originally posted by Xev
Precisely. However, you have to admit there's a difference between a culture like modern America and a hunter-gatherer society.
And this is why money takes over the larger the society becomes. In a small, close-knit society, people are more interdependant. Everybody knows what everybody is doing - if you don't pull your weight, you have to look the people you parasitize in the eyes.

I'm not expressing this well.
Expressed well.
It is easy to be a parasite when no one is looking.
When there are 5000 people growing corn, it is quite simple to just nap in a cornfield and not do any work to earn your keep because the larger a community grows, the harder it is to micro-manage.
When it is small it micro-manages itself.

Which is what is so great about having small communities.
However, when you DO have seperate small communities, they will want to work with eachother, and they way to do that is with trade.
Then money comes in again.




Originally posted by Xev How would this happen? I don't think it's impossible, just unlikely.

A civilization without the trading of goods and services?
Not possible.
Money is so efficiant, that a civilization might be possible without it, but rather extremely difficult to create.
I believe that if it is possible on a small scale, then it should be possible on a larger scale.
I am not sure exactly how.
If I figure it out, I will give you a free copy of my book. ;)

It is easy to imagine with a great number of independent self-sustaining communities, but natural resources are not placed about like convenient bodegas on NYC street corners.

Then again, people DO adapt to their surroundings.
There are cultures that have sustained in remote regions with little or no outside contact, so bartering natural resources would be more of a convenience than a necessity.
then we get into the argument over what constitutes convenience rather than a necessary aspect of "growth" and "prosperity" of a civilization.
Plus we get into the area of defining a civilization, again.
Would a plethora of independent self-sustaining cultures BE a civilization?
I am not so sure.

I can see a civilization that is made up of small communities that have no internal monetary system, but directly trade goods and services with neighboring communities.
That, I know, is still placing a value on tradable commodities (if only inter-community trade).


Originally posted by Xev Why one would want to create it is another question.

And a good one at that.
If someone has come up with a viable social structure that is not capitalistic, but does use money, I would like to learn about it.
A workable incarnation of Socialism or Communism perhaps.

one_raven
06-30-03, 01:36 AM
I just want to sit under a tree, read, write, eat grapes and sleep when and where I feel tired.

Is that too much to ask? :)

loneAzdgari
06-30-03, 02:47 AM
Why couldnt people work for the benefit of others instead of working for a desire to earn money? Is it possible for people to base their lives not on materials that do not really matter, but on helping others? Could a person be motivated to work if they knew that there were millions working for them? I know I would.

This type of society, where people work for each other, could only work if people accepted it. There could be no greed in this society because there is no way you could have any more importance than the next person. This type of society has proven itself to not work, ie communism. But communism was not created through the will of the people, it was created through oppression of the people by the Bolsheviks. If people could open their minds to more possibilities than the current capitalist society then we could have more open debate in mainstream society. The fact is, people cannot talk about a money, bartering free society, because they cannot imagine it. They probably never will, thanks to big business and the like.

I believe a money and bartering free society is possible, but I have no idea of how it would be done. I would hate a system where you were designated a job at birth, for obvious reasons. Maybe a system where education became much more important it is now. Children would be allowed to develop and as they developed, could choose their career. If there was no money, children wouldnt want to grow up to be rich, because there is no money! People could actually work where they wanted. The big problem with this is, who would take the unwanted jobs? Well, the answer to this is, technology. If technology was advanced enough, we wouldnt need cleaners or dustbin men. We also wouldnt need police because there would be far less crime.

This view is very, very optimistic and it seems like the utopian society. There would be many, many problems, most of all the transition. But these problems would be worth it. I think this is what society should be striving for. As opposed to a world where business rules and corporations dominate. And im not an anarchist, I believe business can work, I just dont believe its the right way to live our lives.

Blindman
06-30-03, 05:42 AM
Ohh no your all so wrong...


Money is an extension of the bartering system.

The bartering system works fine in small communities but in complete societies it runs into problems.

The problem is that the two traders may not have the product to make a fair exchange.

two cows do not equal 6 sheep or whatever. I want a TV for my cows not sheep.

Money standardizes trade. Value is given to product's based on human work.

Money is the most effective way to trade, to barter, to fairly exchange work load.

I hope that in the future machines will produce all we need. Only when the basics to survival are removed from human work can we move away from money.

The great problem is what should we all do if we don't need money.. A self maintained robotic system that does not require human work would ultimately provide free produce. Free food, free housing, free medical care. The state then controls distribution.

We have all we need to survive.But to be happy we need to have goals.

In Australia, with our abundant resources, even the poorest can still get housing loans and survive on social security. Yet we have the problem of unhappiness, depression, one of the highest suicide rates in the modern world.

If we were all artist and loved to work just for the fun of it then money would not matter.

sparkle
07-01-03, 06:12 PM
@loneAzdgari

Yes. It is possible. I know such communities (and here I use the word “community” with intent). People in such little societies have no desire to become wealthy. They work exactly for what they want to achieve that day and stop then. However, wherever I have been, such people were not yet specialized in ANY way. Neither were there typical tasks for women, nor for men. It is normal to see a man carrying babies around, cooking, sometimes (if they feel drawn to it) they weave. A woman knows how to plough. What I found striking was the absence of any excellence, though. Everyone knows how to do what, but there was rarely anyone who was really good – in an artist sense.
Another fact characteristic for money-free communities I have visited was that for generations, they have not married outsiders. Often they are surrounded by other ethnic groups with a different language and different traditions.
That sounds quite romantic and carefree, doesn’t it? Self-sufficient people with a good life. I love those people and I like watching them and chatting with them. But after a few days I get restless…There is nothing you could do after dark (which comes quite early), because there is no electricity. It is like time has another meaning in such places…and what also struck me: usually, when telling stories for entertainment, people revert to stories they told you five times already. But then everybody breaks out laughing (or, according to context is astonished)…just as if they just heard that story for the first time…

Xev
07-01-03, 11:19 PM
one_raven:

Which is what is so great about having small communities.
However, when you DO have seperate small communities, they will want to work with eachother, and they way to do that is with trade.
Then money comes in again.

Trade being one of the basis' of civilization....

You see where I'm going? Living without money has only suceeded in tribal communities.

lone:

Why couldnt people work for the benefit of others instead of working for a desire to earn money? Is it possible for people to base their lives not on materials that do not really matter, but on helping others? Could a person be motivated to work if they knew that there were millions working for them? I know I would.

What is wrong with working for one's personal gain?

one_raven
07-01-03, 11:25 PM
Xev,

It doesn't happen often, but you won me over.
Good job.
That makes me want to argue with you more! :D

Blindman
07-02-03, 10:44 AM
What happens if we start to trade with a system that wants no return. This system allows us to get what we want (need to survive in society), with out trade.

Economic development is leading the way. 50 years ago a TV was a major component of the yearly wage, now you can purchase a wide screen TV for a weeks work. It not because we are working so much harder, but because it is becoming more efficient to produce more TV's for less work. Ultimately the cost of a product will be related to the cost of the resources need to produce it. The cost of human work to produce product will be totally removed. From the mine to the desktop totally automated.

