The Secret of Money:
by Fred Williams
send any comments to: comment[at]fredwilliams[dot]ca
Copyright. Fred Williams authored and owns this document,
(The Secret of Money). Permission is granted to reproduce or copy "The
Secret of Money" and to disperse it far and wide for the benefit of as
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attribution of authorship to Fred Williams.
humans have made considerable advances in science and technology over our brief
existence on this planet. Yet it still hasn't made us happy for the most part.
Billions of us go to bed hungry and/or homeless every night and despite our
scientific knowledge and all our technology, we seem powerless to help them.
Some blame science itself, but science is neither good nor evil it merely tells
us what is. It's our use, or perhaps misuse is a better word, of our scientific
and technological power that is the problem. Again this is not human nature.
Human nature is to help our neighbours. The vast majority of humanity would
like to live in a prosperous global community where neighbours help each other
and none get left behind. Even so, good intentions seem to be set aside all too
often contrary to human nature. How often do we have to balance our consciences
against our pocket books and come out in favour of pragmatic economics instead
of our wished for generosity. Is this a recognition of reality? Is the
universe telling us that our love for one another must be denied in deference to
some natural economic law that says we can only succeed at the expense of
others? The answer to both these questions is, "No!" and as we progress through
this paper the reasons why will become apparent.
is the second release of "The Secret of Money" with some additional material and
some clarifications that were suggested by the responses to the first release.
There are some solutions to the problem and these will be explicitly presented
although the primary effort of the document is to expose the problem in terms
people can understand. What particular solutions will eventually be adopted is
something that everybody must think about and develop together. No one person
can solve all the problems. No one person should be followed blindly.
Solutions presented here are suggestions and examples which may spark thought
and ideas beyond what is presented here. Much more talk and sharing of ideas for
solutions must precede any decision. That itself is part of the solution, as you
economic decisions, something seems to be taking us away from the path of wisdom
and compassion and leading us towards greed and hatred. You can see that in the
way the world economy and culture is evolving and has been evolving in recent
years and decades. World society and in particular Western society, seems to be
making decisions that may or may not kill us all, but will certainly kill very
many of us, likely most of us, through famine, disease, and war. We are in the
process of destroying the ecosphere to such an extent that we are now in the
middle of a "mass extinction" event that will probably equal that of 65 million
years ago when the dinosaurs were lost forever.
humans should survive but it's not a sure thing and we may never fully recover
if we keep on making the same mistakes over and over again. It is not a problem
with science or technology. Neither is it a problem with "human nature." That
can be shown as well. What we are facing is in fact a problem with economics
and economic philosophy.
a problem with the basic structure of our economic system. It is a problem, as
we shall see, with the very concepts of money as a scarce commodity, property,
and ownership. A clear understanding of this will help people formulate
solutions that will deal with it effectively. What we have to do is understand
the dynamics of our economy and how it influences the decisions we make and how
it influences who gets to make the decisions and who doesn't. As always,
"understanding the problem" is the key to finding a solution! That is what this
paper is about.
1 Property and Ownership
Somewhere back in time, a primitive human had a tool or a weapon or something
like that which made him, (it was probably a "him"), feel safer and maybe
superior to his family, neighbours and friends. In him was born the desire to
have it always and not allow any others to share in the use of it. Perhaps he
was psychopathic. It was pure selfishness and greed probably born out of fear
and a desire for security, prosperity, and power. He conceived of "ownership"
and it's mirror image concept, "property." The operative word for our urposes
is "concieved." These things are concepts and hence abstract and
artificial. This is important to remember. At probably some other time these
concepts were extended to land; real estate. There may or may not have been
some violence involved when these concepts were introduced. (There certainly
has been since then).
2. What is Money, Really?
people think of money as a medium of exchange, something we use as a substitute
for goods and services. That's quite true of course, but we can't stop there.
Money is more than that. Money, as it exists in our global economic system,
actually represents those goods and services. It's what economists call a
"commodity" and we can use the term as well. It has acquired a value of it's
own. It can be saved and exchanged not only for goods and services but for
power. It can be used to control other people and their actions. It can
actually threaten people and force their actions and decisions even against
their own interests. Thus money is not only a medium of exchange and a
commodity. It is also a weapon!
society has become so dependent on money that to be without it means that a
person cannot participate in the economy at all. We all live in fear of such
poverty and we see money as the protection against that fear. This is an
economic trap, because money used as a weapon is what creates the danger of
poverty that we fear and our fears lock us into the trap as surely as any prison
of iron bars.
not a good idea to base our decisions on fear. We tend to loose our rationality
when we're afraid and we make hasty decisions and the more we dedicate ourselves
to the use of money, the more we fear being without it. That's the nature of
the trap. However beyond that, there are other even more serious problems with
money and how it shapes our perceptions of economics and society in general. It
even affects the way we relate to one another as human beings.
should all be aware, these concepts, (money and property), have been the basis
for our economic system ever since money as a scarce commodity was first
implemented. In all that time we've made little progress. We've spent lots of
time refining and adapting the principles and mechanisms and devising ever more
ways to get profits to ensure our own security and prosperity, but despite all
that, (or maybe because of it), most people today have no security nor
prosperity. Something isn't working for us. The economic system is clearly not
serving our needs.
initial observation of the "The Secret of Money" is that money is "artificial."
It's an abstract construct of the human mind. It captures people's values and
it is so pervasive in our society that it masquerades as "reality" but it is
vitally important to remember that it is not real. We invented it, along with
the concepts of property and ownership. When we find that it is not serving us,
we can dispose of it and find something else that might serve us
3. The Real and the Artificial Economies
So money is
not real, yet our economy seems totally oriented around the manipulation of
money. What is the "Real Economy?"
real economy includes things like; our food and how we acquire it, our homes,
the land upon which we grow our food and other crops, the trees in the forests,
the clean air we need to breath, the work we can perform and the ingenuity of
our minds, the clean water we need to drink and so on. This is essentially our
environment; where we live, and our own selves as well. These things are real.
These are the sorts of things that we depend upon for life itself. Their value
is "real" whereas the value of money is only in our minds.
understand this better, think of the economy in layers. On the bottom layer we
have the real economy. Above that we have an artificial economy that serves to
control the real economy through the concepts of "property and ownership" These
two concepts link the artificial economy to the real economy.
DIAGRAM SHOWING ECONOMIC LAYERS
only those who control the artificial economy can access the real economy.
Consequently the vast majority of humanity cannot access the real economy. They
are barred from exercising any sort of control or stewardship over the
environment or natural resources. They are also barred from food, shelter,
clothing, water; the very necessities of life unless they have the consent of
someone in control of the artificial wealth and power. We've always regarded
this as being natural, (just a part of life), but it isn't. It is a particular
feature of competitive economic systems that use money as a scarce commodity.
