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A Moneyless Future  RSS feed

 
Christian Huble
Posts: 25
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I am a purpose-driven man, and my purpose in this life is to help liberate people from the toils of consumerism and money-chasing. It's my opinion that society being driven by commerce is driving a wedge in our humanity and enslaving the minds of the rich and poor alike through a viscious cycle of greed and debt.

When I talk about ideas, I talk about small-scale, baby steps in a new direction, so let's not get lost in projecting and worrying about the entire world population. However, I would like to press people for ideas on how to go "moneyless," and how to replace consumerism with sustainability.

The most important aspect I would like us to focus on is how to show people they do not have to be driven by worry and fear that they do not have enough money, and that money will somehow lead to success and happiness, because in my life, having experienced outrageous wealth and comfortability, as well as homelessness and destitution, money only brings trouble.

I am one to believe the best way to find loopholes and flaws in logic, is to get as many different perspectives as possible. Throw me your 2 cents!
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I too have gone from near one end of the spectrum to another in my life. I think that money and community can to some extent replace each other. You really need one or the other. Money at its most basic is a way for a global, impersonal "community" to manifest itself. It's a way for me to get coffee when I can't grow it, and a way for a coffee grower somewhere else in the world to get stuff he/she wants but can't grow/make for themselves. Both of them are "admissions" in a way, that true self-sufficiency is impossible. But in general, starting from where most mainstream people are at, improving both self-sufficiency and community should reduce the need and the desire for money.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I strive for greater self sufficiency within the money economy. In order to reduce my work load, I regularly try raising prices, so as to determine exactly how much the market will bear when I charge for my services.

If customers want to do something really stupid, I price it higher. Thus, they pay a penalty. Someone building a chicken run, is charged less.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Posts: 2569
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I frequently ask myself, "What am I currently buying that I could be growing/making?". Recent examples include catsup and mustard... I've been growing my own tomatoes for years. Making catsup is just a matter of changing the manner in which I preserve some of them. I'm unlikely to be able to grow the exotic (tropical) spices that are used in catsup, but I can grow all the other ingredients... This summer's experiments show that yellow mustard grows well in my climate and produces seeds. I might only make a tablespoon of mustard this fall, but I have shown that it can be done in my climate. And the seeds that I plant next spring will be one year closer to being locally adapted.

Another question I often ask is, "What can I grow/make that can be substituted for something that I can't". An example would be using honey instead of sugar. All of my canning recipes call for granulated sugar, but I use honey, because what else is a beekeeper going to do? I could also grow sugar beets and make my own granulated sugar. When the wooden handles on my tools break or wear out, they get replaced with sticks that I harvest from the orchard or the badlands. Sure, they might have knots or be crooked, but using natural sticks separates me a little bit further from finances... Some family members have said that I'm an embarrassment to them because of the home-made look of my tools and clothing, but some of my friends looks at them as badges of honor and I gain esteem from them.

I avoid using disposable items. If I eat from paper plates, I am part of the financial system, because I am constantly having to come up with cash to buy new disposable items. I ate breakfast today on plates that have been used by my family since before I was born. I washed them afterwards in plain old water. Just cause an advertising agency says that I have to use soap for washing dishes doesn't mean that it's true.

I like my place to look as run-down as legally allowed. No sense giving the property-tax assesor an excuse to raise taxes.

I'm constantly giving away as much fruits, vegetables, and seeds as I can grow and find homes for... That's community building. Last month I lost my pocket-knife, (Hey everyone in Cache Valley, I'm single now!!!). A member of my seed sharing network gave me a replacement. Someone mowed the lawn for me the other day... I don't know who... That's what community is about. Seeing a need, and taking care of it.
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 125
Location: Elgin, IL
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My two cents: I disagree with the idea that money inherently brings trouble. Money is power and power exaggerates the condition of the heart, so I would say that the hearts of the people are the problem, not the cash.

I think that in order to replace consumerism with sustainability, you need wealth. And you need to know how to use it properly.