At some point the balance of power must swing from the corporate few to the unemployed masses.

(yes I know we have had socialism)

But in the future there just won't be the work needed to share around. Every year there are many more people entering the work force then jobs created. Oh unless your ready to compete with robotic production lines (Which get cheaper and cheaper each year).

The revolution must come and with it money will finally loose its hold on humanity.

Social security is a primitive example of this type of (sub) culture, no government would dare remove it yet every year it's cost grows exponentially relative to Gross National Product.

With this I must state that the are still a few bastions of humanity that can provide value (tradable product). Human/Human interaction in its many forms, Entertainment, Tourism, Arts, The sciences. When machines take that role we will have no need for money.

Agent Smith
07-11-03, 04:15 AM
If we lived by the principles of God, shared, made peace with eachother then we would not need money.

Clockwood
07-11-03, 10:47 PM
Which god would that be? Set the Egyptian god of chaos maybe?
I think Baal and Quetzelcoatel need their human sacrafices....

Fraggle Rocker
07-11-03, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by Xev
I'll grant that there's a bit of subjectivity in the word civilization, but all of your examples are cultures, not civilizations."Civilization" has a very specific, important meaning that is the key to the issue. Civilization literally means "the building of cities" and that's what it's about. The transition from living in tribes of two or three hundred people who know each other more or less personally and are even related by blood, to dealing with people every day who are anonymous faces.

We are social creatures, but like our closest primate relatives we have to keep our social group small enough that we actually know everybody in order to instinctively care about them. As long as we stick to that we don't need formal economics. Nobody's going to hoard food during a famine, hog the extra blankets during winter, or be envious of the most skillful hunter who brings home more meat, if all those other people in the camp or village are our own extended family. Sure we'll have a few fist fights and an occasional banishment and not be on speaking terms with Aunt Oooga, but by and large we'll share and make nice. And if we don't the patriarch and matriarch, whom we love and respect, will have a long talk with us.

We are incapable of extending those feelings to strangers. Our Neanderthal instincts scream at us that their tribe is competing with our tribe for scarce resources. Deep inside us there's something telling us to make them go away, the last thing we want to do is share or cooperate with them.

After four or five thousand years of civilization (we were able to start building cities when we learned how to work iron, bronze tools aren't any better than flint for a stonemason) we've managed to tame those instincts to a certain extent. People actually are capable of living together and getting along pretty well, treating each other almost like family, in small cities of ten or twenty thousand. That is a truly remarkable achievement when you think about our history. I live in one of those and it really does work, just barely. A lot of people don't lock their doors, people feel free to discipline each other's kids if they get out of line, and when somebody is broke their neighbors give them some food and a lecture about getting off the booze and finding a job.

But when "communities" grew into the hundreds of thousands, much less hundreds of millions, it was impossible for people who'd only been out of their caves for thirty or forty thousand generations to internalize the idea that all of those other people, whom they never even see and don't even know their names, are part of the same tribe.

Humans have no ingrained sense of obligation to be fair to people that they can't see, to repay debts, to manage resources so there are enough to go around. And that's where money comes in. That's why civilizations always invent money. Sure barter can work but you eventually end up choosing one standard commodity like beads or gold to be the universal currency for simplicity's sake.

So the answer is No, we can't get along without money. We won't be able to do that until we evolve for several thousand more years and develop an instinct no other animal has, which is to feel kinship with an abstraction: a person we'll never meet.

If you think we can do better, here's an analogy I've posted before. Consider our dear companions, our dogs. They get sixty or seventy generations to a century instead of our three or four. They have more chromosomes that mutate more readily. We've been selective-breeding them for at least five thousand years, only allowing bloodlines to survive that have the traits we value. And after all that, watch what happens when humans hit hard times and let their dogs run off to fend for themselves. They form into packs that are just about twice as big as the packs their original wolf ancestors ran in, maybe thirty or forty. That's all they feel comfortable with after all that work. No "nations" of three hundred million dogs, no "united nations" of several billion dogs.

We've done far better in the same time, without as much selective breeding. We can form "packs" of ten or twenty thousand. We should be grateful for that stupendous progress, instead of feeling bad that we all can't quite feel empathy for the people on the other side of the world. If it means we have to use money to keep each other honest, so be it. It works!

Civilization created money, and money keeps civilization together.

Q25
07-12-03, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by loneAzdgari
Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering? Is it possible that society could survive without money? Would people work on for the satisfaction of their job and not expect anything in return. How would a money free society work? Would all problems be solved without money?

These questions have been going round and round in my head for years. I know there is no answer, but I want to debate it. People rely on money so much that it is never, ever, questioned. No one i know could imagine a money free world. Is it possible?
the idea has been around for many years,see;
www.technocracy.org

Fraggle Rocker
07-12-03, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by Q25
the idea has been around for many years,see;
www.technocracy.org I ran out of patience after about five minutes of trying to find something substantive on their website that we all don't already know from reading sci fi.

But in general there are two scenarios for building a civilization without money.

1. We are all highly responsible people who care about our fellow man. We would never dream of shirking our duty. Each of us will work hard and produce to the reasonable limits of our talent and training. And each of us will be content to have all of our reasonable needs tended to. All of this will be administered by a very benevolent government that exists only to help us.

Nice idea. In real life a huge portion of the people will not work very hard if they don't see a good reason for it. In real life a good portion of the people will demand more than they "need," if they don't readily see that it hampers someone else's ability to meet their basic "needs." And in real life as a government becomes more powerful it invariably becomes more corrupt. An ever larger portion of the resources and production end up being taken by the government, leaving less for the citizens. We saw this play itself out in the USSR, while they still had human workers. Imagine an automated soviet state!

2. We can create a technology so advanced that it automates all the "routine" parts of life. Collecting natural resources, using them to create consumer goods, feeding the livestock and watering the plants, harvesting the meat and vegetables, bringing it all to market. The citizens will have no responsibilities because the computers will take care of them. So they can spend all of their time in creative pursuits, or if they don't feel like doing that or have no talent, plain old decadence. Bonbons from automated factories and computer-generated sitcoms all day every day.

Nice idea. My bank's computer still can't get our credit card statement right two months in a rwo. It will be a long time before I personally, or anyone who's attended one of my IT classes, will have the guts to turn the management of the entire world's means of production and distribution over to a giant computer network. If someone tries to do that, I personally, Mister Software Process Guru, will become a Luddite and smash the damn things. (Besides, who among us gets the immensely powerful job of tending the computers!)

So unless somebody has a third idea that isn't just a rehash or combination of 1 and 2, we still need to do our own work and keep each other honest. That requires money.

