The Nature of Money
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26-03-2013, 08:33 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
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On a desert island, cut off from civilization, everyone would be busting their asses just to survive, without worrying about who owes whom what.

Read "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle to see what it is like.

They don't tolerate slackers but they don't measure contribution with a clinical scale, penny by penny.

They expect everyone to do the best they are capable of and they share equally without wasting an ounce of energy on fighting and arguing over money.

Now, in our 'sophisticated' civilization, we waste 90% of our resources doing exactly that.
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26-03-2013, 08:47 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
Money may be one of the greatest constructs for social interaction ever devised.

While I agree with Zat the an enormous amount of time is spent, as opposed to wasted, managing this tool the alternative, bartering was mentioned for one, would take even more. Exponentially more. As in prohibitedly more.

Without a common store of value I don't think any of us would be here on the webz discussing this very subject, we'd be too busy trying to find someone who values our skills (in whatever) and has a banana to exchange for it so we wouldn't starve.

I'm not saying we can't live without a common store of wealth i.e. money, but we'd be back hunting and gathering, having twelve children to help with the crop and we'd still be fighting amongst our little tribe about the division of labor.

I'm OK with the staus quo, I prefer it to the alternative.

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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26-03-2013, 08:56 AM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2013 09:01 AM by Zat.)
RE: The Nature of Money
(26-03-2013 08:47 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I'm OK with the staus quo, I prefer it to the alternative.
the status quo as I described it earlier, in another thread?

1. Wars, all over the planet
2. Danger of nuclear, chemical, biological, space-based weapons (deployment or accident)
3. Environmental degradation
4. Massive levels of species extinction
5. Depletion and pollution of natural resources
6. Massive and unspeakable cruelty to animals on farms, the food industry and in laboratories
7. Mass starvation on the planet
8. Epidemics and Pandemics at ever increasing rate
9. Climate change runaway threat and ongoing negative effects
10. Massive poverty, ostentatious gluttony, increasing desperation and crime
11. Fundamentalist Religion’s resurgence
12. Millions of young brainwashed and turned into neurotic wrecks
13. Whole generations dumbed down
14. Corporate stranglehold on politics and communication
15. Meaningless, farcical ‘democracy’
16. Torture practiced openly all over the world

Why not use some creativity, imagination, vision, to find an arrangement that might work better?

At least as a long-term direction we could strive for?
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26-03-2013, 09:07 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
(26-03-2013 08:56 AM)Zat Wrote:  
(26-03-2013 08:47 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I'm OK with the staus quo, I prefer it to the alternative.
the status quo as I described it earlier, in another thread?

1. Wars, all over the planet
2. Danger of nuclear, chemical, biological, space-based weapons (deployment or accident)
3. Environmental degradation
4. Massive levels of species extinction
5. Depletion and pollution of natural resources
6. Massive and unspeakable cruelty to animals on farms, the food industry and in laboratories
7. Mass starvation on the planet
8. Epidemics and Pandemics at ever increasing rate
9. Climate change runaway threat and ongoing negative effects
10. Massive poverty, ostentatious gluttony, increasing desperation and crime
11. Fundamentalist Religion’s resurgence
12. Millions of young brainwashed and turned into neurotic wrecks
13. Whole generations dumbed down
14. Corporate stranglehold on politics and communication
15. Meaningless, farcical ‘democracy’
16. Torture practiced openly all over the world

Why not use some creativity, imagination, vision, to find an arrangement that might work better?

At least as a long-term direction we could strive for?


Before I address this let me ask for a clarification, are you are blaming all of these on money?

*modified from equating to blaming

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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26-03-2013, 09:15 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
(25-03-2013 11:08 PM)fat cat Wrote:  Why is it that many considerations are often boiled down to "the problem"? Zat didn't label money "the problem", and I think Zat was thinking broader than that.

Maybe I've presumed too much, but I also think Zat was simply proposing we stop using money, regardless of whether we call the resulting economy "resource based" or anything else.

If that's the case, I'm in agreement with Zat. Cutting out money doesn't inherently complicate trade, and in many situations, simplifies it. Money's absence/presence is just one variable in our decided-upon economic structure which determines how simple or complicated trade is. If the whole system can be made to accommodate money's absence, that eliminates one resource entirely superfluous to survival, and thus simplifies the system at least in that regard.
Should we boil things down to not the problem and then see how much gets fixed? Was the wheel invented because walking with goods on one's back wasn't a problem?

If the goal is to get rid of money, it is either money that is the perceived problem or it is some of the things done with money that is the perceived problem. If the latter, then why get rid of money? Money does not complicate trade, it simplifies it. Just like the wheel simplifies the transport of goods. And just like the wheel, the fact that we have money doesn't mean it must be used by everyone to trade. If Zat doesn't like money and he thinks everyone should share everything in a commune, then he can persuade people to sign his social contract and they can live happily ever after. However, when someone proposes to do away with something so important to trade and then goes on to propose a new "social contract", which are essentially fictions that are inflicted on the unwilling by force, I can't help but question the motive.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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26-03-2013, 09:18 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
Suggestion:

Mentally remove money from the equation and see how that list might be affected?

The fundamental problem is not the existence of money.

It is the basic principle on which distribution of produced goods and services is based.

People (poor and rich alike) produce (if they produce anything) for money, not for quality of life.

I used the desert island analogy to highlight this difference.

On that island, everyone's contribution is highly visible.

In our society all we see is how much money people have, not what, if anything they contributed.

That environment encourages the worst kind of parasitism, even destructive behaviour.

Just listen to the news and see how many times money is mentioned when discussing issues, instead of the cause-and-effect chains that lie under those issues.

