Is currency evil?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by DestroyCurrency?, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    Should we transition from a society run based on the laws of the market and the price mechanism to a resource based on the laws of sustainablilty and free distribution? What does anybody think about that? How would you run such a society? And just to clarify, I'm not talking about a barter system.
     
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  3. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    If by sustainable you mean this the way environmentalists do, then yes, I agree--except I have no idea how to implement this. Energy, raw materials, labor, capacity and demand are some of the main elements to consider. With respect to energy our sustainable system has to bear the cost of avoiding the cheaper dirty energy sources. With raw materials the cost of recycling comes into play. To encourage recycling, credits could be given to offset the tax on dirty energy.

    What are your thoughts on free distribution? What's free and to whom?
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This is neither physics nor maths.
     
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  7. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    Food, housing, healthcare, and clothing would be freely distributed by the governing authority in the region (whatever type of government that is). Everything else would be available to buy with a system of credits. The credits would be issued by the previously mentioned government based on how much each person contributes by working. People could do all different kinds of work and wouldn't be limited to one "job" where they are doing the same repetitive boring task (the way it is now).

    Obviously, like any plan, they'll be holes in it and lots of problems, but it would be better than what we have now. And you could even allow limited free enterprise, provided the "employers" issued government credits to their employees on an approved scale.
     
  8. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    Sorry I had to post it somewhere

    Just realized you have a sociology section. Probably should have posted there. But I posted it here cause this gets more views
     
  9. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    == Moved to relevant forum ==

    (incidentally it doesn't matter which forum a subject is posted in. If a person uses the "New Posts" link on the forum navigation bar, they'll end up with all the new posts from every subforum.)

    As for the topic. Numerous people have often suggested changes to the system, however still to this date there is no prototype government adopting a system that works better than the ones we have, even though people still declare there has to be a better way. Why do you think that is?
     
  10. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    I think that nobody wants to try a new system for a few reasons. One, I don't think that most people have the intelligence to comprehend such a system or how it would work. When I tell people about my ideas in person, the first thing they always say is "So now I'll have to trade a chicken for a goat" or something like that, without realizing what I'm actually presenting. The second, and more obvious reason, is that our current system encourages waste, and there is much profit to be made off inequality. So people that "matter" in society, that is, the upper class, would now basically be equal to everybody else. I think they fear that.
     
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    22,142
    There is nothing evil about money. Money is just an inanimate object. Money is something we create to fulfill a purpose, to allocate scarce resources. Greed is not a function of money; it is a reflection of us, it is part of who we are, it is a human attribute. Greed is both good and bad. As with anything, degree is everything. Even the best medicine can be poison.

    What exactly are the laws of free distribution and sustainability? You cannot tell me because they are not so easy to define in any meaningful way. And that is why they are not practical. The laws of sustainability and free distribution whatever they maybe will not change human nature.

    When scarcity can be solved or we can reengineer the human genome, then will we have a chance to reengineer how we allocate resources. But until then, it is all a pipe dream. Until then the best we can do is to have a well informed electorate and a political system that is relatively free of corruption.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,540
    To be specific, money is a record of surplus wealth. In the Stone Age virtually all human labor had to be allocated to producing food and other necessities. There was virtually no surplus wealth, and it was manifested as extra available labor. What little there was was allocated to the community as a whole: building monuments, improving the fence around the livestock, sending out explorers to find new medicinal herbs instead of meat, etc.

    As society became more efficient, there was more surplus wealth, but still tribes were so small that there was no need to record it. Everybody knew who was overproducing and who needed help.

    It was only in the Bronze Age, with its large cities populated by anonymous strangers who produced a significant surplus with their metal tools and other new technologies (such as the wheel and large, strong draft animals), that it became necessary to record who owed what to whom. If Billy made new wheels for Sam's wagon in summer and Sam brewed a vat of wine for Sherry in autumn and Sherry knitted a winter outfit for Mary's new baby in spring and Mary played her lute at John's summer festival and then John put new windows in Billy's house, how would anybody know if these were all fair trades?

    They had to find a way to record all this, using some common commodity as a standard, often jugs of olive oil. They made scratches on clay tablets, and eventually these scratches became more sophisticated until one day they had a written language. Yes folks, writing was invented by businessmen, not priests or scholars.

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    We do the same thing today. I worked 40 hours last week, and my boss doesn't have anything that I need, so he just gave me a record of the fact that he owes me for forty hours of technical writing. It's called a paycheck. It's got his name, my name, the name of the bank that holds onto his surplus wealth (we call it "money" today), and the amount of his wealth that bank will give me if I go in and ask for it.

    This is the way commerce works in a surplus-driven economy, and the U.S. economy toggled from scarcity-driven to surplus driven around 1895. Since then most people have money saved and can afford to buy things that are not absolutely necessary.