Q_Who
07-14-03, 02:19 AM
I propose a grand experiment.
We will construct a self sustained back to basics village.
Start fresh with no money or barter.
After x years we will see how effectively the society develops.
If the group sustains this system for a number of generations the answer to this question is clear.
Now, who would give their life up for this?

jjhlk
07-19-03, 11:40 PM
I don't think that a system without money allows for much technological advance. Why would the commune let you waste time playing with wires and magnets when they need roofing and food. If the commune decides it would be worth it to let you figure out ways to better their lives , they are basically trading their labour for your genius, and then they are in fact bartering. And if you were inventing in your free time, I don't know if the happiness gotten from knowing that you helped people would be enough. (Perhaps some examples from communist states would prove me right or wrong here, are people willing to work extra hard for the same thing?). And besides, isn't a commune based on labour trade w/ punishments still bartering? (just another form of money)

So, if a society will not develop technology to help itself, diseases and other natural things would eventually kill them. "So you didn't find a way to get off this planet within five billion years? Too bad, meet your fiery new friend, helium." (well, not really.. but it sounded good)

DeeCee
07-25-03, 11:52 PM
Interesting thread.
As far as I can see money is simply a crude, ineffective and unfair form of rationing. The world has limited resources (so I'm told) and the way we decide who gets what comes down to how much money we have. Working hard to heal the sick and the lame may buy you a nice compact car. Play for a major league baseball team and you get a Farrari. Either way you may just as easily visit grandma by riding a bike. How sensible is that?
Now here are some points to ponder. Lets say I invent a 'Star Trek' style replicator that will produce any commodity at no cost (including copies of itself). Bam money could be history just like that. Would anybody mind if I put one in every home or would the rich see their powerbase slipping and get the CIA to put a bullet through my head?
Personally I think that we can live without money but some people (goverments perhaps) need it as method of social control. If this is the case will we ever find utopia?

Discuss;)
Dee Cee

jjhlk
07-26-03, 03:48 PM
The replicator needs some sort of fuel iirc, it just assembles things from other things (reassembles the atoms). It everyone had one though, then scientists would be at the top of the power pyramid since they are the people actually developing things..? And in today's society a replicator would just be a breach of intellectual property. :) :(

DeeCee
07-26-03, 08:37 PM
Hey! It's a hypothetical replicator!
I've seen plenty of posting about economics on this thread and I'm just trying to widen the debate.
What I'm asking is, does society need money purely as exchange collateral or does it fufill another function.
If we didn't need it would we still have to have it?

Dee Cee

thefountainhed
07-26-03, 09:55 PM
A civilization without money is POSSIBLE exist under these seven conditions:
1. Lack of individuality
2. Lack of contact with other cultures
3. It follows thus, no external or internal trade
4. Lack of societal stigma on job type
5. Job placement based on ability & detected at an early age
6. Lack of emotional attachment—this implies from (1), but…
7. A consciousness that sees the advancement of the group as the primordial aim.

These seven rules will lead to a society devoid of crime, jealousy and greed; yet still allow for ambition or strive, and thus a society capable of advancement. The closest system I know of on earth that approaches this would be an ant colony.

Some may argue that as humans, our whole being strives for survival of the individual first. Thus greed, jealousy, etc are inevitable human emotions or behaviours. I do not disagree. I however think that humans can be conditioned and as a result, evolve a consciousness devoid of individualistic aims. It would actually be easy with a society of clones.

Clockwood
07-27-03, 10:36 PM
Basically described a termite in most of those conditions.

thefountainhed
07-29-03, 02:17 PM
Most also describe Sparta... your point?

Fraggle Rocker
07-29-03, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Q_Who
I propose a grand experiment. We will construct a self sustained back to basics village. Start fresh with no money or barter. After x years we will see how effectively the society develops. If the group sustains this system for a number of generations the answer to this question is clear. Now, who would give their life up for this? Yes, yes, yes. We already know that it works just fine for a village. That was called the Neolithic Era. A few hundred people living together, it's a small enough population that everybody more or less knows everybody else, and everybody is everybody else's cousin.

It's called a "tribe," and it works. Humans have the instinctive ability to care about people they know, who are distant members of their family. They don't always get along famously, sometimes they even beat each other up, but basically they work together when it matters. They share food, blankets, take their turn on sentry duty to keep the hyenas away. (Or at least they did that until they and dogs discovered each other and created the world's first multi-species community, but that topic is on another thread.) They don't cheat each other out of food and tools, they don't let one sleep out in the cold while another has fifty blankets and a mammoth-hide tent big enough to hold twelve people.

That worked really well until human habitations got so big that people no longer actually did know each other and didn't count each other as family members. They stopped caring about each other because that's the way their brains are wired.

Actually, though, we've made a lot of progress on that score since we started building cities around 9,000 years ago. Your village doesn't need to be small enough to be called a "village." Small cities with as many as ten or twenty thousand people work pretty well. We live in one and there's a surprising sense of community. It's even multi-racial, we're obviously not closely related, and still people help each other out, go off with their doors unlocked, and feel free to scold each other's children if they catch them doing something naughty. We go to the high school baseball games and have a good time because our neighbor's kid is the pitcher, and we fucking hate sports!

But that's about the limit of our ability to feel a sense of tribal connection and care about other people out of sheer instinct and sense of honor. When cities get bigger than that, with populations up into six figures, it becomes us versus those other guys. Why should we pay taxes for their kids to go to school when they sit around all day and collect welfare? Why should my father have to clean floors for a living when yours is a banker? Why shouldn't I rip off a couple of six packs from your store -- you've got a brand new car and I'm riding a ratted out Honda.

Money is what we invented, not too long after the creation of cities actually, to make order out of all this. We put a monetary value on what he have to offer and what we want to get, haggle it out in a chaotic network called the marketplace, and we use little green rectangular IOUs to keep track of who owes how much to whom.

It's the only thing that's ever worked. Without a free market, civilization (literally "the building of cities") dissipates into feudalism or something almost as bad like Mafia-era Sicily, where the strongest and luckiest and meanest people seize power and everybody else gets sloppy seconds.

It's not Right or Wrong, it just Is. It's human nature, but by the goddess we actually have developed a way to conquer our human nature and get along more or less peacefully and share the wealth more or less equally. It's called: Money.

As Joseph Campbell said, money is the myth of our era. It's no more real than Zeus or Vishnu or the Holy Ghost, but our belief in it takes over where our natural instinct fails us, and causes us to be able to tolerate an overgrown "village" full of people who don't look like us, don't speak the same language, and don't share the same belief system. The only belief we share is money, and fortunately that works for us.

We should be proud of the fact that we invented something that works as well as money does, while in fact being totally imaginary. What could be more quintessentially human? It's just like religion, only it seems to work better.

We tamed our baser nature in a way that only the human animal can, by inventing a myth and using it to control ourselves.

Agent Smith
07-30-03, 03:32 AM
If we alll followed the commandments God gave us and followed the ways of JEsus we wudnt need money.

dribbler
08-03-03, 10:09 AM
yes

Fraggle Rocker
08-07-03, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by Agent Smith
If we all followed the commandments God gave us and followed the ways of Jesus we wudnt need money. Sure. But that's like saying, "If we all lived in communities no larger than 100 we wouldn't need language, agriculture, or civilization." Jesus was a one-percenter, a personality at least six sigmas from the norm. He had no discernable ego, and that's just the top of the list of the ways in which he was very much unlike most of the rest of us in some really fundamental ways.