How are we supposed to take over the world if we don't have any money?
 
shane hussey
Posts: 4
Location: Sonoma county
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It has been done before and eventually there will come a time when paper/metal money is no longer used.
We shouldn't worry of lost wealth, for wealth can be life and all it brings. As long as we cultivate life and are stewards of the land we will have wealth.

from Critical Path by R. Buckminster Fuller, Chapter 3 Legally Piggily
http://www.maebrussell.com/Critical%20Path/Critical%20Path%20excerpts%201.html
Up until 1500 B.C. all money was cattle, lambs, goats, or pigs—live money that was real life-support wealth, wealth you could actually eat. Steers were by far the biggest food animal, and so they were the highest denomination of money. The Phoenicians carried their cattle with them for trading, but these big creatures proved to be very cumbersome on long voyages. This was the time when Crete was the headquarters of the big-boat people and their new supreme weapon—the lines-of-supply-control ship. Crete was called the Minoan civilization, the bull civilization, worshippers of the male fertility god.
The pair of joined bull's horns symbolized that the particular ship carried real-wealth traders—that there were cattle on board to be exchanged for local-wealth items. The Norsemen with their paired-horn headdress were the Phoenician, Veenetian, Veeking (spelled Viking but pronounced "Veeking" by the Vikings). Veenetians, Phoenicians. (Punitians, Puntits, Pundits. Punic Wars. Punt = boat = the boat people. Pun in some African Colored languages means "red," as in Red Sea.). The Veekings were simply the northernmost European traders. The Veekings, Veenitians, Feenicians, Friesians—i.e., Phoenicians, Portuguese—were cross-breeding water-world people.
Graduating from carrying cattle along for trading in 1500 B.C. the Phoenicians invented metal money, which they first formed into iron half-rings that looked like a pair of bull's horns. (Many today mistake them for bracelets.) Soon the traders found that those in previously unvisited foreign countries had no memory of the cattle-on-board trading days and didn't recognize the miniature iron bull horn. If metal was being used for trading, then there were other kinds of metal they preferred trading with people—silver, copper, and gold were easy to judge by hefting and were more aesthetically pleasing than the forged iron bull horn symbols.




