Cash Bashing or Money, Money, Money Part 2

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, a woman in the 21st century, Lily, asks Captain Picard, who normally lives in the 24th century, how much the U.S.S. Enterprise cost to build.  Picard tells her that in the future the acquisition of wealth is no longer of concern and people work toward the betterment of humans and civilization.  The first time I saw this scene and heard their exchange, I wondered just how that happened.  How did humans manage to make such a radical shift in thinking and behavior?  And in only three hundred years.  What was the incentive?  (Of course, Picard neglected to mention the Ferengi to Lily.)

Imagine being able to go to a doctor and not having to pay.  The doctor would not need for you to pay, either, because he/she would have no costs or expenses.  Medical insurance would no longer exist.  The focus would be on treatment and healing, or wellness, without time or economic constraints.  And for anyone.  Treatments would not be denied.  People could have the treatments and medicines they needed.

Imagine creating a product not to sell for money and profit but because people needed it and it would be available to everyone.  The challenge for people would be a creative one, to create something that would benefit them as well as everyone else.  And to produce something for free because it was available for free. 

Imagine never to need to shop in a store for anything.  People could simply order what they needed online or through a technology invented for this purpose.  I think it’d be cool to have replicators, like in the “Star Trek” universe.

I know that I’m beginning to sound a bit utopian, and I’m not thinking at all of a utopia.  But I also know that the world I imagine without money would require a giant leap in the development of humankind, a fundamental shift in beliefs, attitudes and thinking.  This cannot happen in three hundred years.  It has taken millenia for money to become entangled and intertwined in every aspect of human life, and it would take at least a millenium to extricate it, if not longer.

Perhaps one of the first changes might need to involve the “individual or community” idea, i.e. to no longer approach it as two aspects of life that need balancing, but as “individual and community.”  Perhaps it is not an either-or concept at all.  Ah, but then I think of human nature and biology, and how self-interest is a primary motivating factor in life.  Wouldn’t there always be people who cared only about themselves anyway?  Those people tend to prefer to undermine community, not empower it, and the community then needs to restrain them. 

In the near future world of the Perceval novels, people have taken the first baby steps toward a world without money.  They are trying to determine what needs to be done and how to do it.  Evan likes the idea but tends to be a pessimist about it.  He’s an American who’s been brought up to believe completely in capitalism and money, despite the resentment he harbors toward both.  His family was poor.  He was poor in America and that colors his perceptions.  He believes that money is power even though he disagrees with that belief deep inside.

The idea of a world without money has captured my imagination, and I will continue to ponder it, perhaps occasionally writing my ideas into Evan’s world to see how they fit….


9 responses to “Cash Bashing or Money, Money, Money Part 2

  1. I think there are consistent movements towards something like that, right now.

    Maybe it’s a sub-movement that’s always existed underneath western society, and it’s more obvious these days.

    But the moves toward opensource software, youtube videos, things like Project Gutenberg… all being used by some to provide a free, useful item to the world.

  2. It is a very profound question – can something that has taken such a long time to construct and is so ingrained in our existance ever be deconstructed? History tells us that the only constant in human existance is change, so I believe that anything can be created or destroyed if man chooses to do it. The next question – one that I can’t answer – is what set of circumstances would have to come about to motivate such a massive change to take place? I think the only people so far who have come up with anything plausible at all have been science fiction writers. I think that you are doing a great job of digging in to the concept and making sure that whatever you do come up with is at the very least plausible. That’s the mark of a truly professional writer. I hope you are able to create a great story out of it.

  3. Naomi, thanks for bringing up the movement for free information, etc. on the internet. I guess the internet community would be a good place to start. In the novel, the Value Commission has a website where people can respond or offer ideas, comments, etc.

    Chad, it is a profound question and motivation is really the clincher. I’ve been struggling with it for the last couple of years. What would the incentive be? I’m thinking that re-defining value might be a way to start, but it may take some kind of cataclysmic event to prompt people to change their thinking. Much food for thought here…..

  4. How’s this for a thought-line start…

    What are the first motivators toward greed, in a person’s life? Are they maybe a) loss and b) fear of not having what you perceive as necessary to happiness? If a person never sees anything material but what’s available to him… will he develop greediness?

  5. Oh, interesting, Naomi. I’m thinking that greed emerges from self-interest, and it probably begins very early in childhood with kids wanting what other kids have. Then parents teach them about money and wanting things or wanting what other kids have translates to wanting money or wanting more money than others have. I tend to think of greed as being a behavior manifestation of low self esteem, perceiving that money will give a person power and the approval and/or love he/she craves. But it’s a bottomless pit. And I wonder where people learn that material things or money lead to happiness? Is it in the family? Or is it purely a societal lesson? Or perhaps it is a subtle message in advertising?

  6. This is something I’ve been looking into for the last few years . I don’t think that it will millenia or even more than a decade or two for the change to occur if it’s accompanied by viable and intelligent plans for the convergence of the society in which we currently live. The real problem is globalization. Because everything is made in part by the world nowadays this would have to be a global initiative it would be very hard for one nation or a group of nations to make this change because so much of what we utilize come from somwhere else. I have several ideas and I’m currently looking for some feedback on these ideas in order for them to grow. Send me an email so we might be able to discuss them.

    • Hi, Kyle, thanks for your comments. I’m glad to hear you’re thinking about this issue. I thought I was alone! I agree that globalization makes it necessary for the entire world to make the change from a economic world toone without economics and money. It will also require everyone, every last person, to change the way he or she thinks. I’ve considered that if children are taught differently then perhaps that could be a beginning. But when I bring up the notion of abolishing money in conversations with friends and colleagues, the reaction I get is that it “cannot” happen. It is in every aspect of our lives. People will need to change the way the think about more than just money, but also value, incentives, giving, success, power, wealth and worth. All that will take time, probably not decades but centuries…..

      Are you familiar with the Zeitgeist movement?

  7. To Naomi and the idea of greed: it’s not greed of the masse that has entrenched the world for the accumulation of money rather the greed of those who has accumulated vast sums of currency. But from the research I’ve done the creation of money was for the ease of trade amongst different purveyors of goods i.e food, clothing,housing etc. that were sepearred by Varying degrees of distances. For example I make clothing you grow crops someone else makes housing without money there would be no way to ensure that an equal trade would occur when we would meet for an exchange if Any rxchane would occur at all. Money solved this by creating a medium that could always be acceptable for exchange by anyone. But now that there are so many vendors and so many outlets is thee really a need for this medium there should always be the availability for the oppurtunity for am even exchange between people.

    • One of the concerns I have re: abolishing money is the mindset humans have. Money has become entrenched in our psychology and emotional beings to a huge extent. In order to make any changes, then, it’s necessary to change the way humans think. Why is it necessary to have a medium for exchange? To insure an equal trade. Why is it necessary for a trade to be “equal” and who decides what “equal” is on a large scale? Another issue is providing incentives. Right now money gives many people the incentive to work. How does one change that mindset? In the past, insuring an equal trade and establishing a medium for exchange may have been necessary. So how do we move beyond that now?

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