Asking us to live like Jesus is asking us to renounce many of the defining characteristics of what makes us human beings.

Buddha asks us to look inside ourselves and examine those traits, and then for each of us to use our immense human intellect to devise a way that works for each of us individually to integrate those traits into a civilized whole that can coexist more or less harmoniously with others who are trying their hardest to do the same thing.

The Dao teaches us to identify the positive and negative aspects of each of those traits and assemble them into a dynamic equilibrium that provides the energy for a life that stays more or less in balance with the other lives around us.

Jung tells us to not be ashamed of those traits, but to domesticate them and give them each the opportunity to guide us through situations in which they can be exercised to the benefit of the entire community, for each of us to recognize our most dominant traits and find a path through life on which those traits can be put to productive use, and to let the others come out to play once in a while, in situations where they will do no harm.

Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed want us to label many of our most basic characteristics "evil," spend our whole lives trying to repress them, and grovel for forgiveness when one of them asserts itself in frustration like a condemned prisoner who dares to attempt an escape.

So please excuse me if, for all of its faults, I tolerate money with far more patience than the Abrahamic religions.

paulend
08-14-03, 06:26 AM
we can live without money. the world will be a place where nothing has value.. everything would be free in the sense that no money will be exchanged for any item. everybody that can work, will work and in exchange they will have as much of anything as they need. the reason why we should live without money is that-money in the world allows there to be the rich and when there is the rich there is the poor, if there was no money there would be no rich and therefore no poor. why would people steal if the item was avaliable to them in the same amount of time it takes for them to break into someones house? there would be no class system, people would no longer worship "film stars" or "pop stars" because they would see them for what they are doing for the world, in this case reading words from a piece of paper to entertain us-the court jesters of the modern world. people would no longer be judged for what they wear, how big there house is or what university they graduated from. in every single award ceromony you hear the reporters blurt "who are you wearing?" refering to the designer. everything would be seen for what it is-a car would no longer be symbol of wealth, it would be seen as a means of transport. everything would change and start to benifit everybody in this world, chemicals would not be put into our food so to make them cheaper to produce, people will not be exploited. we will become healthier. we will stop polluting this world because there will be no monetary constraints on development of better fuels, and the people of today who sell fuel will not have any insentive to, as there will be no profit to be made. it is the only way we are going to evolve into a superior race. we must overcome ourselves and dismiss with our greed.

and2000x
08-14-03, 10:02 AM
This is a very interesting topic. It should be pointed out that Pol Pot (yeah, that idiot) was the first dictator that had enough balls to outlaw money.

Though in terms of currency, the products were the currency for the work, so it doesn't really count as valueless.

I don't think a society without pay would work, simply because it goes against human nature. No matter how 'sincere' and 'responsible' people are, it is essentially impossible to do work without a reward. Why would you want that anyway? Altruism is madness to the highest degree. The idea of a civilization is to unite people for the common good. If an individual is getting nothing in return, then he should leave.

Example:

A tribe of people decide to build walls around their camp. So Joe helps out by lifting logs (his labor). If he doesn't do any work, he doesn't get to share in the feast. So by the next day the wall is finished. Joe now expects to relax and have some food. Suddenly the tribe leader says 'we shouldn't have to give you anything, you did it for the good of the community'. What is joe left with? NOTHING. Even Honey Bees get something out of return.

AS for Utopia: I think the proto-fascist Star Trek model is an ideal society...on paper. Unless there is constant exploration and excitement (what the unabomber dubs 'surrogate activities') then people would get bored to death and rebel. How about those borgs? They seem like a metaphor for communists: lifeless, egalitarian, altruistic.

Tribal societies seem to be the most efficient, since there are strong leaders who make the rules, not the masses. Furthermore, they aren't really 'masses', they are a tight knit family, therefore decisions are more comfortable. These societies have better values for the sole purpose that there are no conflicting outside influences (such as the capitalist system today, where the television preaches values). If someone is commiting a crime, the tribe will punish them in severe ways so that it never occurs again.

and2000x
08-14-03, 10:12 AM
I propose a grand experiment.

Have you ever read 'Lord of the Flies'? The power hungry survive and the idiots don't. That's how it is and I never want it to be any other way.

paulend
08-15-03, 05:45 AM
Originally posted by and2000x


I don't think a society without pay would work, simply because it goes against human nature. No matter how 'sincere' and 'responsible' people are, it is essentially impossible to do work without a reward. Why would you want that anyway?


Originally posted by paulend

the world will be a place where nothing has value.. everything would be free in the sense that no money will be exchanged for any item. everybody that can work, will work and in exchange they will have as much of anything as they need


Originally posted by and2000x


Have you ever read 'Lord of the Flies'? The power hungry survive and the idiots don't. That's how it is and I never want it to be any other way.

this issue has nothing to do with fiction, this is the real world. the idiots you refer to are millions of people in third world countries who starve to death everyday. perhaps if you were born into one of these countries then your attitude my be slightly altered.

kazakhan
08-15-03, 06:07 AM
I don't think a society without pay would work, simply because it goes against human nature.
A need for money in return for some deed is genetic is it?
In the human time scale money is a modern invention is it not?
I don't think the problem is with money but with the system.
Are those "treasury notes" in your pocket really yours, are they really worth the face value?

and2000x
08-15-03, 09:43 AM
A need for money in return for some deed is genetic is it?

I never said MONEY. I said REWARD (money is a type of reward, not the rule). There is no animal on this planet that works counter to it's own interests. Altruism is an impossibility.

and2000x
08-15-03, 09:48 AM
this issue has nothing to do with fiction, this is the real world. the idiots you refer to are millions of people in third world countries who starve to death everyday. perhaps if you were born into one of these countries then your attitude my be slightly altered.

The book has a lot to do with reality if you bothered to read it. Or is that too hard? Guess what, I almost starved, I was homeless once. Don't preach to me, the simple fact is that pity is weakness. Do I think the Jewnited States should exploit third world countries? HELL NO! What's going on in Africa is hard for even me to stomach, but I'm not going to stoop to pity. I'd rather overthrow the system and attack the actual problem like a real hero instead of just giving away my fortune to the poor. What long term problem will that solve? Pity is leftist madness.

kazakhan
08-15-03, 09:48 AM
I never said MONEY
Not much difference:)

Altruism is an impossibility.
How? Why?
Are absolutely all decisions made with the "what's in it for me" attitude? Is not that what you are implying? I don't believe it.

and2000x
08-15-03, 11:31 AM
NO. Money is not the same thing. Money IS a reward, but not all rewards amount to money. For example: If I join a tribe of people that give me absolutely no shelter, no food, and no safety, there is no point in me being there. As such, these things I described ARE rewards for my hard work.