Other economic systems, and there are many alternatives, would have an entirely
different set of features and there is no reason why we could not choose to use
one of those systems. We'll see more of this when we start looking at solutions
later on, but first we should have a better understanding of our current system
and the problems associated with it, because we're just scratching the surface
how our society is structured, one of the more important concepts is
"stability." If you have, say, a bowl with a rounded inside bottom and you put a
marble in it, the marble will roll to the centre, at the bottom of the bowl,
maybe with a few wobbles or spirals as it goes there, but it does go there and
stay there. The position of the marble is said to be "stable," because if you
move the marble away from the centre with a little push and let it go, it rolls
back to the centre.
is a force, (gravity), that pulls it there and wherever the marble is, inside
the bowl, the force is directed towards the centre and it gets stronger the
further away the marble is from the centre because of the curvature of the bowl.
This is the classic definition of "stability."
we had instead a bowl that was round on the outside and we set it upside-down on
the table to form a dome. If we then set our marble on top of it, it would
quickly roll off, (unless we set it exactly in the middle. Even so, we would say
the marble was in an unstable situation, because the slightest disturbance would
cause the marble to roll off the bowl). The further the marble gets from the
centre of the bowl, the greater the force pulling it away from the centre.
is the classic example of "instability." The marbles will roll away gaining
velocity and even with increasing acceleration as they go. Lets take another
example. This is hypothetical, but suppose our economy was set up so that the
poorer a person was, the easier it was to make money, and the richer a person
was the harder it was to keep the wealth. There would be a stabilizing force
pushing everyone towards the middle class. Any time someone got too poor, the
would find it easy to get back to the average wealth level. Any time someone
got too rich, they would be forced back to the median wealth level as well.
We would call
the economy "stable." Can you see that wealth would circulate among all people
more or less equally? The further a person would get away from the middle
class, the stronger the push would be to recover them, and this would apply to
everyone. This is equivalent to having all our marbles in the middle of the
bowl with no force threatening to roll them away. Everyone would have equal
access to the economy and they would retain this status over time. That means
the economy is stable!
that hypothetical example is not our reality. What we have is an economy where
the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, or when that's not possible, the
poor get more numerous and some die. This derives from the feature that it
takes money to make money. The more money you have the easier it is to get more
money. The "force" that allows people to get richer is the money that they
already have. The more you win, the easier winning becomes. This is like
having a marble roll off a rounded dome. The further it gets from the centre
the greater the force that accelerates it and we have a very unstable economy.
Eventually, if nothing else interfered with the process, one person would own
everything and the rest of the people in the world would own nothing at all.
who would set up an unstable economy and require everybody to use it to compete
for the very essentials of life itself has definitely "lost their marbles!"
community that is doing well, economically. Money is coming into the community
because they sell goods or perform services for customers outside the community.
The money circulates around within the community as they trade with each other,
and eventually as they buy goods or services from outside the community the
money leaves. As long as nothing happens to disrupt the cycle, everything is
OK. However, we know that change is inevitable and suppose something happens to
reduce the amount of money coming in to the community. Say a government office
closes, or a company moves it's factory to another country. Say the supply of
money coming into the community is drastically reduced. It's not the fault of
the people in the community, but there are still just as many people there and
they have less money. They still have their local resources, goods and services
that they can provide to one another, but none of them has the money to pay for
these things. The supply of money available to them is the limiting factor on
how much can be traded. That's the central feature of a "scarce money"
economy. Now, the community might go back to bartering and that is inefficient
at best. Note that it is quite within the power of the community to provide for
each other without tracking the cost, or by finding another way to keep track
of donations and benefits if they feel a need to do so. If they don't find a
solution they could be at risk of starving to death in the midst of plenty.
What has happened is that the exchange of goods and services grinds to a halt
without people having the money supply to support the transactions. This is
how the "artificial economy" controls the "real economy" and it's all only in
our minds! Yet we are so conditioned to the use of money as we have come to know
it, that we are enslaved to it's systematic use.
instead of a geographically defined group, (the community, above), consider an
economically defined group, the poor. Many of the same economic factors apply.
When you have the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and more
numerous, you are taking a segment of society, (the poor), and progressively
limiting their money supply, much as we saw above with the "community"
society where we are all conditioned to the use of money to conduct our
transactions, it means that this group will increasingly be shut out of the
economy; unable to interact with others economically, through no fault of their
own, because no matter what they do, the process will continue. The poor will
have less and less of the money supply while they continue to become more
numerous. It's built into the system. They will have a constant reduction in
their access to the economy. We see the result in the increasing real poverty
and ever larger numbers of homeless people on the streets here in the first
world. We can also see the result in Africa and other third world countries,
and the problem continues to worsen as time goes by. It's not just life, it's a
terminal flaw in the economic system.
are conditioned to the use of money for their transactions, as we all are, and
they have less and less of it as time passes. They cannot trade amongst
themselves because of their mental conditioning. They cannot buy the goods which
the rich are manufacturing, (albeit in order to make more money). So the money
stops circulating. The economy slows down as the situation worsens. The
resulting economic stress means that people at all levels become more desperate
and resort to more and more extreme measures to survive. You can see this
happening all around you if you look for it. This is exactly how the "economic
instability" is related to "economic unsustainability!" As economic stress
levels increase in the system, social and emotional stress levels increase in
the people bound by that system.
mal-distribution of wealth worsens over time, and this must happen in any
competitive system, economic indicators start to go wild, (transient),
predicting the oncoming chaotic period. The economy itself comes under stress.
The instability of the economy means that the society will eventually end in
failure of some sort, likely revolution. It has happened repeatedly throughout
history and it's about to happen again. This is exactly the mechanism that
destroys empires, It's not the breakdown of the family unit. It's not lead in
the pipes causing lead poisoning, although that doesn't help. It's the
inevitable breakdown of the economy because of it's inherent instability.
Economies that use money as a scarce commodity will eventually self destruct.
the revolutionaries set up the same sort of economy the same dynamics will
prevail and that economy is also doomed to failure in it's own time. Note
especially: It is not that human nature that is corrupt and we therefore have
to design a system that counters the corruption. That's a false assumption
based upon millenia of working only with competitive systems,... and supported
by a fairly large propaganda effort. Rather, human nature is good, and we need
an economic system that doesn't corrupt it!
this incessant cycle of rise and fall of empires isn't indicative of a universal
truth. It's a specific feature of a competitive economic system using money as
a scarce commodity. It doesn't have to be that way! There are different ways
that an economy can be set up, but to change the way things work requires
education and a willingness to accept change on the part of the people. We
need to know what alternatives are possible and we have to overcome our
conditioning, namely the fear of "loosing a deal." We have to increase the
level of caring for one another in our communities. We have to learn to work
together, rather than against each other: Cooperation instead of Competition.
of the word "employment." It's worth examining. It means "used!" Remember that.
