Here’s a thought experiment: just imagine that there is no such thing as money, but everyone keeps on doing what they do now. We turn up for work, keep the lights on, farm the land, make the gadgets. We could even go into supermarkets and walk out with full trolleys. Everything would continue just the same – only without the need to pay or be paid.
Some people would worry that in a moneyless world, ‘shoppers’ would take more than they need. Which reminds me of employers like Cadbury and Bourneville, who have no problem with their employees consuming the chocolate they are making. They know from experience that after the initial glut, they won’t take more than is reasonable.
It is a crazy idea, but if we carried on being fed, having cars to drive and television to watch – what’s the problem? We might start to notice that there were lots of things that were no longer needed, for instance jobs in the City of London might take a hit.
What about insurance? Who needs it if you can just take your car into a garage and somebody will fix it? There are several hundred trillion pounds worth of derivatives swirling around the globe at the moment, leaving little deposits each time they pass through some bankers hands. Who needs that?
Think of all the activity associated with international stock markets: the computers, the screens, the breathless reporting of another major move up or down. Who needs it? Think of the Olympics and all the sponsorship paraphernalia. Who needs it?
One of the core problems with money is that of interest. When money (debt) comes into being it invariably has some extra money (interest) attached to it. If there is no money, there is no interest – who needs it?
Imagine the impact on society if all the activity associated with money just disappeared. What a release of energy! Many old jobs would be unnecessary, allowing more people to share the fun of producing real things that are needed and useful.
People might start to think about what they enjoy doing, rather than what they feel they have to do in order to earn money. But that would be okay, we could create new measures of wealth and happiness. Purpose and job satisfaction would become important.
Relations between working people would be transformed – not by regulation but by necessity. The idea of employment would become obsolete, enabling emergence of the natural organisation – one wherein work was experienced as a means of personal and community fulfillment.
What a crazy idea indeed! When you reflect on all the reasons that have just gone through your mind, all the “yes, but …” thoughts, it is worth remembering that you are walking round the prison cell of your own imagination. Pacing up and down as you tell yourself how real it is.
There is a clock in Florence whose hands move anti-clockwise! My father used to own an old Alvis Speed 25, which has the brake and accelerator pedals the ‘wrong way’ round – accelerator in the middle, brake on the right – most disconcerting if you braked suddenly when going downhill, and pressed the wrong pedal!
Almost everything about our human world is the consequence of choices that we have previously made. After a while we forget that we have chosen, and simply ‘know’ that that is how things are.
Clocks going anti-clockwise – what a crazy idea.