Money is a form of unaccountable power.

It doesn't matter what you did to get the money; if you have a lot of it, you can make things happen.

(There's a small amount of accountability around what you do with it, but enough money makes it possible to hide from that as well.)

...and let's not forget that it's often easier to use money to make bad things happen than to make good things happen.

In fact, you tend to get more of it when you use it for bad things.

Remind me why this is a good system, again?

@woozle Because when people have tried out systems without the ability to acquire money, there's still unaccountable power, but also mass poverty, starvation, and death.

@dredmorbius

Also, @stevefoerster has not responded to my question: Do you have any examples of such systems being implemented with benevolent intentions?

At this point, the claim fails with two strikes against it.

@woozle @dredmorbius An interesting question, but perhaps difficult to answer. Did Lenin, Stalin, and Mao truly see themselves as having benevolent intentions? You'll have to ask them.

@bhaugen @woozle @dredmorbius That's true, although the point revolved about one's ability to acquire it, not its existence.

@woozle I'm neither holding out much hope nor particularly interested in responses. I've seen this film too many time, the final reel is very predictable. I realise you're more the optimist. Part of me admires that in you.

The main problem with your starting ... observation, I guess, it's not really an argument ... is that whilst there've been nonmonetary cultures, few have reached any appreciable scale or level of complexity. So there's that, good or bad at your discretion, which goes along with the more definite ills of negative externalities, oppression, fraud, and the like.

I've put to strypey & foerster the challange of considering the inverse of their argument re: Weber's definition of the State. I'd put the same challenge to you: What good things does money make possible? What becomes exceeding difficult without it? Why are there no large, complex, highly-capable nonmonetary societies?

(On that last: you might well argue that LCHC societies are not a Good Thing. But you still have to contend with tyhe absence of any nonmonetary examples.)

@dredmorbius @woozle
Evgeny Morozov thinks we now have the technology to coordinate economies better than via money and prices, and thinks Daniel Saros has a promising proposal for how to do it.
newleftreview.org/issues/II116

I condensed Saros's book here:
docs.google.com/document/d/18Q

Yeah, I know, has not been done yet...but that's not the only proposal of its kind. I cite Satos because of Morozov's article, to offer one example. None of them require total centralized planning, just lots of feedback.

@dredmorbius I agree that money is a convenient tool. I will have to think in some depth to properly answer your question.

I can say, however, that money has many aspects which are necessary for a primarily physical currency but which could be changed or done away with as money moves into the primarily digital/virtual realm.

I posit that if money is to remain a useful tool, we will probably need to make some changes to how it works.

That said, I will still attempt to answer your question; I just know I don't have time tonight.

@woozle Looking forward to it.

One possible angle: pre-monetary cultures generally seemed to work on a social credit system.

That might have been formal (temple grain accounts) or informal (social gift economies / personal reckonings / structured class or status systems).

These frequently lacked, or at least assigned a vastly reduced role to, physical token transfers. But weren't utterly devoid of some elements of financialised reckoning.

You might want to put some thought into where your primary gripe(s) lie.

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