People shouldn't really be "used." Yet if we're unemployed we're often desperate
for someone to use us. We'll get to survive if we can be used by someone, but
they'll get the profits from our labour. Our "salary" doesn't figure into the
equation much because it's usually just enough to allow us to get by. At the end
on a week, or a month, or a year, the worker isn't much further ahead than
before. Workers get to maintain themselves and not much more. They don't really
participate in the economy. The economy uses them.
exercise think of "slavery." Slaves have to be fed, clothed and sheltered.
Also their health has to be taken care of, or they die and the slave-owner is
out the money spent to buy the slave. If the work is seasonal, slaves have to
be maintained even in the off season, which economically is another loss for the
see the similarity between the "used worker" and the "slave." They both get
little more than they need to survive. So employment, (using people), is often
called "wage slavery." With wage-slavery, when the slaves are not needed, they
are laid off. The slave master can wash his/her hands of them and have no
responsibility,... and less losses. All that is required is that there is a
willing, even say desperate population of ready slaves when there is a need for
them. So with wage-slavery, the slave owners get the benefits of slavery
without the obligation of having to care for the slaves when they are not being
... used. We never really abolished slavery. We just changed the rules and the
weapons and put out a lot of propaganda about "freedom," but the effects are
still the same when you look at it objectively. The slaves are used and only
the masters participate in the economy. For most of us today, the workers are
"used" and only the owners get to participate in the economy.
the wealth of all society being concentrated over time in the hands of fewer and
fewer people, there are more and more slaves who can afford less and less goods
and therefore there is less of a market for the goods and so a need for fewer
and fewer slaves. As more and more slaves become unemployed, they join the ranks
of the poor and homeless, while the rich loose their markets and "own" more and
more, and this process is bad for business. Commerce begins to shut down
because the money stagnates at the top and doesn't circulate freely. Everyone,
at every level, tries new strategies to deal with the economic stresses. The
poor try to get enough money to stay afloat. The rich panic because they see
their profits starting to dip and they become very concerned about efficiency,
thinking that must be the problem. So they lay off people and seek concessions
on the part of the workers. Salaries diminish and unemployment grows. Overall
debt also grows. When the poor have little left, they must borrow, and the rich
have wealth which they are eager to lend. What neither often fails to
understand is that there is less and less possibility for the poor to repay the
loans, because of the economic forces at work, not through any fault of their
economic indicators display wild fluctuations. The rich have little left to buy
and the poor can't afford to buy anything. So the exchanging of goods and
services grinds to a halt. Economic stresses build and the top-heavy economy
prepares to crumble. This is insanity, but it gets worse. Read on.
6. The Nature of Work.
people often get asked, "Can't you find work?" It has become part of our culture
and we all know what it means, because if we can't find a job, we don't get much
money, life will be difficult and people will look down on us with scorn. A
slave dislikes another slave not doing as much work as they themselves have to
do, or worse, not working at all. This hatred is encouraged in the propaganda
and it's an easy thing to get people to hate the poor and/or unemployed. As
with many things it pays to sit down and think for a while about what the work
question really means. Is it really asking something else? Is it really "work"
that people are looking for?
answer that may come to mind for some of us is, "Yes. I can find work. There's
work all over that needs doing. What I can't find is paying work."
seems like a comic answer; clever, but easily dismissed. However, if we look
more deeply at this, we find another one of the major problems with our economic
system exposed. Lets look more closely at the difference between paying work
and non-paying work. It's not difficult, but we seldom go there.
pays when the person, or people, who want the work done have enough money to pay
for it, AND they do not want to invest that money on what they think is a higher
priority. Simple enough. Yet we keep digging deeper. Non-paying work then must
be work that needs to be done but the people who want it done don't have enough
money to pay for it, or they have what they feel are better things to do with
see how one class of non-paying work is simply work that poor people need to
have done. There are people who have no home, little food, and it would take
work to provide it for them, but they cannot pay. Even if they have the skills,
they are blocked from acquiring the materials or land by the artificial
conventions of property and ownership. They cannot access the "real economy"
because they can't get through that artificial layer. This artificial layer
control the "real economy" through the artificial concepts of "property"
other class of work is work that rich people need to have done, but they don't
want to spend the money. This includes work that doesn't make them more profit.
They became rich by investing in projects that make profits. People do not
become rich by investing in projects that loose money. A factory, employing
workers will make them profit. Charity, like building homes for the poor, is
just a loss, except for a small tax deduction in some cases. The economy
punishes every investment that does not turn a profit. It results in a loss and
hence a reduction in power. This reduction in power in turn reduces the ability
to make more money and this targets the greatest fear of a true economic
competitor: Loss of growth potential.
know that everybody needs clean air and water and the elimination of pollution
of all sorts, but those who can afford it are not willing to pay for it. That's
because they cannot make more money by investing in the clean-up. It's the
perfect example of how the artificial economy sets false priorities which
actually destroy components of the real economy. The rich are not stupid,
(well, not entirely anyway). They didn't get rich by spending money in
adventures that are not going to give them a return,... in money or power.
Cleaning up pollution is not going to show a monetary profit. It's an expense
that they may or may not be able to even write off on their taxes. The fact that
they would benefit along with everybody else is not good enough for them. Such
benefits are not counted in the artificial layer. The financial bottom line,
the short term profits are what is counted and they govern everything. The
rich spend only what they need to clean their own air and water. In order to
get wealthy, they have had to become conditioned to making money with their
money. If they had done anything else they would have lost out to somebody who
didn't do anything else, and they learn the lesson very quickly. That is the
nature of competition, and our present economy is very competitive.
you know why there is so much pollution in the world. The real economy is
suffering, but people with power live and think almost entirely in the
artificial economy. It's worked well for them so far, and they have little
motivation to change. In fact they have a large economic motivation not to
change, and whatever they say, the vast majority of them have no intention of
order for work to be "paying work," not only does someone rich have to want it
done, but they actually have to be able to make more money from the enterprise!
The rich have to get richer. The work that the lower classes need to have done,
isn't going to get done, (a little bit of it is called charity, but that's just
a drop in the ocean compared to what needs to be done), and the work that the
rich might otherwise want to get done, but doesn't make a profit for the rich
investors, isn't going to get done. This is often considered domain of
governments; to perform work that doesn't profit the private sector, but as the
private sector grows more powerful and society more stratified, the government
winds up working for the rich, because money becomes so poweful that it can get
more votes through advertising lies than honest government can earn. We then
get policies of privatization and reduction in the size of government, which not
only serves to destroy the little progress that has been made in the political,
democratic front, but also limits even more the work that is being done for the
common people. So the move towards privatization contributes to the instability
of the economy and the unsustainability of the "empire."
fact the vast majority of paying work that a poor person can find is work that
will make more wealth for the employer than what they are paying her/him to do
it. So if you can't find paying work, you are impoverished and if you do find
paying work, the profits from that work go to make the rich even richer,
contributing to the maldistribution of wealth and thereby fueling the
instability of the economy and making all poor people poorer in the long run.