Altruism is impossible because anything you do is to your benefit. For example, if a guy puts a gun to my head and tells me to build him a pyramid out of rocks, I can either build it or get my brains blown out. I may not WANT to do it, but unconsciously it benefits me becase I'm still alive.

For a better argument: If some utopian-collective-cult-whatever, tells me to give them all of my belongings, my time, and my effort for no reward, what am I gaining? Acceptance into the cult of course! The acceptance is my reward.

and2000x
08-15-03, 11:38 AM
Let me put it this way: selfishness is not something to be cherished, collectivism is not evil. However, if all people give themselves up altruistically, there is no real point to having a civilization because it is achieving the opposite of what society was intended for. Humans came into packs out of common interest, not altruism.

Lets says there is a pack of wolves that come upon a group of rabbits. Each wolf kills a rabbit and then puts it into a kill pile instead of eating it, because they want to serve the collective instead of being selfish. They will all starve to death even though there is food in front of them. See the absurdity of self-sacrifice?

When Ninjas commit Sepuka for the love of their country, they are doing it in their own interests because that is how deep their love is. If they do not feel anything for their country, their action is irrational.

Bees appear to be altruistic creatures, yet many idiots fail to realize that they fight to the death out of genetic priority.

paulend
08-19-03, 07:35 AM
Originally posted by and2000x
The book has a lot to do with reality if you bothered to read it. Or is that too hard? Guess what, I almost starved, I was homeless once. Don't preach to me, the simple fact is that pity is weakness. Do I think the Jewnited States should exploit third world countries? HELL NO! What's going on in Africa is hard for even me to stomach, but I'm not going to stoop to pity. I'd rather overthrow the system and attack the actual problem like a real hero instead of just giving away my fortune to the poor. What long term problem will that solve? Pity is leftist madness.

i did not say anything about pity. you are the one that called it pity. "The power hungry survive and the idiots don't. That's how it is and I never want it to be any other way" and now you say that you would "rather overthrow the system and attack the actual problem like a real hero" surely this system is the system you believe in and that you "never want it to be any other way" you call it a "problem" and feel that you would be a "real hero" if you were to attack it. when did i say that you were to give away your fortune to the poor? if there was no money there would be no poor. "Do I think the Jewnited States should exploit third world countries? HELL NO!" is this not an example of the "power hungary" and the "idiots" that you refered to?

kazakhan
08-19-03, 07:56 AM
Altruism is impossible because anything you do is to your benefit.
As you seem fond of analogy, what reward do I get for kicking the cockroach rather than sqaushing it? None I'd say as I'm likely to need to kick it again some time.

Strange Loops
09-23-03, 07:49 PM
To LoneAzdgari:

I offer these two related links on the subject:

<a href="http://www.strange-loops.com/politicsabolishwork.html">Abolish Work</a>

and

<a href="http://www.primitivism.com/index.html">Primitivism</a> (with an especial look at <a href="http://www.primitivism.com/primitive-affluence.htm">this piece</a> which talks about the !Kung bushmen and Australian Aborigines)

I haven't had the time to read the entire long thread in full (I'm new here, lots of catching up to do), but it seems to me money is not a necessity if one gets rid of work. And work, for the most part - especially in its current form - is not a necessity if one gets rid of some of our more worthless consumerism habits.

Nasor
09-24-03, 08:52 AM
Even in a perfect altruistic, non-greedy society you would still want money. It acts as both a store of value and a measure of value, both of which are important to the functioning of a complex society.

paulend
09-26-03, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by Nasor
Even in a perfect altruistic, non-greedy society you would still want money. It acts as both a store of value and a measure of value, both of which are important to the functioning of a complex society.

The society would niether be ultruistic or selfish. would you want money if there were no money to want? money is a store of monetry value. in a world without money items would have no value, therefore we would not need it to be stored or measured.

Nasor
09-26-03, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by paulend
The society would niether be ultruistic or selfish. would you want money if there were no money to want? money is a store of monetry value. in a world without money items would have no value, therefore we would not need it to be stored or measured. Let me clarify; I meant that money would still serve a useful purpose is such a society.

crazeeeeeem
10-09-03, 10:39 PM
I too have felt confused on this issue until someone told me that money is actually a means for carrying information. That information tends to be a complex representation of human business activities with each other. What is defined by business is of course a much larger topic hear than the concept of money. Needless to say, this business can, and does include very base and animalistic desires of the proponents of business.

Going back to it, when one uses money, it actually represents the value of a something (a pot of rice, a bottle of whiskey etc). However, what determines how one object is valued over the other is the tricky bit. Theoretically, they are valued on their production rates. In reality, politics, and human greed (the animus) takes over and skews the curve in extraordinary and generally quite evil ways.

As marx said, money can have no meaning on its own. You do not go into a shop and ask to buy money (well unless you are loaning money, than in exchange of a promise to return that money, you are getting some money in advance). Well thats the short answer. There is a much bigger and strangely less complex answer to this but requires quite a bit of explanation for which none of us have the money to pay for. :D

crazeeeeeem
10-09-03, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by paulend
money is a store of monetry value. in a world without money items would have no value, therefore we would not need it to be stored or measured.

There is one thing I find disappointing about this forum. It tends to be things like the above. Two arguments

1. As we don't pay for our oxygen we breath (you do not pay directly), than it has no value ????

2. A self descriptive phrase like "ghosts are things made of ghostly things" is not a constructive description.

Gatzzu
10-11-03, 04:11 PM
Originally posted by Xev


Why one would want to do away with money is beyond me.

Eventually we will have machines that can instantly create any object, it will have a stored memory of every atom for everything, so it would be impossible for their to be money.

Eventually we will have to abolish capitalism and work out another way. I think if there was no money there would be less poor people, less rich people, and more middle class. For the division of goods would be given equally and only if you were a lazy mofo would you earn nothing and become a bum.

paulend
10-13-03, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by crazeeeeeem
There is one thing I find disappointing about this forum. It tends to be things like the above. Two arguments

1. As we don't pay for our oxygen we breath (you do not pay directly), than it has no value ????

2. A self descriptive phrase like "ghosts are things made of ghostly things" is not a constructive description.

no MONETARY value.

then what is the price of the oxygen we breath?

JLRuiz
07-11-11, 12:52 PM
Yes Yes Yes if some people learn to stop being greedy.
Everything can continue as is. Progress, technology etc. All we need to do is work for the common good.

Fuse26
07-12-11, 06:22 AM
I can imagine a money-free world:communism. One man exchanges his skills for house-fixing with a plumber...

Fraggle Rocker
07-12-11, 02:17 PM
All we need to do is work for the common good.In the future, please read the entire thread before you post on it. I covered that point eight years ago.

Our species is programmed to only care for and depend on members of our extended family (or "pack") whom we've known intimately since birth. We have no instinct to feel responsible for anyone outside that group, and in fact we have just the opposite instinct: to regard them as competitors for scarce resources and fight with them. We developed agriculture twelve thousand years ago so we now have a food surplus, but it's been a struggle to overcome our pack-social instinct. Twelve thousand years is not long enough for new instincts to evolve by random mutation and natural selection.