This soon brought metal coinage into the game of world trading, with the first coin bearing the image of the sovereign of the homeland of the Phoenicians.
This switch to coinage occurred coincidentally at just about the same time as the great changeover from city-state dominance to line-of-supply dominance of the power-structure group controlling most of world affairs. This was the time when the Phoenicians began trading with people of so many different languages that, in need of a means of recording the different word sounds made by people around the world, the Phoenicians invented phonetic spelling—Phoenician spjelling—which pronounced each successive sound separately and invented letter symbols for each sound. With phonetic spelling human written communication changed very much—from the visual-metaphor-concept writing of the Orient, accomplished with complex idea-graphics (ideographs), several of which frequently experienced, generalized cartoons told the whole story visually. It was a big change from ideographs to the Phoenicians' phonetic spelling, wherein each letter is a single sound—having no meaning in itself—and whereby it took several sounds to make a whole word and many such words to make any sense—i.e., a sentence. This is the historical event that Ezra Pound says coincides with the story of the Tower of Babel. Pound says that humanity was split into a babble of individually meaningless sounds while losing the conceptual symbols of whole ideas—powerful generalizations. You had to become an expert to understand the phonetic letter code. The spelling of words excluded a great many people from communicating, people who had been doing so successfully with ideographs.
This gradual alteration of world trading devices from cattle to gold brought about the world-around development of pirates who, building small but swift craft, could on a dark night board one of the great merchant ships just before it reached home, richly laden after a two-year trip to the Orient, and take over the ship and, above all, its gold. With the gold captured, the pirates often burned the vanquished ship.
As already mentioned in our Introduction, it was in 1805, 200 years after the founding of the East India Company, that the British won the Battle of Trafalgar, giving them dominance of all the world's lines of supply. They now controlled the seas of the world. It was said by world people that the British Empire became the first empire in history upon which "the sun never set." In order to get their gold off the sea and out of reach of the pirates, the British made deals with the sovereigns of all the countries around the world with whom they traded, by which it was agreed from then on to keep annual accounts of their intertrading and at the end of the year to move the gold from the debtor's bank in London to the creditor's bank in London to balance the accounts. In this way they kept the gold off the ocean and immune to sea pirate raiding. This brought about what is now called the "balance of trade" accounting.
The international trading became the most profitable of all enterprises, and great land-''owners" with clear-cut king's "deeds" to their land went often to international gold moneylenders. The great land barons underwrote the building of enterprisers' ships with their cattle or other real wealth, the regenerative products of their lands, turned over to the lender as collateral.
If the ship did come back, both the enterpriser and the bankers realized a great gain. The successful ship venturer paid the banker back, and the banker who had been holding the cattle as collateral returned them to their original proprietor. But during the voyage (usually two years to the Orient and back to Europe) the pledged cattle had calves, "kind" (German for "child"), and this is where the concept of interest originated, which was payable "in kind"—the cattle that were born while the collateral was held by the banker were to belong to the banker.
When the Phoenicians shifted their trading strategy from carrying cattle to carrying metal money, the metal money didn't have little money—"kind"—but the idea of earned interest persisted. This meant that the interest was deducted from the original money value, and this of course depreciated the capital equity of the borrower. Thus, metallic equity banking became a different kind of game from the original concept.
In twentieth-century banking the depositors assume that their money is safely guarded in the vaulted bank, especially so in a savings bank, whereas their money is loaned out, within seconds after its depositing, at interest payable to the banker which is greater than the interest paid to the savings account depositor and, since the metal or paper money does not produce children—"kind"—the banker's so-called earned share must, in reality, be deducted from the depositor's true-wealth deposit.
The merchant bankers of Venice came to underwrite the Venetians' (the Phoenicians') voyaging ventures. Such international trade financing swiftly became the big thing in the banking game. The "Merchant of Venice"—Shylock and his "pound of flesh forfeit" of the debtor—was Shakespeare's way of calling attention to the fact that the bankers' "interest" was in reality depleting the life-support equity of both the depositors and the borrowers.
It was the financing of such international voyaging, trading, and individual travel as well as of vaster games of governmental takeovers that built the enormous wealth-controlling fortunes of early European private banking families. It was under analogous circumstances of financing inter-American-European trade that, in the late nineteenth century, J. P. Morgan became a man of great power. By having his banking houses in Paris and London, Philadelphia and New York, he was able not only to finance people's foreign travel, all their intershipment of goods, and to give letters of credit, but also to finance and control major "new era" railroading, shipbuilding, mining, manufacturing, and energy-generating enterprises in general.
Such powerful banking gave insights regarding the degrees of risks that could be taken. The people doing the risking came to the banker for advice. In such a manner J. P. Morgan developed the most powerful financing position in America, as society went from wooden ships to steel ships and the concomitant iron mining, blast furnace building, and steel rolling mill development, as well as the making of boilers and engines, electric generators, and air conditioning systems.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Specialized hunting points were used as currency long before agriculture began.  We know this by tracing the origins of points found distant from the parent rock.
............
 The illustration above,  shows a Viking with horns on his helmet.  No such helmet ever existed, so far as we know and none are depicted in Viking art. This helmet resembles those worn by Hungarians. I hope Mr. Fuller didn't present that Disney version of a Viking.
 
shane hussey
Posts: 4
Location: Sonoma county
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Yeah, I thought the same thing about the helmet. not sure what his thinking with it was.
 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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I guess it depends a lot on your definition of "Viking". These "Bronze Age Horned Helmets" from Denmark are close enough to make me happy...
 
nancy sutton
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Just fyi.. see Boyle's adventures living w/o money... 'The Moneyless Man'. And Zarlenga's 'The Lost Science of Money', for more interesting history. (Zarlenga shows that it is the banksters' ability to control the supply of money that gives them their power...there have been historical instances where non-debt $$ worked very well.. even in colonial America.) Modern $$ is a form of debt... see David Graeber's 'Debt: The First 5,000 Years'. Apparently it is well known to anthropologists that prehistoric human groups used 'mutual obligation' to distribute 'goods and services'... and it worked :) Even Aristotle knew that usury was unnatural.