For poor people, and the working middle class, there is no option that wins.
Indeed there is no long term winning option for anybody under such a system.
get paid what their work is worth, because somebody else is taking the profits
from that work. Whereas the employer will make more money and they won't even do
the work. The basic principle is that if someone else can sell the fruits of
your labour at a profit, then you didn't get payed what the labour was worth.
If you used a gun to force people to work like this is would be called slavery.
The weapon of choice is instead "money" and because of our conditioning we fail
to recognize the process as slavery, but the only difference is the choice of
weapon. The process is identical. Indeed, by taking work in the offices and
factories of the rich, the poor slaves only increase their enslavement, by
donating the fruits of their labour to the rich. Everyone, rich or poor,
sacrifices their humanity to the system and we probably should not lay blame at
any specific group, but rather understand the problem and the eventual solution.
It's not a problem with the rich, but a problem with the system! Don't blame
the rich. Change the system.
work that rich people pay to have done is not really that big a portion of the
work that needs to be done. We live in a society that ignores a lot of the work
that needs to be done even for ourselves and we never even think of it or think
that it might be harmful to ignore it. We think it's just the way life is,
because we never realize that there could be other ways to run things. If we
don't have the money to pay for the work we need to have done, we may even blame
ourselves or accept the lie that if we're poor we somehow don't count or don't
deserve to have our needs fulfilled. This is an example of a problem in our
current economic system, and our acceptance of it compounds that problem. You
were probably unaware of it. Indeed we go around patting ourselves on the back
for having "freedom" and "prosperity." We assume that the work that doesn't get
done is unfortunate but inevitable, even when we ourselves are the ones who need
the work to be done. We assume that poor people are poor through their own fault
and we hate them for it. Our own fear of poverty translates into that anger and
hatred. Often poor people even blame themselves for being poor. They can have
problems with self-worth, self-image and self-esteem. What we don't realize is
that they just can't find work!
7. The Nature of Competition
that, given enough time, competition always degrades into violence. Competition
is itself a lesser form of violence. It's in the nature of competition to push
the limits of the envelope. Then the "other guy" has to come back and push
harder. Eventually, (rather quickly actually, if competitors are paying
attention to how the game is structured), you reach the limits of what can be
done within the rules. Someone is bound to be the first to test those limits.
In a game where the only referee is,... well, there are no referees. So when a
"winner" gets enough power, they can start making their own rules. We can see
this happening all over these days with the rich controlling politicians and the
so called "Free Trade" agreement(s) providing more rights for money that for
people, and so on, and so on. What it boils down to is, "Nice guys finish last."
[It's an old saying: These days we'd say "Nice people finish last."] It's not a
universal observation! It's not a "fact of life." It's a specific feature of a
class of economic systems which are competitive and probably unstable for the
see that having a political democracy and achieving political equality means
very little if a competitive economic system is used. The common person still
gets exploited, and over time, money and hence power become increasingly under
the control of the elite, ruling class. The system selects these people for
their tendency to put their own financial interests above the interests of
anybody else. Only the most competitive will win in the long run. This also
ensures that insatiable greed will win out over mere ordinary greed. The winners
will have an unshakable confidence in themselves. It's called conceit. The
eventual winners will be those who allow nothing to interfere with their quest
for wealth and power. This is also part of a winning attitude, but it means
that they don't care who gets hurt or killed along the way. When you apply the
competitive, winning psychology to the very game of economic domination itself
and look at the process, you see where the phrase "Nice people finish last"
comes from. Being "nice" is a huge disadvantage when it comes to economic
order to see the whole picture you pretty much have to drop out of society and
stand well back. Otherwise you can't see the forest for the trees. When you take
a good look at Western Society from this standpoint, it seems totally absurd. It
only makes sense if you're totally caught up in it and all your attention is
focused on running on that treadmill and getting nowhere. The moment you start
to ask intelligent questions about who we are as a society and where we are
going, the danger and the absurdities start to become apparent. We have created
a huge mess and it can do nothing but destroy itself, then regrow and destroy
itself all over again. As long as we keep setting up the same parameters for our
economy, it will continue to do the same thing again and again.
8 Working towards a Solution
said that the worst form of violence is poverty! He said this after observing
what British colonialism did to his country of India. Colonialism is an example
of what competitive economics means in terms of real consequences. When you
look at what was done to India by the British, you get a batter understanding of
what the term "economic violence" really means, and you can see how money is
used as a weapon. You can see the same thing in what the United States has done
in Latin America, time after time, and the Middle East.
the idea of people having the right to govern themselves took root. The concepts
of Democracy and Political Equality were born. Looking back, briefly, at the
history of democracy we note several events like the Magna Carta. Before that
kings had absolute power, not just in England but around the world in various
places. The people were told that this power could not be questioned, because
it came from God. This was known as "The Divine Right of Kings." [Those wishing
absolute power and unquestioning obedience often find it useful to invoke God as
their sponsor.] Peasants generally didn't have enough of an education to develop
their own ideas on the matter, but the time had to come when the nobility also
felt the pinch and they had a good idea of what was going on. They were
painfully aware that the King was getting all the spoils whenever he wanted.
nobles got together and reasoned that maybe God wasn't quite so in favour of one
person having all the power, as the King would have them believe and regardless,
things were getting "freaking' desperate." Something had to be done and the
idea of limits on the King's power seemed like progress.
then, over the centuries, progress towards political equality was made. Various
revolutions with varying degrees of success paved the way for at least the
appearance of political equality and democracy. We still don't have true
political equality, but we're a lot closer to it than we were.
political power isn't the only power. Economic power is a strong and growing
factor in today's world. There is also military power, technological power, and
others. In the economic sphere there are the artificial concepts of property,
ownership and money, promoted very much as a new religion; a new absolute and
unquestionable divine right. In the economic sphere, there has not been the
principle of economic equality to any great extent, and where it has cropped up,
those with economic power have been quick to denounce the idea as "evil," with
considerable vigour. They know their power is ended once the ideals of economic
equality and democracy catch on.
we have some political equality and thus some political power to the people, the
rich and powerful are now trying to promote the idea that "government," the seat
of political power, is somehow bad for us and everything should be privatized.
