Money. I’ve always had enough of it because of my natural thriftiness. So I can’t really speak for those who have experienced real poverty (the UN’s $1.25 a day kind of poverty), and for whom an empty wallet means an empty stomach. I know the predicament of all too many people: They simply need money for their very survival. That is the way it “makes the world go ‘round”. There has been a lot of research showing that most people don’t like their jobs (according to this Washington Post article only 13% likes to go to work), and would quit if it weren’t for the money. Such is the situation of our society at large: We are, as a species, painfully slowly approaching both external and internal critical limits and we find ourselves evermore tied up in this deadlock. Externally, we have done so much damage to the planet that she begins to lose the ability to heal herself. Internally, a vast majority of people live their lives in fear and loathing, as serves of the increasingly powerful elite.
The more the necessity of radical change is proclaimed by progressive authors, the stronger, it seems, do people believe in its impossibility. The message that we will inevitably perish if we don’t change [from a growth economy to localizing, stabilizing and restoration of the eaarth], can ignite revolutionary spirits where they lie dormant, but can’t change the way an average consumer is thinking as long as the lights are on. The situation can be universally clear, to the point that the world likens a theater stage after a play has ended, with the strong lights urging the audience out of the loges, and into the restrooms. The dreamy audience sees that the lights have (been) switched on, but they are still in the narrative of the Play. It is a faux pas to point at the lights and “theorize” that their brightness heralds the coming darkness. The Play that has just ended is the Play of ever-growing-money, of endless faster turning economic engines. The final scene wasn’t even conclusive, there was no bang. The actors didn’t even seem to notice the closing curtain and the bright lights.
What can I say? Money’s a bitch. Here’s a formula: Money facilitates the best and the worst, but brings out only the worst in people.
It’s the most successful, and most destructive abstraction of all time.
Money translates our desires into a neutral and universal language, enabling us to use the resources of unknown lands and unknown people to satisfy our presumably endless needs. The story is getting old, but we need to keep exposing it, while singing the new stories simultaneously, the stories that will have to lure people away from that old belief system.
This way of thinking is radically different from the story of endless economic growth we have been inculcated with, so it is important that we unlearn and relearn.
Mark Boyle and Charles Eisenstein have written extensively on this subject, and have published their books on the Internet – for no money of course. Their books are absolutely free to download, read, and spread, which I hope you will do.
A smart and very eloquent book about the gift economy. We need the spirit of the gift, of belonging, attachment, uniqueness, and the sacred to overcome the current economic system that is hooked on infinite growth and hell-bent for ecological disaster.
A practical guide to all aspects of living without money, from food and shelter, to healthcare, footwear, hygiene, contraception and travel.