Today we can live in communities of ten or twenty thousand and feel kinship with them, but it's very difficult to "work for the common good" of people on the other side of the planet who are nothing more to us than abstractions.

This is why socialism works in countries like Bulgaria and Sweden, with a tiny homogeneous population who regard each other as brothers. And this is why it doesn't work in countries like the USA or the USSR, with a gigantic heterogeneous population who regard each other with suspicion and disdain.
I can imagine a money-free world:communism. One man exchanges his skills for house-fixing with a plumber...I've responded to this hypothesis several times on this forum. The barter system worked in Stone Age villages. Everybody knew everybody and everybody was busy producing the necessities of life.

But as soon as our villages grew into cities and the Stone Age gave way to the Bronze Age, barter no longer worked. People had to trade with people they didn't know and couldn't trust. Even worse, because a Bronze Age economy produces many more types of goods and services, they weren't trading directly with each other and they weren't trading goods and services at the same time.I need a new wagon. The wainwright needs a new roof on his house, but not until winter. The roofer needs new boots for his whole family. The bootmaker needs a supply of hides, which won't be available until fall. The trapper would like a year's supply of wine for his mountain cabin, which can't be made until spring. The winemaker wants my band to play at his daughter's birthday party, which will be next summer. None of us know each other personally.Multiply this by the number of wagons, roofs, boots, hides, casks of wine and birthday parties that the population of a city needs, and bear in mind that a city has dozens of wainwrights, roofers, bootmakers, trappers, winemakers and musicians. How can anybody, no matter how honest they try to be, be sure that all of these exchanges are done fairly?

Then remember that a prosperous economy requires the maintenance of an inventory. In reality the bootmaker isn't going to order the hides for those boots, he bought them last year and they're in his storeroom. The wainwright has a couple of brand new wagons sitting in his lot; all he has to do is paint them and choose the right kind of wheels for the customer's usage. Some of these products come from other cities, and they're currently in the back of a wagon being pulled by a mule, and it might take them a few weeks to arrive in our city. You have an inventory of goods in storage or transit, so when someone needs them they'll be available.

You end up having to keep very detailed records of all these transactions. Eventually somebody figures out that one particular kind of commodity, say a barrel of olive oil, makes a handy surrogate for the value of all goods and services. So I give the wainwright a few barrels of olive oil for the wagon, he hangs onto them and gives them to the roofer next winter, etc., etc. Eventually people get really tired of schlepping barrels, and besides they'd rather use that olive oil instead of leaving it in the barrels while goes rancid.

So the city fathers, who keep a huge barn full of olive oil, make little clay chips with pictures of barrels of olive oil on them. When you do a service for them they give you chips for the number of barrels your work was worth. You know they've got the oil and you can trade the chips for oil anytime you want, but it's easier to just carry the chips around. I give a couple to the wainwright, he gives some to the roofer, etc., and next summer the winemaker gives me some for playing at his party. They're probably not the same chips, but I can still go back to city hall and turn them in to collect my olive oil.

Soon we come up with shorthand ways of representing barrels of olive oil. In many cultures it was a hash mark system: 1111 equals four, and then you slash the whole batch to make five. Eventually they want to put more information on the chips so they come up with other symbols for oil, sheep, sheaves of wheat, etc. Those symbols become stylized pretty fast. You end up with little clay chips that are money.

Clay isn't very sturdy so they start making them out of metal. Eventually paper is invented and they just print them on paper. Somebody gets the bright idea that by expanding the set of symbols you can use them for recording more than business transactions. Maybe your laws or your religious texts. Even the news and birthday greetings. In fact, in most human societies, the writing system evolved from bookkeeping records!

So we come back to what I have said before: Money is nothing more or less than a record of surplus wealth or "capital." It represents a warehouse full of olive oil, or a lot full of wagons, or a shack full of hides, or a field of grapevines that will become wine in a few months, or a repertoire of songs and the talent to play them.

In a city, much less an entire interconnected planet, business is much too complicated to transact by barter. You need to keep records, and we call those records money.

kx000
07-14-11, 02:20 PM
Yes, its called do for others more than you do for yourself. If people realized we need to work to maintain society, and people worked for good instead of money, the world would be a better place. Of course, thats a simple part of a big idea, but currency is not nescisary.

Believe
07-14-11, 06:27 PM
Taking a moral stance on this topic is rather silly. Money is a piece of technology like any other. It allows goods and services to hold a standard price and makes it a great deal easier to trade.

Tell me, without money how many chickens would you have paid for the computer you're using now? What if manufacturer of the computer doesn't take chickens and that's all you have? Now you have to trade your chickens for bread, the bread for cloth, the cloth for rubber, the rubber for steel, the steel for a car, and finally the car for the computer. Then the computer breaks down and you have to do this crap for every single purchase you make.

Money is not source of greed, greedy people are the source of greed.

billvon
07-14-11, 07:04 PM
Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering? Is it possible that society could survive without money?

Are you asking "can you survive without the medium of exchange called money?" - yes

"Can you maintain an economy without the medium of exchange called money?" - yes

"Can you maintain an economy without any form of exchange?" - no

Me-Ki-Gal
07-14-11, 07:15 PM
Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering? Is it possible that society could survive without money? Would people work on for the satisfaction of their job and not expect anything in return. How would a money free society work? Would all problems be solved without money?

These questions have been going round and round in my head for years. I know there is no answer, but I want to debate it. People rely on money so much that it is never, ever, questioned. No one i know could imagine a money free world. Is it possible?
I imagine it so there is 2 of us. I know there are more too cause I met them . This is the evolution of Humanity and when there is enough of us on board humans will give it ago . I know there is lots of work to do and brilliant minds will contemplate methodology , but it is achievable and in time it will come about , that is if we survive long enough to realizes our future existence depends on it . O.K. I am going to go back and read some of you brilliant peoples posts and I hope I don't find just a bunch of naysayers

Me-Ki-Gal
07-14-11, 07:21 PM
Are you asking "can you survive without the medium of exchange called money?" - yes

"Can you maintain an economy without the medium of exchange called money?" - yes

"Can you maintain an economy without any form of exchange?" - no

How boat thinking of it as a reward system . Lots of talk about Meritocracies these days . Based on merit . Some way to exalt the deserved. Right now it is to easy to game the system . So we know there is big problems in that .
The op hit om something . Would we want to do our jobs . How boat people that don't want to work ? Have you ever considered people would not have to work . Work would would be a privilege for excelling . Excelled could be raised to hero status . The reward is you get to work

Me-Ki-Gal
07-14-11, 07:24 PM
Yes, its called do for others more than you do for yourself. If people realized we need to work to maintain society, and people worked for good instead of money, the world would be a better place. Of course, thats a simple part of a big idea, but currency is not nescisary.