Thus the egalitarian political power that has been won over centuries of
struggle can be lost and the major remaining power will be economic power, where
there is no such thing as democracy, and no principle of equality. There would
only be the power of the wealthy growing ever more wealthy and they insist on
their "divine right" to use their economic power in any way they wish. Money is
their weapon of choice. The economic tyranny that we face today is no better
than the political tyranny that our ancestors faced in centuries past, and the
result is much the same.
have a right to equal access to the economic system governing the exchange of
goods and services. This must be fundamental! It is the democratization of
economic power! It is the same process that we have come to cherish politically
and we now have to apply it to the economy. Regardless of the power base, be it
political, economic, technological, or whatever, the principles of equality and
democracy must still apply! If the principles don't transcend the power base,
then they just won't work.
look at the parallels in our history of the struggle for political equality.
When political democracy was first suggested, (and for some time after), the
objections included the idea that common people couldn't possibly manage to
govern themselves. They were "commoners" and incapable of understanding the
complexities of government. "You're expecting uncommon skills from common
people." was one of the sayings. Indeed, at the time "common people" weren't
given much of an education and of course they had little idea how to govern
themselves, because they had never been called upon to do it, nor imagined that
they would be, for the most part. Nevertheless, through education and trial and
error, many common people understand the principle of "equality" and
intelligently discuss political matters. Just like freed slaves who sometimes
don't know what to do with their new-found freedom, common people had to learn
to define their own roles, politically, and to manage their equality. Political
equality and human rights are now considered cornerstones of an enlightened
society. We should now see that economic equality and economic democracy are
is a solution to the problem, in fact probably more then one, and it's not
complicated, although it has proven to be elusive because it requires a
fundamental restructuring of money itself. We have always been afraid of this,
because we have learned to worship money, and we all want more of it.
when we learn that it isn't really real, and that it is damaging us and the very
environment upon which we depend for our survival do we begin to appreciate the
necessity for restructuring.
ideal solution would be to do away with money altogether: Eliminate the very
concept of money from our society. This does not mean going back to bartering!
Trading might not be forbidden, but it would have to be within the context or
revised definitions of property and ownership. Some things might not be owned
at all by anyone, yet still respected by all. Nevertheless, we need something
more than trading and a different philosophy because trading implies property
and there can be a competitive aspect to it as well. Concepts of "sharing" and
"giving" should replace "trading" and "dealing" as methods of relating to one's
neighbours. Part of the ideal solution would be to simply stop counting one's
individual wealth. Hence the re-definition of property and ownership; to
support the move away from individual wealth. Perhaps property could be
restricted to a few personal items which may have sentimental value. Some
things can be defined as being outside the class of "property" and so unownable
by anyone. Other items, or classes of items might be defined as communal
property, (owned jointly by everyone). Conventions would have to be adopted to
define the use of such property. No one can dictate all of this. The final
authority lies with all of us jointly and we have to get together and make
decisions based on egalitarian procedures for accessing our best knowledge and
skills on the matters at hand. No one person can define all the details and get
it right for everybody else. We have to share our ideas for a larger solution
or a number of solutions, and work towards a consensus of what will work
such a system, it is not a question of "the market" deciding the value of
commodities. "The Market" would likely not exist. It could not set the value of
anything and would quickly become a faded memory, like a tool that was used to
solve problems that no longer exist. Decisions about "value" and where to
devote "effort" must rest in the hands of the common people equally and
democratically. In time they will simply be called "the people," because
according to the principle of equality, there are no uncommon people. Community
meetings will be essential to the functioning of this new economy and they will
need to be frequent, especially at first and possibly for quite some time, till
people start to feel comfortable with how things work in an egalitarian,
cooperative economic system. Consensus should be the goal and the skills for
arriving at consensus will need to be developed. It is often hard in our times
to achieve consensus. All it takes is one person with a will to destroy the
process and decision making grinds to a halt. It can be called organizational
sabotage. Nothing can be accomplished. Standing up for one's own rights while
not infringing on the rights of others is a delicate balance. Ideally, and in a
proper functioning community, standing up for one's own rights need never
happen, because your neighbours do it for you. You need only look out for the
rights of others to participate. Yet in a competitive economy, standing up for
your own rights and looking out for your own interests are all that you learn to
do and all that the system rewards. So it will take time to unlearn these
lessons/instincts. In a non-competitive economy, the personal gain from
blocking community decisions will not exist, and people should soon realize that
there is no reward for being an ass. Indeed, finding the best solution to
problems is in everybody's best interests, as is developing the skills to work
with the system. In our competitive society today, these skills are seldom seen
since they lead to poor competition and loosing strategies, but they exist and
will need to be prevalent if we are to succeed in a cooperative system.
shift in economic strategies cannot happen overnight. It takes time for people
to let go of old ideas and many of us have trouble dealing with change. Taking
away the concepts of property and money without adequate education and training
and allowing for the ideas to grow would result in rejection of the idea by most
people without their even understanding what it meant for themselves. Once we
understand the problems with the old system, converting to an alternate system
becomes much more attractive.
Fortunately there is an "Interim System" to soften the social shock of a
complete transition to a "No money" system. This interim system is in fact a
"Plentiful Money" system!
Plentiful Money System is exactly what it says, (money is always available), but
it is easy to misunderstand what it implies, especially for those who haven't
devoted a lot of thought to it, which is just about everybody. We need to
answer questions like: How do we make money plentiful? Do we just print lots
of it? How do we pass it out? Well, it's not that complicated. We simply
define a new human right to go along with our other human rights like the right
to life, and the right to freedom of expression. The new human right is the
right to issue money. Not just the right to print money, but to actually issue
it, officially. Isn't that just like counterfeiting? No. Counterfeiting is
copying currency in a scarce money system and that is the illicit creation of a
commodity. It destabilized scarce money systems *even more than they are
naturally unstable.* It also can be used by poor people to acquire wealth
without the consent of the elite wealthy classes, nor with their taking a profit
from the activity, so they outlaw the process. With plentiful money systems,
everyone has unlimited purchasing power 100% of the time and counterfeiting
becomes an exercise in futility. Who needs it? In scarce money systems, money
has real value and counterfeiting it creates more value. In plentiful money
systems, the money itself is only a measure of things bought and sold. It does
not represent those things and so is not a commodity. With money having no
value in and of itself, there is no motivation to copy it.
plentiful money system, the money supply does not limit the amount of goods and
services that can be exchanged, as it does in a scarce money system. There, it
limits the poor more than the rich, of course, and the rich like it that way, so
they enact laws to perpetuate the status quo in that respect. Under the old
system the so called "equality principle" is applied as meaning that anyone can
do whatever they want with their money, but this systematically empowers the
rich and disenfranchises the poor. The effect is typified by the saying, "
'Everybody for himself!' said the elephant as he danced among the ducks." Such
a philosophy seems fine if you're an elephant, but most of us are ducks. It's
the same as the famous quote, "The law in it's magnanimous equality forbids the
rich as well as the poor from stealing a loaf of bread, begging in the streets
and sleeping under bridges." -- Jacques Anatole François Thibault, apparently.