    All of the models of a money-less society are based on the unstated assumption that we're back in the Pre-Industrial Era with a scarcity-driven economy.

    Fortunately, we're not. So forget about that model. It just won't work when so much of our surplus wealth is being held in reserve for future purchases of non-essential things like vacations, motorcycles, concert tickets and fast food.

    And as a final salvo, ponder the fact that the only more-or-less modern civilization that attempted to implement an economy like the one suggested was the USSR and its network of satellites. And by golly, they all ended up as scarcity-driven economies!

    Nobody is going to fall for that again!
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    No, just the opposite. I see money as a very good thing.

    The thing is, everyone has needs and desires. Few of us are able to satisfy all of them by our own labor alone. We need the assistance of others. The question then is - why should other people help us to satisfy our desires, when those people have unmet desires of their own?

    The way that we get other people to labor in our behalf is by handing them money that they can use in turn to get what they want for themselves. And how do we get our own money? By being of service to others.

    Far from being the root of all evil, money is one of the strongest forces of social cohesion there is, motivating complete strangers to coooperate with one another by laboring to meet each other's needs. That's illustrated every time we go to work and go to the store.

    It isn't an accident that money economies evolved as family and clan based 'tribal' societies grew into larger and more anonymous urbanized states.
     
  14. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Idle Hands are the Devil's Playground.
    Devil's Playground is Evil.
    Idle Hands are Evil.
    Idle Hands Have Time to Spare.
    Time is Evil.
    Time is Money.

    Money is Evil. Q.E.D.
     
  15. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    What class are you in ?
     
  16. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    Lower middle class maybe? I think I'm still too young to say for sure
     
  17. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Currency is ethically neutral, neither good nor bad. Money is analogous to oil & grease in a car or other machinery. It is not a motive force: It allows higher efficiency & a longer useful life for machinery by reducing friction. Gasoline, diesel, electricity are motive forces.

    In some sense our economic systems are basically barter systems with money making the bartering easier to manage. Imagine a farmer trying to directly trade crops for tools, clothes, whatever. Instead he sells his crop & uses the money to purchase whatever he needs/wants.
     
  18. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    So you're OK with lower middle class ?
     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    What does that mean? Does "free distribution" means everyone just takes what they need? That would result in a huge amount of waste, since people are notoriously good at deciding they need a lot.

    Does "sustainability" mean enforcing sustainable food practices, energy practices and waste practices? Great! That would be a good idea, but "let people take whatever they need" isn't going to get you there. The former USSR tried that and it was an environmental disaster.

    Money is an excellent way of apportioning scarce resources. It can also be used (through tax breaks, subsidies etc) to encourage sustainability.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Who would get the best houses?

    How is that different from money?
     
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The system we have is fine...just improve upon it and drop the "evil" crap

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    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Distribution of food, housing , clothing and healthcare implies that someone is working to produce these items. Who would do it in your system, and what incentive would they have to do so?

    And what about capital investment? Suppose the farm worker says he can be more productive if he gets a better combine harvester. Who does he have to convince and then who provides the new machine and on what basis? Is it just given to him, does he pay with some of his "credits" or is all capital equipment the property of the state?

    The reason I ask is that this kind of thing was more or less tried in Soviet Russia (collective farms etc) and it was an unmitigated disaster.

    If you say they get more "credits" by being more productive, how are these "credits" different from money? After all, the old pound note used to say on it "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of one pound". In other words, it was a credit note from the Bank of England!

    I suggest to you that any credit system introduced to avoid the need to barter will in effect be a currency.
     
  23. DestroyCurrency? Registered Member

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    Under my model for a moneyless experiment, food production would be the shared responsibility of about 50% of the population. That way, half the population could help do farming and processing work for an hour a week or so. This would be overseen by a smaller group of people who were actual farmers under the old system.

    They would probably be the ones who ran the complex machinery, which would be the capital property of the state. The rest of the people who worked on farms would play a role similar to Mexicans, like picking tomatoes and apples. Ever drove by a field and seen like 100 Mexicans working in it?

    The question is, could the state produce enough capital to buy better farming equipment? Unless they were able to manufacture it themselves, they would probably have to buy from a company like Case or John Deere.

    The reason I proposed the credit system, is because, in designing my model, I ran into the problem that some people are more skilled than others. Should a street corner drug dealer, who has no intelligence or skills, be rewarded as much as a doctor? If everything was distributed freely, people could take whatever they wanted, which also is unsustainable. Peter Joseph said that if money didn't exist, and people could get everything they wanted freely, there would be no incentive to take more than you need because their would be no materialism. Is this true? If it is, than a credit system would be pointless.
     
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