O.K. 3 of us . We are cooking with gas now , What did Pythagoras say. Ten People linked in thought ?

Me-Ki-Gal
07-14-11, 07:26 PM
We must be mutations , Got to go to band , You all have fun

Michael
07-14-11, 07:28 PM
I thought it was interesting when Ben Bernanke was asked by Ron Paul yesterday: Do you think Gold is money? Ben said no. It's a commodity only. Then why do Banks store so much gold? Because it's a hedge against blah blah blah. Oh, then why don't they store diamonds? *pauses* ....because of ....tradition?

Gold shot up again.
Silver moved $4 this week.

I thought So? Bankers are THAT superstitions or THAT nostalgic? Never knew a banker to be nostalgic!

Of course I'm not saying we should move to a gold standard. Only that Ben sounded like he was lying through his teeth. That's the thing about Ben. He's not very good at lying. Which makes him not very good at doing his job. I'm sure that douch bag Greenspan would have had a better come back.

I'm glad I bought silver last year because I have no faith in the Federal Reserve to do the right thing. There was a poll on the news yesterday whereby 1 in 4 welfare recipients didn't think they were receiving any help from the government and did not recognize welfare as help. They didn't connect the welfare they receive with the taxes/labor of other people.

That is probably going to change soon. Regardless of what anyone does.

Fraggle Rocker
07-15-11, 10:50 AM
Yes, its called do for others more than you do for yourself. If people realized we need to work to maintain society, and people worked for good instead of money, the world would be a better place. Of course, thats a simple part of a big idea, but currency is not nescisary.Currency, specifically, may not be necessary, but something is necessary to allow us to maintain records of complicated transactions. As I pointed out earlier, barter is simply not feasible in a post-industrial economy run by billions of people who never meet each other, producing goods and services that may not be needed for six months or longer. Recordkeeping is imperative, to ensure that we don't produce so much wine that it turns to vinegar before anyone drinks it, but so few boots that our children get frostbite in the winter. Money is that record, and has been since the Bronze Age made life too complicated to be managed by a barter system. It doesn't matter if the money is a warehouse full of some extremely durable commodity, metal coins, gold bricks, a pile of diamonds, paper rectangles, or bits and bytes in a computer. A post-Bronze Age economy absolutely must have money of some sort or it simply cannot function well enough to sustain itself.
I thought it was interesting when Ben Bernanke was asked by Ron Paul yesterday: Do you think Gold is money? Ben said no. It's a commodity only. Then why do Banks store so much gold? Because it's a hedge against blah blah blah.The problem is that for thousands of years gold was money. It was rare enough to prevent counterfeiting, plentiful enough to distribute as necessary, and it already had a cachet of intrinsic value because of its use as jewelry.
Oh, then why don't they store diamonds? *pauses* ....because of ....tradition?That's not unreasonable. Whatever a society uses for money has to be regarded as money by everyone. Everyone regards gold as money. No one regards diamonds as money.

People who don't understand this need to go review their university class notes on the relationship between economics and psychology. If they didn't take that class and don't have those notes, this discussion probably won't make much sense and it will be difficult for them to contribute to it.
There was a poll on the news yesterday whereby 1 in 4 welfare recipients didn't think they were receiving any help from the government and did not recognize welfare as help. They didn't connect the welfare they receive with the taxes/labor of other people.Why should we expect the poor to be any brighter than the fortunate? One of the primary reasons poor people are poor, in a country like the USA, is that they didn't take school seriously and didn't learn anything.

billvon
07-15-11, 12:33 PM
Yes, its called do for others more than you do for yourself. If people realized we need to work to maintain society, and people worked for good instead of money, the world would be a better place.

That's a nice idea. The problem is that if everyone wanted to be a painter, and occasionally even produced magnificent works of art, everyone would be very happy - until the food ran out.

One of the purposes of a medium of exchange is to compensate the people who are working for the good of society (soldiers, farmers, sewage treatment plant operators) for their efforts, even if they work at a job they would not otherwise choose.

Anti-Flag
07-15-11, 05:35 PM
Theoretically possible if a communist self functioning/sustaining state took full control of providing for its workers so that transactions became unnecessary. There of course would be little luxuries(or at least, all would have them) or anything to seperate people in the way of status, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I think a form of credits and socialism makes more sense, and allows people to personalize a bit and pursue our interests allowing us to retain individualism, whilst still having reasonable necessities provided for us.

cosmictraveler
07-15-11, 05:49 PM
Theoretically possible if a communist self functioning/sustaining state took full control of providing for its workers so that transactions became unnecessary. There of course would be little luxuries(or at least, all would have them) or anything to seperate people in the way of status, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I think a form of credits and socialism makes more sense, and allows people to personalize a bit and pursue our interests allowing us to retain individualism, whilst still having reasonable necessities provided for us.

While the rich bask in even more luxury and the common man has no way to rise to a higher status because there's only two classes and your pre destined to stay in one or the other...rich or worker.

kx000
07-18-11, 12:02 AM
Why can't we just make all the food, all the clothes, all the good, etc to feed the world without trade, but instead distribution?

Enmos
07-18-11, 01:46 AM
Why can't we just make all the food, all the clothes, all the good, etc to feed the world without trade, but instead distribution?

What? Communism? :eek:

Fraggle Rocker
07-18-11, 12:34 PM
Why can't we just make all the food, all the clothes, all the good, etc to feed the world without trade, but instead distribution?You younger people may live to see the day when you can actually do that with food. Production systems that are almost completely automated, producing more than enough to feed everybody. Distribution systems that are programmed but not completely automated because transportation is a little too complicated for the foreseeable level of transportation technology to handle safely--too much stuff, including people, in the way, to let machines drive around by themselves. We'd probably need a dedicated network of delivery tubes, and that's a whole new physical infrastructure that will need to be built the old-fashioned way, with explosives and poured concrete and humongous wheeled and tracked machines driven by strong people with hard hats.

And I suppose minimally functional clothing could eventually be created and delivered the same way.

But who in this brave new world is going to want to subsist on C-rations and dress in school uniforms? People want variety, they don't all want the same thing, and they really really really don't want to all look alike. Someone has to take their orders for food and fashionable clothing, and someone has to program the automated machinery to produce that stuff. This requires planning the crops you cultivate so that the right ingredients are available in the right amount at the right time, and mining the right minerals.

But once we get off of the Third Step in Maslowe's Hierarchy, which most of us in the western world stepped up from a long time ago, how do you plan to produce and distribute the rest of the goods and services that comprise a modern economy? How do I get my bass guitar so my band can perform? How does a bar get built so we have a place to play? Who makes the beer and how do bottles of it get into the hands of the people who came to hear us?

The end result of the industrial revolution was that the world's economy tipped over from scarcity-driven to surplus-driven. In the USA that happened around 1895. Human and animal labor could just about produce enough food and other products for survival and security. But augmented by industrial technology we now also produce entertainment, leisure and luxury.