The only true equality must be economic as well as political.
concept of plentiful money is proposed, among other reasons, to ensure that
money not place any limits of the exchange of goods and services. Rather the
money supply can expand to accommodate whatever exchanges need to take place to
serve the interests of everybody in society, not just an elite few. Naturally
along with this goes the responsibility of not exploiting real resources to
exhaustion, but that's already a problem with the old, existing system, and at
least a plentiful money system puts the decision to preserve resources in the
hands of all the people. Without the artificial layer of the economy, there are
only natural forces, (in the real layer of the economy), at work and no
artificial inducement to destroy. It gives the people the power, at least, to
implement change according to their consciences and not their pocketbooks. What
they do then is up to them. The artificial economy is peeled away and everyone
is given direct access to the real economy. Environmental destruction may still
take place, but the system itself doesn’t artificially reward destructive
10. What Can Be Done Right Now?
people would like a solution that can be implemented right away. Well
there is something that can be done. Unemployed people hold the key. This is
one unclaimed, unused resource of society: The unused person. These are the
people with skills, abilities, and lots of time on their hands. It's an amazing
resource that needs only to be organized and put to use.
unemployed people simply need to get together and organize themselves
into groups. I'm not talking about a mere strike. Sure, when workers go on
strike they take their productivity out of the hands of their owners, but they
do not rededicate that productivity to themselselves as a group. Hence they
disadvantage themselves as well as their owners and so they can only hold out
for a limited time. They essentailly start an economic war with an enemy who
has all the weapons.
should they do? Well, they then dedicate themselcves to donating their work to
each other, instead of to their employers. They haven't decided what they will
do yet, but first they make a committment to each other that whatever it is,
they will share the proceeds amonst themselves, (and maybe with others less
fortunate, as they wish). The idea is that they stop contributing the fruits of
their labour to empower their own enslavement. They share it more or less
equally amongst themselves, or at least direct it to causes they want to
support. This is the approach I took myself in writing this document. It will
make me no money, but it is contributed to the cause.
they can list their skills and abilities. This list will be far larger than
they are aware at first. They don't have to restrict themselves to "marketable
skills;" skills for which they could get a salary in the competitive economy.
If they can garden, or knit sweaters, they can list that sort of thing as well.
People will find that there are many more things they can do than the one job
they've been employed at in the past. This diversity is one way to see how much
stronger is the new system over the old.
the community has listed it's abilities, they can go forward and list their
needs. They will need the necessities of life, food clothing and shelter, at
least. They will lack materials at first. They have people who can build a
house, but don't have the land on which to build it, nor the lumber and
supplies. There are ways to acquire these materials within the old economy, if
they only had money. Bear in mind the saying, "The new economy will be built on
the ashes of the old economy!" Members of this New Economic Community may
decide to run a money making project, maybe a car wash, or mowing lawns, or
whatever they can arrange and charge money for it. This money can serve to buy
materials for the next stage of the project; creating what they themselves need
to help fulfill their basic needs.
they can manage to take care of each other to some extent, then they
start to come out ahead, and they break free of being used by others and abused by
the system. Something else also happens. The old system gets a little weaker and
looses a little bit of it's power. Also the example is there for still others to
follow, but with the knowledge that it can be done, because some people will have
already done it. Yet already workers in Argentina have taken over unused factories
and built workers cooperatives that are proving very productive. They are still
working within the old economy, but a workers cooperative is at least a step in
the right direction.
next step is to remove money from their internal dealings and reserve it for
dealing with those still tied to the old economy, dealing as a group with
outsiders. Then, as other cooperatives develop, they become little pockets of
the new economy and they work to help one another as well, without counting the
cost. They try to see to it that everybody within all pockets of the new
economy is as secure as everybody else within the new economies, putting
economic equality into practise. They help each other, first to survive, and
then to grow. Gradually they take over from the old economy, which will self
destruct even if left to itself. The goal of the new economies will be to get
strong enough, fast enough to help out those in need when the old economy fails.
Then the transition will go to completion, all without a revolution and without
a drop of blood being shed, hopefully.
Security and stability don't come out of the point of a gun. Niether do
equality and democracy. They come from people organizing, planning and working
together and caring for one another. They come from knowing how economic
systems work and how they don't work and making sure that we set up a system
that will do what we want it to do; a system that will work for us, rather than
the other way around.
11. Managing Cooperative Economies
the Plentiful Money system and the No Money system are cooperative economies.
They remove the need for competition and the need to have losers in order that
there be winners. Cooperative economies are designed to be win-win situations.
Everybody can be a winner together.
criticism of cooperative economies is that people, once freed from the need to
make money, will stop contributing to society. It is held that there is no
"incentive to work" under cooperative economies. This is untrue, of course. It
is a slave master's viewpoint. What they are really complaining about is that
they will loose power over their slaves if we take away their primary weapon,
scarce money. The incentive to work is much more correctly found in the love
of one's neighbours and the wish for them to be well cared for. There is a
desire to work in a prosperous community as equals. It brings a feeling of
belonging within a community and there is much more security with a stable
economy. This is the true nature of human beings; not the stress ridden, angry,
overworked, underpaid products of a competition gone mad with power, aggression,
how do we go about managing an economy with plentiful money? What strategies,
procedures and values will serve us best? Lets look at the features of such an
economy and from that determine our answers. "Supply and demand" no longer
operate. The market doesn't set the value of things, and people get to define
property and ownership in a manner that benefits everyone. Not everything has
to be owned by someone. Even now, the sea floor is not owned. Nations don't
even lay claim to most of it. Neither do we claim ownership of the air, because
we all need it to live and our right to breath it comes from our right to
seem to claim ownership of some things which might be considered strange, like
DNA sequences, for instance. The first patented DNA sequence was for a mouse
that was designed to develop cancer at a certain stage of it's life so that
researchers could experiment on it. It was aptly called the "Frankenmouse,"
because the very concept involves the application of science with little caring
of the consequences, and the monstrous horror of creating something contrary to
nature without first fully understanding those consequences.
Intellectual property in general, may be thought of as abstract: An abstraction
compounded by the artificial nature of property to begin with. Now artificial
things and perhaps even abstractions still may have value. In a
non-competitive, egalitarian society, where people are more or less economically
equal, and the community strives to keep it that way, do the concepts of
property and ownership still have a valid meaning for abstractions,
(intellectual property), or even themselves as artificial concepts, (property in
general)? Some property may always be important to us, for instance, family
heirlooms, things that were owned by departed loved ones, or gifts from people
we care about. It is important to remember that if we devote ourselves too much
to our property, it can seem like it owns us and it will tie us down. We always
seem to seek security in wealth and possessions, but real security comes from
the community around us and the relationships we build with our neighbours. The
vast majority of humanity has no wealth or security and their numbers are
growing. This is a direct consequence of the competitive world economy.
will have to decide what sort of things may be owned and what sort of things may
not be owned. How do we treat things that may not be owned by anyone? Will that
be different from the way we treat things that may be owned jointly by everyone?
