M is for Money

What is money anyway?  A number with a series of zeros after it, and the number of zeros indicates the quantity of money, and what’s in a zero?

Without money
Image by Toban Black via Flickr

Nothing. Yet, when I read the news, I read doom and gloom economics. Cuts cuts cuts.  Debt debt debt.  Gloom gloom gloom.  Doom doom doom.  All over a bunch of zeros which amount to a big, fat nothing.

We are slaves to these money zeros.  We pursue more zeros – more of nothing – at the end of our salary figures.  Those zeros, that nothingness, rules our lives – yes, even the lives of the richest.  They may have sufficient money to feed, clothe, house and educate an enormous percentage of the population, but many are so controlled by their wealth they believe they must ferociously guard it.

Does life on planet earth really need money?

I know in the current economic model, you and I, and everyone else needs money. We need it to exchange for other things, like basic necessities:  food, clothing, shelter.  We also exchange it for tools for our work, which in turn enables us to make the money we exchange.  If we have more than enough for our basic necessities, we can exchange it for creature comforts, leisure activities, pleasurable outings and so on.

I once saw an ad in a magazine picturing a magnificent view from the top of a mountain;  the caption read: There is nothing in this world that is not touched by money. I cut out the ad, and kept it for a very long time.  I even moved it with me when I moved house. I don’t know what or who it was advertising, all I remember is the message, and how it made me feel.

I felt sick when I looked at that ad.  Not vomiting sick, rather a heavy energy in my guts that unsettled me.  So why did I keep the ad? Because it seemed to me an important message; a kind of wake-up call if you will.

“Listen up sweetie, you think you’re gonna sail through life without havin’ to concern yourself with money matters?  Well, I got news for you: Ain’t nuttin’, lemme tell you, nuttin in this world ain’t touched by money.”

Years later, having still not really entered into the money game, I experienced an economics-consciousness raising, followed by an epiphany.

The epiphany was a moment of intense of clarity in which I saw life on this planet as it’s meant to be.   I saw it as a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces in place making life on the planet an entirely different experience; one in which all living things lived in harmony and wherein all the plants and natural resources were freely available, and equally disposable, to each and every one of us.  Pure bliss.

It gave me a momentary experience – long enough to show me the completed puzzle, brief enough not to show me how to put it together.

Money was not part of the puzzle.

3d jigsaw puzzle (puzzleball)
Image via Wikipedia

Since then, I’ve been acquiring puzzle pieces.  One comes in the shape of an online community of people who give stuff away – for free.  The Freecycle Network is made up of 4,935 groups with 8,363,277 members around the world.  When I was first setting up home here in Hove, I got three sets of good quality bed linens from a Freecycler!  She’d traded up to a king-size bed, so could no longer use the double bed linens.  A bit of luck for me!

Another piece of the puzzle comes from Just for the Love of it – an international community of Freeconomists that currently boasts 29805 members in 154 countries sharing 418386 skills, 85915 tools and 476 spaces.   I’ve yet to interact with any members, though have just put out a call for help with my upcoming move – a tricky business with a broken wrist!  I’ll let you know what kind of response I get.

Join me, and the rest of the Freeconomists, in the collective consciousness with positive thoughts for the creation and implementation of an alternative system?

To close off, three videos:  The first – to get you all in the right mood – a fun little ‘How it Works Video’!  The second, features Jacque Fresco, developer of the Venus Project, discussing his ideas for a Resource Based Economy.   The last – just in case you need convincing that we need to find a better way – is the first of 23 videos available on YouTube, which together present the documentary film The Corporation.

The Resource Based Gift Economy 

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