And now, augmented by electronic technology we're finally coming closer to spreading the necessities and luxuries a little more equitably among the world's population so there aren't some countries where everybody has air conditioning and others where most people don't have clean water. And of course those inequities are not all the fault of imprecise economics, some people ended up with despotic leaders who simply don't want them to have nice things or even necessary things. Electronic technology allows them to become better informed and organized and they're starting to overthrow the despots. Sometimes they just get a new despot and they have to repeat the process until they get it right, but hey progress is never easy.

In fact if you look more carefully at the poor countries you may very well discover that their poverty is not due to the failure of the traditional economic system. It's due to lack of education and communication, resulting in people having power without the consent of those they govern.

There's no technological or economic reason why the people in Latin America, Africa or southeast Asia could not, right now, have a standard of living considerably higher than what we call the "poverty level" in the USA, $22K per year for a family of four. The resources are already in existence, we could build that kind of system for them in three or four years. It would not require throwing out capitalism and all of its flaws.

What it requires is getting internet service into every home so these people can organize and act in concert. Fortunately, that's starting to happen.

kowalskil
07-28-11, 12:14 PM
... Is it possible that society could survive without money? ... .



Not at the same level of productivity as we have now.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

Anti-Flag
07-28-11, 01:58 PM
While the rich bask in even more luxury and the common man has no way to rise to a higher status because there's only two classes and your pre destined to stay in one or the other...rich or worker.

I said state controlled and keeping everyone equal, how does that mean rich and poor? :shrug:

Anti-Flag
07-28-11, 02:01 PM
Why can't we just make all the food, all the clothes, all the good, etc to feed the world without trade, but instead distribution?

Because apparently communism is a dirty word. It's far better to keep the poor that way forever whilst we can lord it over them. :shrug:

Fraggle Rocker
07-29-11, 12:25 PM
Because apparently communism is a dirty word.No, it's because communism doesn't work. It only works in small countries with homogeneous populations, where everyone truly regards everyone else as a brother so they're willing to work together as a family without keeping track of whether everyone is carrying his weight. In larger communist countries and those with heterogeneous populations (I visited several of them in 1973 and saw this phenomenon first-hand), no one feels kinship with more than his own community, and feels that the members of the other communities are goldbricking and letting everyone else do the work while they relax. And of course the reason they believe this is that they themselves do it! The motto of the working class in Czechoslovakia, for example, was "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."

We are a pack-social species, programmed by our instincts to depend on and care for only the members of our extended family, whom we have known intimately since birth. It's a triumph of our uniquely enormous forebrains that we have been able to override that instinct and expand our notion of "extended family" to include dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other people. But most of us can't extend that to millions, much less billions of other people especially when those other people are genuinely not very similar to us in appearance, culture or attitude.

Some of us can. And the internet helps, because those people now all have faces, names, families, hopes and dreams, and turn out to be not quite as different from us as we thought they were when they were merely anonymous abstractions in the newspaper. But it will be quite a few more generations before the majority of human beings trust people a thousand miles away, much less on the other side of the planet, to work productively without the incentive of wages.

Sometimes we simply have work with our own biology instead of ignoring it.

Communism failed, precisely because they thought they could accelerate the evolution of their people's instincts, and they were wrong.

Anti-Flag
07-29-11, 07:45 PM
No, it's because communism doesn't work. It only works in small countries with homogeneous populations, where everyone truly regards everyone else as a brother so they're willing to work together as a family without keeping track of whether everyone is carrying his weight. In larger communist countries and those with heterogeneous populations (I visited several of them in 1973 and saw this phenomenon first-hand), no one feels kinship with more than his own community, and feels that the members of the other communities are goldbricking and letting everyone else do the work while they relax. And of course the reason they believe this is that they themselves do it! The motto of the working class in Czechoslovakia, for example, was "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."

We are a pack-social species, programmed by our instincts to depend on and care for only the members of our extended family, whom we have known intimately since birth. It's a triumph of our uniquely enormous forebrains that we have been able to override that instinct and expand our notion of "extended family" to include dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other people. But most of us can't extend that to millions, much less billions of other people especially when those other people are genuinely not very similar to us in appearance, culture or attitude.

Some of us can. And the internet helps, because those people now all have faces, names, families, hopes and dreams, and turn out to be not quite as different from us as we thought they were when they were merely anonymous abstractions in the newspaper. But it will be quite a few more generations before the majority of human beings trust people a thousand miles away, much less on the other side of the planet, to work productively without the incentive of wages.

Sometimes we simply have work with our own biology instead of ignoring it.

Communism failed, precisely because they thought they could accelerate the evolution of their people's instincts, and they were wrong.
The difference being that the concepts of the system itself are not actually flawed, only the people who fail to use it correctly. The systems in place in those countries were greatly corrupt, and most examples of communism in practice have fallen short for many reasons, often because they were actually more of a hybrid system which kept some people better off than others and not a true communist system.
Capitalism on the other hand prevents all people from being provided for, as there would be no profit in it. Essentially those with the money have the power, and will refuse a change of system as it does not benefit them, and those on the higher end of the scale will likely support them. The negatives of being in this system only help breed the contempt people feel for others and the cynicism that a more even system would fail. We could do more to encourage such a system, and to help people feel more of a global community. We are all human, occupying the same territory. Of course it is easier to trust those we come into contact with who can demonstrate honesty, but there are also people we meet in our closer communities who are not honest too.

ElectricFetus
07-29-11, 08:15 PM
I believe a society could be constructed without money, perhaps a computerizes system which determines how much resources you can utilize per day based on how much you contribute. It would still be like money as the computer would assign you a value, and subtract from it when you get things and add to it when you don't get things. It could be more affective and fairer then money depending on how much computing power is place on constantly tabulating your value and your inputs & outputs.

charles brough
08-24-11, 08:04 AM
Is there another option than Money other than a system of bartering? Is it possible that society could survive without money? Would people work on for the satisfaction of their job and not expect anything in return. How would a money free society work? Would all problems be solved without money?

These questions have been going round and round in my head for years. I know there is no answer, but I want to debate it. People rely on money so much that it is never, ever, questioned. No one i know could imagine a money free world. Is it possible?

Barter is a bad idea! Barter worked fine for the agricultural communes of pre-history, but society could no longer operate in small communes indefinitely. About 5,000 years ago human mainstream society organized and began developing what we now know as the capitalistic system (i.e., the so called "free market" or "free enterprise" system) because barter ceased to work.

We returned to it at times, however. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the
people began to set up collectives out of desperation. As they becoming, in turn, communes, the now debased and worthless Roman coinage forced them to turn back to a barter economy. Since this is what the Christianized Goths were anyway familiar with, it was an easy move. Barter continued in the West through most of the Feudal age.

Similarly, as the Chinese civilization issued round after round of inflation-causing paper money, it collapsed after the end of the 15th century, and there was then also some return to barter.

If we in turn do finally return to it in the next half century, it woulld be because of a wholesale disaster to our civilization. It would signal a return back to subsistence living.

brough
http://civilization-overview.com
I hate nit-picking responses!