But I have explained it all, in detail, before in the OP and in other posts.
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26-03-2013, 09:21 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
(26-03-2013 09:15 AM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Should we boil things down to not the problem and then see how much gets fixed? Was the wheel invented because walking with goods on one's back wasn't a problem?

If the goal is to get rid of money, it is either money that is the perceived problem or it is some of the things done with money that is the perceived problem. If the latter, then why get rid of money? Money does not complicate trade, it simplifies it. Just like the wheel simplifies the transport of goods. And just like the wheel, the fact that we have money doesn't mean it must be used by everyone to trade. If Zat doesn't like money and he thinks everyone should share everything in a commune, then he can persuade people to sign his social contract and they can live happily ever after. However, when someone proposes to do away with something so important to trade and then goes on to propose a new "social contract", which are essentially fictions that are inflicted on the unwilling by force, I can't help but question the motive.
Exactly. What he ↑ said.

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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26-03-2013, 09:24 AM
RE: The Nature of Money
OK, I'll just wait to see if anyone else has anything interesting to say.

Till then...
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26-03-2013, 09:47 AM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2013 09:56 AM by Full Circle.)
RE: The Nature of Money
(26-03-2013 09:18 AM)Zat Wrote:  Suggestion:

Mentally remove money from the equation and see how that list might be affected?

The fundamental problem is not the existence of money.

It is the basic principle on which distribution of produced goods and services is based.

People (poor and rich alike) produce (if they produce anything) for money, not for quality of life.

I used the desert island analogy to highlight this difference.

On that island, everyone's contribution is highly visible.

In our society all we see is how much money people have, not what, if anything they contributed.

That environment encourages the worst kind of parasitism, even destructive behaviour.

Just listen to the news and see how many times money is mentioned when discussing issues, instead of the cause-and-effect chains that lie under those issues.

But I have explained it all, in detail, before in the OP and in other posts.


OK, first of all I want you to know that if there was a solution for making people act nicely I'd be the first one in line.

Removing money as a tool doesn't accomplish that. Remove all money. There is no money. Does this stop the robber from robbing for goods? Does this stop wars for oil (product)? No, it does not.

I wholeheartedly disagree with you that people produce/work for money and not quality of life. The two are indistinguishable.
Because they are indistinguishable when discussing cause-and-effect it makes no difference to me if the anchorperson on the six o'clock news says a robbery occured and money was stolen or if product was stolen. The robber stole to improve their quality of life at the expense of another.

So back to the fundamental question of distribution or better yet, human nature. Would it be fair to say that:

1) No matter what the commodity there will be people hoarding it and stealing it?
2) No matter what the commodity there will people with much and those with little or none?
3) No matter what the commodity there will be those that work hard and produce and those that do not?
4) No matter what the commodity there will be resentment for those that produce much and contempt for those that produce little or none?

In my view we, humans, cannot change our inherent traits by edict. We can educate, we can promote with rewards and dissuade with punishment but the fact that we are a product of biological evolution programed to survive overrides "nice" every time. We will always end up in this type of discussion with how do we modify and change inherent human behavior don't you think?

***
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The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
Isaac Asimov

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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26-03-2013, 10:14 AM (This post was last modified: 26-03-2013 10:17 AM by bbeljefe.)
RE: The Nature of Money
(26-03-2013 09:18 AM)Zat Wrote:  Suggestion:

Mentally remove money from the equation and see how that list might be affected?

The fundamental problem is not the existence of money.

It is the basic principle on which distribution of produced goods and services is based.

People (poor and rich alike) produce (if they produce anything) for money, not for quality of life.

I used the desert island analogy to highlight this difference.

On that island, everyone's contribution is highly visible.

In our society all we see is how much money people have, not what, if anything they contributed.

That environment encourages the worst kind of parasitism, even destructive behaviour.

Just listen to the news and see how many times money is mentioned when discussing issues, instead of the cause-and-effect chains that lie under those issues.

But I have explained it all, in detail, before in the OP and in other posts.
"People (poor and rich alike) produce (if they produce anything) for money, not for quality of life."

Everything we produce, procure or utilize is a means to an end. It has been argued that that end is happiness. After all, it is the only thing we seek for the sole purpose of having the thing itself. Happiness is subjective and because of that, your end and my end are not equal. Thus, the goods/services we produce and the money we exchange for them are all still just a means to our end. If a thief steals your television, that is a means to his end. Likewise if he steals your money. Taking money out of the equation only serves to make it harder to reach our end, because doing so will not change the nature of the thief, nor will it make it easier for me to sell my goods over the internet.

"In our society all we see is how much money people have, not what, if anything they contributed."

You're speaking for others. When I watch a Richard Dawkins video, I don't see how much money he has in the bank, I see what he is contributing to society. When I interview a perspective tenant, I don't ask how much money he has in the bank, I ask what he does to support his family and a good many other questions that are not related to money.

"That environment encourages the worst kind of parasitism, even destructive behaviour."

No. Parasitism and destructive behavior create that environment. Environment is a construct of human behavior, not the other way around. On a micro level, a household with peaceful, non violent parents produces an environment of compassion, empathy and sharing for a child, while a household of violent, screaming parents produces an environment of paranoia, apathy and winner takes all for a child. Consequently, it is the latter environment that creates the larger social environment you're railing against. And I agree, it is a problem.

"Just listen to the news and see how many times money is mentioned when
discussing issues, instead of the cause-and-effect chains that lie under
those issues"


If that's your barometer, then we must also get rid of government, because government comes up in the news a lot more than money. Often in concert with it. Of course, I do agitate for the abolition of government, but not on the grounds that it uses and spends money.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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