My premise in these articles is that this century will see the end of money as the dominant driver in world society. “Really?” I hear you ask. “That’s quite a limb you’re going out on”. Well, it isn’t, because I really have no reputation to risk or anything else to really lose in writing about this. But in some sense I guess I do stake what I have on this, because I’m prepared to live as if this premise were true.
This article’s main purpose, though, is preliminary, and exists in the interests of disclosure. Before you read further you need to know of any biases I might have, and of my expertise in this area.
As far as expertise, it’s very clear that I have none. Rock on. Well, that’s not quite true. I don’t have any financial expertise (except a talent for acquiring banal middle class amounts of debt). What I do have is a pair of eyes and a pair of ears and some semi-reliable grey matter acting as more than just spacer material for my skull. And I try to pay attention to what’s happening around me, as much as I can access, which in the age of the internet turns out to be quite a lot, and increasing every day.
(Holy crap, the internet. It should blow your mind every day. But back to our regular programming)
As to biases, there’s one biggy.
I hate money.
I loathe it, I abhor it, if it were up to me I’d wave my magic wand today and *poof*, it’d all be gone.
We want to do good things and be nice to people, but because we need money, we have to do the non-trivial things for coin, and that makes every otherwise generous act into one of selfishness.
Every effort at creativity or greatness, at some point, seems to render back to “how can we profit from this?”, and the deeps are made shallow.
Through the glass of money, all things look scarce, all gestures and actions are quantified, everything unowned looks like it should be owned and fenced off.
The most glorious gift, existence, the time lived as man in the world, transforms into dollars per hour.
It becomes our scorecard, our ranking system, the arbiter of hierarchy and status and determines whether we feel successful in our lives.
We find that we are doing in order to acrue money, rather than acruing money in order to do.
When we do that for long enough, the body of our work becomes insubstantial. That which we should love is whittled into the merely inoffensive, and eventually to the irritating and aggravating. This is because what should be the great stuff of life, our achievements and creations and endless glorious tilting at windmills, is become subservient, a sub goal, subordinated to the making of money.
And when we do have money, we don’t know what to do with it. It has become the supergoal, so asking what it is for is to ask an unanswerable question.
Meanwhile, because accumulation of capital is not truly a supergoal at all, we feel dissatisfied, disturbed, disconnected. It is a vacuum of the soul. Marketing abhors a vacuum, so fills it with created needs. We consume, which is to say we waste. This is the modern oppression.
But who is the oppressor? Look around you, choose anyone you see, and there is your oppressor. Then, also in the mirror, and there too is your oppressor. We try to predict how others will think and feel and behave, and others do the same with us, and in this effort to predict the other we all sustain collective delusions such as taboos, systems of belief, and, of course, money.
Why do you need to make a thing or do a thing for money? Because you predict that others will expect money from you before they will make a thing or do a thing for you. Why do they need money? Because they predict the same behaviour from you.
It is possible that we can break free from this delusion. If we were all to ignore money, it would go away. Do a thing or make a thing for someone for nothing. Today. And think about it.
I hate money. It’s time to do something about that.