The Secret of Money: Beyond Socialism

by Fred Williams

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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 many as will read it provided that the content is not changed including this copyright notice, no money is charged for the content and the attribution of authorship to Fred Williams.


           We 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.
           This 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 shall see.
           In our 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.
           Some 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.
           It is 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?

           Most 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!
           Our 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.
           It is 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.
           As we 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.
           The 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 better.

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?"
           The 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.
           To 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.


============artificial layer=====================
    MONEY                      STOCKS                          BONDS
    CORPORATIONS                       BRIBES               etc.
==============real layer======================
   CLEAN WATER                    LABOUR             MINERALS
   LAND                  FORESTS               HOMES           etc.

           Thus 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 so far.

4. Stability

           In considering 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.
           There 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."
           Now if 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.
           This 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!
           Unfortunately, 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.
           Anyone 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!"

           Consider a 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.

           If, 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" example.
           In a 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.
           People 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.
           As the 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. It's inevitable.
           Yet if 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!
           Furthermore, 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.

5. Employment

           Think 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.
           As an 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 slave owners.
           We can 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.
           With 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 own. The "market"            and 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.

           Unemployed 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?
           One 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."
           It 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.
           Work 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 the money.
           We can 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" and "ownership."
           The 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.
           We 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.
           Now 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 changing.
           So, in 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."
           In 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.
           Workers never 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.
           The 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

           Consider also 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 most part.
           We can 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 competition.
           In 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

           Gandhi 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.
           Centuries ago 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.
           So the 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.
           Since 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.
           Yet 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.
           Since 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.
           People 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.
           Lets 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 also essential.

9. Solutions

           There 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.
           Only 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.
           The 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 best.
           Under 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.
           Such a 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!
           A 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.
           In a 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.
           The 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 behavior.

10. What Can Be Done Right Now?

           So 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.
           The 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.
           What 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.
           Then 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.
           Once 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.
           If 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.
           The 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

           Both 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.
           One 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, and domination!
           So, 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 life.
           We do 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.
           People 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.
           In 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?
           It's 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.
           First: We have to recognize the problems with our current system, some of which I've pointed out in this paper.
           Second: 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 ourselves.
           Third: 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.
           Forth: 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.

           Group 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 ends
           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 work.
           Notice 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.
           People 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 prefer.
           So how 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.
           The 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.
           Everybody's 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.
           In 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.
           First -- Account information is to be public, so everyone will see what their neighbours are doing. Abuse cannot go unnoticed.
           Second -- Community meetings will have the power to reverse suspicious or unconscionable purchases or sales.
           Third -- 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).
           Fourth -- 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.
           Fifth -- 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.
           Sixth -- 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 reward.

           All 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 community.
            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 trivial.

12. Benefits

           The 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.
           There 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.
           In the 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.
           The opposite 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 systems operate.
           The 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 the participants.

13. Conclusion.

           If the 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!?!
           Part 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.
           It 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.
           We've 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.
           The 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.
           As we 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.

(The End.)

copyright, Fred Williams (see notice on title page)