Just as political equality means that we get to choose our leaders and we all
get the right to participate, "economic equality" means that everyone shares
in the common wealth and "economic democracy" means that we all get to
participate equally in the decisions about what to do with it. It also means
that we have a responsibility to participate in making those decisions, because
if we don't someone may try to make those decisions for us. Cooperative
economies don't guarantee equality, they are an improvement because they no
longer reward selfish economic behaviour, but true equality requires universal
education and constant work. People have to get out to meetings and be aware of
what is going on around them economically and not be shy about asking questions
when there is something they don't understand. Very often that is the thing
that is wrong.
order to preserve these principles, we need mechanisms for making economic
decisions that include everyone. The system must give all people the freedom to
make choices and people, all of us, must do the work in making those choices.
When we all have to come together and make choices as a group, it can be
difficult. Many people have different ideas about how things should be run, and
many of those are willing to lie about the state of things in order to get
things run in a way which profits themselves ahead of everybody else. These
people are products of a competitive system. The old system rewards this
behavior. Many others, even people who are otherwise very nice and
gentlepersonly, get fooled by the lies and wind up serving the liars even to the
extent of killing and dying for causes that are totally bogus. Lies can be that
effective in controlling people's thinking. So how do we design a mechanism
that brings all of these people together to communicate in good faith with one
another in a manner that finds the best path forward for all of us?
not impossible. It is not my purpose to specify a particular method of meeting
and decision making, but rather it takes an investment in time and effort by all
of us. There is a program leading towards the solution which I will suggest.
We have to recognize the problems with our current system, some of which I've
pointed out in this paper.
We have to educate others about those problems. Once you understand the
problems, you should participate in spreading the word and become part of the
solution effort. This is really the only way that we have to save
When enough people become educated, not only about the problems, but about how
economic systems operate in general, then we have to start getting educated
people together and talk about how we set up cooperative economic systems.
We have to make the decisions and choose the best path for all of us based on
what we've learned about economic systems and ourselves.
meetings, public meetings, discussions and seminars, whatever it takes is the
way to start. Respecting the opinions of others and keeping an open mind is
naturally a good practice also, just don't keep your mind open at both
So we change
the nature of money and make it plentiful instead of scarce. People will be
shocked by this and declare that the system is wide open to abuse, and there
will be abuse attempted and to a certain extent it may succeed in temporary
gains for some individuals. The benefits still outweigh the shortcomings and
please understand that the problem is still small. Poor people will be free to
buy things like food and shelter without economic coercion. Workers will be free
to donate the fruits of their labour to the causes they want without having to
weigh their consciences against their bank accounts or being tied to the paying
work vs. non-paying work restraint. With benefits like these, we can withstand
some abuse, but it gets better. Looking more closely at what we mean by
"abuse," we see what most people think; that abuse is when someone takes more
money or wealth out of the system than they put back. It is assumed that with
money plentiful some people will start buying everything they can and do no
that taking more out than you put in, in our *conventional* economic system, is
simply called "getting rich." In order to get rich one's income must be greater
than one's outgo. Yet people don't now call it abuse and they admire and try to
imitate the rich. Indeed the measure of a person's success in our present
system is how much wealth they have accumulated.
worship the money. So "abuse" is a term that critics would use against the new
system and yet it is the basic objective of the old system that they would
will all this work? Will we all have to buy printers to create this new money?
Not really. Fortunately there is a system already tried that has laid the
groundwork for something like what we need. It's called the LETSystem and it
was invented and the name copyrighted by Michael Linton, and he deserves credit
for this revolutionary idea. Even so, I believe he has never recognized the
full potential of what he created, or the universality of it's underlying
principles of economic freedom and equality.
LETSystem, (Local Employment and Trading System), is intended to be used
locally, at the community level and then only as a supplement to the existing
monetary economy. Now, while this does help alleviate problems with local money
supply shortfalls to a considerable extent, it really should go further and
universally address the injustice of economic domination and enslavement. The
fears that many have about the adoption of the new system are unfounded.
Essentially what we would do is to start everybody off with an account, like a
bank account, but with some major differences. First, all the old money, (the
"scarce commodity" money), is declared worthless and perhaps stored in museums
as evidence of how not to run an economy.
account starts off at zero,... dollars, credit units, whatever people may want
to call it, and when someone buys an item they debit their own account and
credit the account of the seller by the same amount. There is always an equal
debit for every credit or vice-versa if you want to think of it that way. So the
sum over the entire system is always zero, butthat is a feature, not a
requirement. It's really not too important. A lot of people are expected to
have negative balances and that's fine. Regardless of your balance, you never
run out of purchasing power. That's exactly how we keep the access to the
economy open, and it means that no one is trapped or forced to give up something
by the economic system. A poor person doesn't have to borrow money from someone
rich in order to buy food, clothing and shelter or anything else.
transition, there may be attempts at abuse, because there will still be those
who will have trouble understanding the new system and the new strategies that
go along with it. There will also be those intent on sabotaging the new system
whether they understand it or not. OK, the following features and measures will
be useful in countering any such activities.
-- Account information is to be public, so everyone will see what their
neighbours are doing. Abuse cannot go unnoticed.
-- Community meetings will have the power to reverse suspicious or
unconscionable purchases or sales.
-- Community meetings will have the power to define what may be owned, what
may not be owned and what everybody owns jointly , (the power to define
"property" in a way that benefits everybody, not just a select few).
-- In an egalitarian society no one is vastly more wealthy than anyone
else. So abusers are again easy to spot, either by excess property of abusive
power over others.
-- Since no one will be vastly poor either, (every one is taken care of),
there is no fear of poverty to drive an unreasoned quest for wealth.