Charles Eisenstein (among many others), 'Sacred Economy', has written about sustainable alternatives. He's put his essays online ... read them for free :) Start here..
http://charleseisenstein.net/the-ascent-of-humanity/

I think this subject is at the dark heart of our culture's destructiveness. We have to learn to connect directly with one another, with wilderness, with life.. beyond the intermediation and commodification of money. And it is gong to take us ALL coming to the realization that we are not alone, individual, separate... but ... ... (fill in the blank with terms of your choice.. but know we're in this together ;)

(This is probably OT, and I shall acquiese to my removal, but might I suggest that we try to get certain educational memes into general circulation? As vampires and zombies seem to be popular ideas in our current culture/media, how about 'Wall Street Vampires" and "zombie consumers", "zombie voters", etc... after all, the FIRE sector ('Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, i.e., the bags of money seeking only usurial growth) feeds of off the 'brain dead'. This language may seem too 'colorful', but remember other successful memes (for good or ill) - Margaret Thatcher's false 'T.I.N.A.' i.e., 'There Is No Alternative'; the Occupy Wall Street's clarifying '1% vs 99%'; the untrue 'Death Tax', re: the Estate Tax, etc., etc. Memes are powerful .. see George Lakoff et al.)
 
Josef Theisen
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Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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Money, in and of itself, is not evil. It is simply a tool for social interaction. It is almost instinctual. Left to themselves, third graders will create money. They will barter for gum, or trading cards or beads or some item that has attained value in their social circle.

Money has evolved through the centuries. First appearing as an item or commodity. Feathers, shells, beads, tobacco, sticks with notches on them, giant carved stones.... The list of items that humans have used for money through the ages is enormous. Then money went through it's first major evolution when we started using metals. Primarily gold and silver, and usually cast into specific shapes and denominations. In the middle ages, people would leave their heavy gold with the goldsmith and receive a paper receipt to claim it later. It didn't take them long to realize that it was easier to trade the receipts than to actually get the gold and move it around and we entered the era of paper bills that were backed by precious metals. The second transformation of money.

Fast forward to the United States under Nixon, and people have become so accustomed to using paper bills, that they no longer needed any backing to function. Thus we enter the third great evolution. The gold standard is abandoned, and we begin to use fiat money, otherwise known as "It has value because I said so!" This form of money has detached itself from the real world of tangible things and has allowed for some pretty disturbing behavior. It is created by a privately owned banking cartel called the Federal Reserve, and it's value seems to be derived from the threat of violence. It makes insanity, such as fractional reserve banking, derivatives, and credit default swaps possible. It has allowed a system of parasitic, rent seeking behavior to flourish and grow. Grow to the point that, I am supposed to sit here and accept the proposition that 15 minutes of time for a CEO or Stock Broker is equivalent to 40 years of my hard labor.

The problems we see are not intrinsic to the concept of money, only to the current iteration of money.

In 2008 a radical new invention by the anonymous person or persons known as Satoshi Nakamoto has opened the doors to the fourth major change in the form of money. A distributed ledger of ownership. A way to send value securely over an untrusted network. Just as we use this network of computers to exchange ideas, and receive information that would be otherwise inaccessible, bitcoin is allowing a new era of economic activity that was never possible before.

No more excluding 6 billion people from the financial world. No more middlemen taking a cut of the profits without adding any value to the system. No more banks creating money out of thin air and devaluing our savings.

Bitcoin as a currency, may or may not be the iteration of this technology that the world embraces. But the world will embrace this technology, just like it is embracing the internet, because it is advantageous to the individual to do so. And I have no doubt that the world will be a better place for it!
 
Ron Helwig
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Josef Theisen wrote:Money, in and of itself, is not evil. It is simply a tool for social interaction.


Truth.

Josef Theisen wrote:
Fast forward to the United States under Nixon, and people have become so accustomed to using paper bills, that they no longer needed any backing to function. Thus we enter the third great evolution. The gold standard is abandoned, and we begin to use fiat money, otherwise known as "It has value because I said so!" This form of money has detached itself from the real world of tangible things and has allowed for some pretty disturbing behavior. It is created by a privately owned banking cartel called the Federal Reserve, and it's value seems to be derived from the threat of violence. It makes insanity, such as fractional reserve banking, derivatives, and credit default swaps possible. It has allowed a system of parasitic, rent seeking behavior to flourish and grow. Grow to the point that, I am supposed to sit here and accept the proposition that 15 minutes of time for a CEO or Stock Broker is equivalent to 40 years of my hard labor.

The problems we see are not intrinsic to the concept of money, only to the current iteration of money.


Money basically allows barter to scale up. A farmer in Montana isn't going to directly trade his food for a smart phone from a tradesman in Taiwan, but using money that can happen.

