Moneytheism

Like belief in God, money has such a hold on most people’s world view that it is difficult to question, much more to dislodge. Atheists must face a similar challenge even having a rational conversation with theists. The problem with changing conditioning is that people are not aware that they are conditioned in the first place, like alcoholics who are not aware, and do not acknowledge, that they have a problem.

Economists and presumably well-educated correspondents with whom the PANACEA concept has been shared, have been unanimous in ignoring it. I can only conjecture that they recoil in pity and disbelief at the ravings of a clearly unbalanced mind, or that it is so completely outside their frame of reference that its assumptions and conclusions have no bearing on the solid realities of their familiarity. To spare my feelings or avoid discomfiture at having to dismiss what i have so obviously put much thought into, they choose silence. Maybe i will go away. Unfortunately, the hydra-headed monster of the present and mounting crisis will not.

Progressive, leftist and liberal economists with whose work i am familiar, such as Herman Daly, Bernard Lietaer, David Korten and Gar Alperovitz, remain staunchly moneytheistic, nary an agnostic doubt arising to cloud their critical but clearly monetary vision. In the same way perhaps that Christianity held sway in some minds for such a long time that it became conflated with religion, so monetarism appears to be the only form of economics. This would make primitivists, followers of Adam Smith, Keynes, the Austrian School, Schumacher and Friedman alike, all adherents, but of different denominations of the Church Monetary. Ecological economists’ calls for no-growth, carbon reduction, regulations, community participation, co-ops and localization are essential elements for achieving a steady-state economy but those are only a part of the answer, the major portion of which has to be a systemic change.

The only sounds of apostasy are coming from the fringe, voices from the edge. Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project, promoted by Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist Movement are the main protestants calling for the abolition of money. The ascetics would be Mark Boyle, Heidemarie Schwermer and others who have withdrawn to their personal hermitages. They all bring a philosophical and visionary weight to the movement toward transformation. For that movement to be successful it will need to reach and convert a mass of ordinary folk who recognize the critical danger we are in and are prepared to countenance the hitherto unthinkable.

To abandon moneytheism is the beginning of new life for the world and all that is in it.

Obsolete people

Are the American people obsolete?
The richest few don’t need the rest of us as markets, soldiers or police anymore. Maybe we should all emigrate

In every industrial democracy since the end of World War II, there has been a social contract between the few and the many. In return for receiving a disproportionate amount of the gains from economic growth in a capitalist economy, the rich paid a disproportionate percentage of the taxes needed for public goods and a safety net for the majority.
Michael Lind

Cleverly written piece but like so much commentary, short on solutions. The elite do not own real wealth, they only control the symbols (money) of it. That money is equated with power, used to control the rest of us, the now notorious 99%. What jobs cannot be automated have been outsourced to cheaper labor markets. Modern warfare is conducted at a distance using automated systems so cannon fodder will become increasingly unnecessary. Policing however will be a growth sector as greater numbers will be needed to subdue mounting unrest.

What the 1% does not seem to realize is that the great unwashed and unhoused masses are an essential part of the equation. Leaving them out brings down the entire economy. As wage slaves they are not mere cogs in the machine to be discarded and replaced by electronic circuits. They are also consumers of the end product, by orthodox reckoning responsible for generating 70% of GDP, meaningless as that index is.

If we eliminate money and implement a values-based system the elite can hang on to their riches and repair to an appropriate niche for the survival and sustainability of the environment and all in it.

Beginner’s mind

… seemingly technical economic questions have crowded out questions of justice and the common good. I think there is a growing sense, in many societies, that G.D.P. and market values do not by themselves produce happiness, or a good society.
– Michael J. Sandel
in Thomas Friedman, “Justice Goes Global,” New York Times, June 16, 2011

Since the experts seem not to have a clue, it’s anyone’s guess, and fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Without any background or training in economics and little facility for figures, i venture to offer these musings on a possible scenario. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki maintains that being unburdened with expertise, offers a distinct advantage — in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. Bearing in mind also the dictum attributed to Einstein that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler, let us strip matters down to their essence and go from there.

It takes imagination to conceive of a better future. This system is idealistic and utopian calling for social engineering and reform on a hitherto unprecedented scale. The thinking behind it couldn’t be any simpler but we have been too embroiled and entranced by the present monetary system to question it much less to consider supplanting it with something else. I cannot help but be inspired by the resolute efforts of the people of Tahrir Square and the Middle East, and latterly of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What they are doing makes me believe it can be done and this is time to do it. The status is no longer quo.

These are some rough notes which i share so that others more qualified may take some or other of the ideas and work them into a viable alternative to the mess that now obtains. Economics, the management of the planetary household is the bedrock on which our survival depends. There is not much time. I invite your feedback and input and hope that through our interactions a team will emerge to make this vision a reality.

A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.
– Wendell Berry