-- By making money plentiful, we have taken away the "weapon of choice" of
the abusers. The system no longer rewards selfishness and without money to
manipulate people, the abusers will have to find new strategies. These
strategies exist, but they will have to work in the realm of the "real economy"
and in full view of their neighbours. Abuse becomes difficult and has no
these items should be in place to thwart abuse. As people get used to the idea
of a cooperative, civilized economy and it's benefits, the idea of economic
crime and abuse may very well become obsolete. Yet we know that the measure of
a system is how well it treats those who don't fit in. No matter how we set up
an economy, there will be those who not only don't like it, but can't find a
place for themselves in it. Do we try to accommodate the competitive spirited
or do we call them "maladjusted" and/or "anti-social" and treat them as
criminally insane? It's a challenge that may have to be dealt with by the
committees on a case by case basis. We have the technology and resources to
accommodate some support for people who need it. Perhaps there is a way for
them to thrive without threatening anyone else, or maybe there are challenging
jobs that will need to be done and their adventurous spirit can be fulfilled by
the challenges. They may also find that the spirit of belonging to a community
is a valuable consolation and furthermore, "organizers" will likely still be
necessary, but hopefully in a less dominating role. The reward from organizing
a project will not be monetary nor from gratification through the belittlement
of others, but rather from the respect and gratitude from others in the
Domination of the majority will also be a possibility, but that is true even
today. All in all, the benefits of the new system far outweigh the problems, and
compared to the current system, the problems with the new system are
benefits that we get under the new system can be defined in terms of solving the
problems of the old system. Instead of economic instability, we will get an
economically stable and sustainable system. Instead of stressful competition
with our neighbours we will have friendly cooperation. Instead of society
facing an ever increasing number of poor people, we will essentially eliminate
poverty! Yes! No less than that. When everyone has equal access to the
economy, then poverty will cease to exist. It won't happen by the
re-distribution of scarce money if the system continues as unstable. We can
only eliminate poverty by redefining the parameters of our economic system to
favour equality and not elitism. Nothing less than that will work, but if we do
that, it will work. We can eliminate poverty worldwide by setting up such a
system. It will be economic democracy and economic equality and watching over
it must be an ongoing process, in which everyone must be involved. Well, almost
everyone. That’s what the elimination of poverty costs, ongoing
participation. We will probably eiminate war as well. Most wars are
economically driven and fought to determine which group of rich people will get
to oppress the survivors. It's more complicated, of course, but in an
egalitarian economy, the motivation for war simple never arises.
used to be the old idea of the company store, where workers would be "allowed"
to buy food and clothing and so on, meant that they would run up debts beyond
what they were being paid. It was planned this way. They couldn't quit their
jobs then, because they had no way to pay off the company. Essentially they
were paying the company for the privilege of working for the company. This is
the ultimate wage slavery. If you look at the entire world economy today, you
can see that much of it operates on the same principle, although it's more
complex and on a grander scale. If we reduce it to simpler terms, with the
wealthy few owning more and more of the world's resources as time goes by, the
poor go further and further into debt. Wage slavery accounts for much of what
we are led to believe is freedom and real slavery is still used where the rich
feel they can get away with it. People are bound by the artificial concept of
debt as much as they ever were by chains. This is a problem that is cured by
the new system. The new system brings true freedom, not just lies and
propaganda about it.
new economy lending money at interest, or at all, in fact, becomes not illegal,
but meaningless and obsolete. Insurance is also fairly unnecessary under this
system. In fact banking, insurance and related businesses do nothing to add
value to the economy, but rather they merely service the money. It's nothing but
overhead, and completely within the artificial economy. Another way to think of
what we're doing is that we're giving common people direct access to the "real
economy" rather than forcing them to deal through the artificial economy
controlled by the powerful, wealthy few. Once we've pealed off the artificial
layer that lies on top of the real economy a whole host of useless overhead
activity goes away with it, allowing people to directly evaluate their needs and
the resources available to them.
of competition is cooperation. In an economy where you are not competing for the
essentials of life in an increasingly unstable environment, you do not have to
compete with your neighbours for every little scrap of wealth that you can
define. However you do have to get together with your neighbours and plan the
economy and this means public meetings at the grass roots level, and up to the
highest level. To some this will seem like a long difficult process, but the
freedom comes from the right to participate in that process, and share in the
power that it imparts to people at that grass roots level. The ideas of
"looking out for number one," and "nice people finish last" don't apply, because
the competitive aspect has been taken out of such an economy. The economic
survival of each person is not dependent on winning economic battles with their
neighbours. It becomes the duty of all concerned to look after the economic
well being of all. This is a new idea in economics, or perhaps the revival of a
very old idea from tribal times before the advent of money and property.
Switching from the current competitive system to a cooperative system requires
education in the roles of individuals and a general understanding of how such
benefits of a system where you put your neighbour's interests on a par with your
own will not be obvious to all, but bear in mind that it is a system where your
neighbours put your interests on a par with their own as well. It doesn't take a
great leap of imagination to see that goodwill between neighbours is going to be
much more prevalent under a cooperative economy where tehre are artificial
inducements to self interest. This results in a drastic reduction in stress for
economy doesn't serve our needs, then why do we serve the economy? Why do we
continue to give power to the most violent people in our society? Why would we
continue to support our own enslavement? Most of all, why do we continue to do
these things when we know that the power they have over us is in fact unreal,
artificial and only in our minds!?!
of the answer lies in our lack of organization. Slaveholders have long known
that a good way to keep slaves from organizing is to get them to compete with
one another for small privileges, or positions of partial authority over the
other slaves. They become each other's opponents in the competition and are less
likely to trust one another. The competition eventually becomes part of their
culture, part of the "slave mentality" of which we often hear. If they are
involved in a competition with each other it misdirects their efforts away from
the task of earning their freedom and they cannot organize and work together
which is really necessary for success.
doesn't take violence to overcome the injustice. It only requires that we
realize that no one has any power over us and that together, the people, which
includes everyone, have the power to run our own economy as well as our own
government. If we stop worshiping money, the weapon used against us, the weapon
simply goes away. It's unreal anyway.
been accepting stress, widespread, horrible poverty, economic and real violence
and enslavement as part of life and inevitable when these things are really only
features of a sick and twisted economic system.
economy we choose and the way we think about money does have a large influence
on how we treat each other and the way we think about life in general. It
defines much of who we are. It has been a tragedy of history that so far, our
chosen economies have emphasized violence and domination as our roles in
society. It has shaped so much of our history. We desperately need a change and
yet many of us are addicted to the quest for wealth. That compulsion may come
most likely from the fear of poverty, or possibly from some other conditioned
response, but the effect is nevertheless devastating for the power addicts and
society in general, as we have seen.
Implementation of a cooperative economy would establish the basis for a more
humanistic relationship among the members of society and give us all greater
access to, and control over the real economy. Everyone would have the
opportunity to contribute to the economic policies and to share in each other's
wisdom and guidance in the formulation of those policies. This clears the way
for "real" progress. This gives us true economic equality. This means that nice
people don't finish last, but that we all get to finish together. This is
nothing less than the next stage in our economic evolution, as a species.
grow into this new millennium and leave our planetary cradle, we can take with
us the values of caring and cooperation, or we can hang on to the ignorance of
selfishness, conflict and slavery. We do have the choice and whether we'll be
smart enough to prevent this current world empire, (economy), from falling, or
whether the idea won't take hold until people have to rebuild from scratch with
the evidence of the conventional economy's failure daily in their faces,
eventually we will have to find economic democracy and equality. If we don't,
we will repeatedly be presented with the failure of our system, and we'll never
know true freedom, equality, nor democracy.
copyright, Fred Williams
(see notice on title page)