I think of this (the Nixon/Federal Reserve) more as a case of switching the basis of the currency from wealth to debt. Before the system was set up to trade already earned wealth in the form of precious metal (or its representation), which meant a solid base. The amount of money stock was tied to how much value had been produced. After, the system was based on debt. New money is created by banks when loans are created (with interest), so the amount of money stock is related not to reality but desire. And the interest means that the amount of money must grow more quickly than the wealth being produced. If it doesn't then we enter a depression. Thus, debt based monetary systems are unsustainable as they require growth above what would occur naturally.

LETS systems try to make these sort of barter & mutual obligation systems scale up, but without a sound and stable monetary basis people have a hard time doing economic calculations. They are debt based so they also create unsustainable conditions if allowed to go unchecked. [i.e. they need to be quickly mutually clearing with no interest. But that gives lenders less incentive to give out loans.]

What I see hopefully happening and having good potential is a sound wealth based currency as the primary money that gets used most of the time, with an automatically clearing peer to peer LETS type system as the loan system that gives the economy the flexibility needed.

Bitcoin seems to be a good digital money system, but it isn't perfect. For one thing, it cannot be an in-person physical money - that is, you cannot physically hand some bitcoin to another person anonymously, you have to send it digitally. Precious metal systems, such as my own Shire Silver gold and silver cards, have the opposite problem in that they work well as physical in-person money but cannot be digital. I envision a dual monetary system where most transactions are digital based on bitcoin or bitcoin like tech, local transactions happen with easy to use wealth based currency, and loans happen with Ripple or other LETS-like systems denominated in BTC or gold.
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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Wow, great response!

I have to agree that having debt based money that is dependant on endless growth is a major driving force in many of the problems we face.

Certainly there will always be a place for physical exchanges. Barter, not just of items, but also of time, labor, reputation, and favours is such a huge part of the true basis of wealth for any society, and these things can not be quantified and put in a ledger so easily. But beyond our local circle, when we trade with enemies and strangers, we must have some system that can keep track of value. For the first time since the days when commodities acted as cash, we have a method to do that which didn't require a central authority to operate and I am just so excited to see where that can take us.

But I do have to correct you and say that you can actually hand someone some bitcoin. You can put the private keys on a piece of paper or stamp them in metal and exchange them that way. Of course (unless you are freaky good at math) you would need help from a machine to verify that the numbers you receive are valid and really do correspond to value locked on the blockchain. But those kinds of machines are getting cheaper and more accessible every day.
 
Ron Helwig
Posts: 130
Location: New Hampshire
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Josef Theisen wrote:
But I do have to correct you and say that you can actually hand someone some bitcoin. You can put the private keys on a piece of paper or stamp them in metal and exchange them that way. Of course (unless you are freaky good at math) you would need help from a machine to verify that the numbers you receive are valid and really do correspond to value locked on the blockchain. But those kinds of machines are getting cheaper and more accessible every day.


The problem with trying to do that as a currency is that it requires you to trust everyone that has held that piece of paper (or whatever physical form) to not keep the private key. I trust Mike Caldwell so if I got a Casascius coin directly from him I'd be OK with keeping it as is or even adding more to it, but if you had no idea who Caldwell is then why would you trust that I'm giving you something that can't be stolen from you? And if I didn't get it directly from Caldwell then in order to trust that the funds don't get swept from me by one of the previous holders I'd have to know and trust all of them. And what happens if someone simply sees your piece of paper (such as with a camera)? Some poor fool showed their paper wallet on a live TV show not long ago and it got swept within minutes. And the hologram Caldwell used to protect the private keys was defeated as well in that you can remove the hologram and replace it without it being detectable.

BTW, its trivially easy (for a programmer) to write a simple program that regularly checks an address' balance, and sweeps it if it goes above a certain value (or whatever criteria you might imagine). I wrote one a while back to do just that ( https://github.com/rhelwig/coinsweep ) mostly for the practice (as well as to learn how to use github).

That's the same reason why digital gold doesn't work. It requires you to trust third parties to hold up their end of the bargain: that they will faithfully and accurately store the gold backing and not allow it to get stolen or seized.

In both cases, physical bitcoin and digital gold, the requirement to trust third parties makes it impractical.

[Of course paper wallets are fine as safe bitcoin storage. I do that myself.]
 
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