Monday, August 2, 2010

The End Of Money

When I was younger, and much more idealistic than I am now, I used to imagine how wonderfully Utopian our world might be if we could only do away with money. Imagine a world in which nobody has to pay for anything. Everyone contributes according to their talents, and takes only what they need. Crime and poverty are non-existent. People are more fulfilled and happy in their work, because they do what they enjoy and what they excel at, rather than what pays the most. Gone is the society in which a privileged few enjoy obscenely ostentatious lifestyles while the unfortunate live in unspeakable poverty. Everyone enjoys a lifestyle that's comfortable, but not extravagant.

Before I go all John Lennon on you, let me assure you that I fully understand why such a system could never be. One problem is greed. There will always be those who crave the lion's share; those who, for some reason, feel entitled to more than the rest. The other problem is laziness. There will also always be those who want to enjoy the fruits of others' labor without contributing themselves. In order for my Utopian society to work, everyone would have to make a genuine effort to contribute to the best of their abilities and learn to be content with a common standard of living.

On the other hand, it seems to me that we may be evolving to a version of my money-less society. I rarely use cash anymore. Almost all of my payments are either by debit card or through on-line banking. I likewise almost never receive cash either. My employer pays me by automatically depositing my salary into my bank account. There's not even a cheque to deposit. I can see society moving to a point at which all transactions are electronic and no actual money ever changes hands at all.

This ties in with my recent post about money having no intrinsic value in and of itself. First, we did away with the gold backing the cash. Now we're eliminating the cash itself. In a sense, you might consider an electronic commerce system as dealing in "points" rather than cash. Each of us receives 'X' number of "points" for whatever contribution we make to society, and we use those "points" to acquire the things that we need and want. The "point" system gets us around the problems of avarice and sloth. It's not exactly the Utopian society that I imagined in my younger days, but perhaps is as close as we're ever going to get.

1 comment:

Tubes said...

We can't put points under our mattress, in a jar or find any on the street. But rue the day that we would have to prove that we ever had the points!