A No Money World

November 16, 2011

Political Theory


Have you ever wondered about a world in which money did not exist and an economy did not exist?

I have always thought about what would be the consequences and what would be the benefits of such a world. To think about it, it would be a Marxist-socialist type of society where everyone was equal and there would be no separation by classes or no such thing as a hierarchy. The benefits always seem great though:
1) everything would be free
2) you would not have to worry about providing but just contributing to society in a positive manner

This video shows how money has distracted us and a no money world would get us focused back onto what’s really important.

My idea of a utopian world seems far-fetched but if achieved would it not create a perfect balanced world, and problems surrounding money would be solved?
What would have to happen in order for this achieved? Because in this world we are driven by trying to become a high profiled reputable person, with lots of money which separates us from the rest of the group. This thinking has brought upon inequality in our world, and described by Rousseau. Rousseau believes there should be a perfect equality where everyone has equal amount of property and such whereas we can become self-dependent. On the contrary, in today’s society we are faced with inequality whereas people have a hierarchy class system and are separated by rich and poor.

To answer the question of what would have to happen to achieve this society, my ideas differ from Rousseau. The dependence on each other I think is key to be able to live in a no money utopian society:

1) Everyone would have to love what they are doing, to want to become better at it and advance society

2) People would have to be okay with not having power or control

I think these two things are essential to a utopian society of equality and no economy. If everyone loves what they are doing there is an incentive already to keep on working on what they love to do and advance society in that area. People will always have a desire to take power and control, but if everyone can accept equality and for the love of people live in a society with no social class system, then everyone would be happy.

This idea constantly is brought up in my mind as I continue in my college career. If we were able to achieve such a society many problems would be solved, and this ideal society would help to create a society of happiness and a stress-free environment. I would be able to do what I love to do while contributing to society, and not have to worry about making money to support my family or anyone. I do not have to take into account a major that would satisfy all these conditions but rather focus on what I want to do and not what I have to do.

What do you think about this society? Although it is not practical or seemingly impossible, would you be willing to work towards such a society? Or would you continue in the current system and live for reputation and power, and rewards?

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5 Comments on “A No Money World”

  1. hoeylue Says:

    But even when you talk about a world totally at odd to our current understanding of economy, you unintentionally address some basic economic rules, which are also valid in your utopic world. You do, for example, talk about people doing the things they like and consequently good at. This idea of specialization is part of classical economics, which was introduced by famous economists as David Ricardo and Adam Smith centuries ago, saying that specialization combined with exchange can lead to mutual benefits to the parties involved in the trade and therefore to the society in general.

    Furthermore you neglect very basic reasons why money was invented in the first place. Money in the shape of a paper bill for example, is an excellent medium of exchange, store of value and unit of account and therefore simplifies the process of exchange to a great extent. Moreover it solves the problem of “double coincidence of wants”, which basically is the main reason why money was invented.
    So if your utopia is not a totally socialist world with absolutely no property rights, exchange will play a major role in people’s daily life and the easier it is, the more people will be happy about it.

    And if it is socialist, we will probably observe an economic development similar to communist countries, having lower living- & health standards, no innovation and progress and higher dissatisfaction among the people.

    You should also consider the possibility whether it is the human nature, that made people develop a world as we have it today. The actions of the first people to live on our planet were probably lead by their instincts and everything seemed to work out well. But what they did not consider is, that the world, at some point of time, has unfolded its own dynamism, shaping our society the way nobody had intended in the beginning, but which was a result of our actions and ideas. And if we think about our ideas as being driven by our human nature, than our nature must have been greed, selfishness, and all the other bad things listed by Hobbes, to have caused a development of the world as we have it today.
    If this is really the case, than the implementation of your utopic world could be harder than you think.

  2. hoeylue Says:

    Sorry, the first sentence was: I understand what you mean when you address money and economy as sources of problems, stress or evil in general.

  3. ianbaker2041 Says:

    I’ll preface this comment by saying that I’m unwilling to work towards such a world for a variety of reasons. I’ll start with the video. In it, this lady gives away all of her money. That’s cool by me. One thing that I notice, however, is that she is wearing a variety of nice clothing and has makeup on during one part of the clip. Maybe she didn’t buy these items, but someone did. Her wearing these items supports the very notion of capitalism as a valid economic system and shows that even when we claim to give everything away, undertones of capitalism still ring. We can never get rid of it; humanity never has.

    Now let’s talk about creating such a society. I love political science; it will be my major, and I hope to make a career out of it. If we accept your idea as plausible (which I will grant for the point of argument), I have a choice: I can do what I love for no pay OR I can do what I love and get paid, too. I’m rationally self-interested; that is, I want the best for myself, so I am obviously going to choose the latter option. This would be capitalism. If I have some money as an incentive, I’m going to work a lot harder at political science than if I don’t. If I get a “job” and don’t get paid for it, if I quit or do lazy work, I have nothing to lose; with capitalism, however, I stand to lose my livelihood. There’s a lot more at stake for me when money comes into play, and it seems plausible to believe that this is part of the reason why societies with no concept of money have never lasted.

    I’m selfish. We just got around to that. I’ll submit that everyone is, whether they like it or not. When I make money, it makes me happy. To be clear, the act of making money doesn’t make me happy; it’s what I can do with the money. Since the spending power of money makes me happy, it is thus in my best interest to keep it around. When I make $10, I can eat at BTB on my way home from freezing cold marching band rehearsals and be happy for an hour. If I don’t make money because I live in some sort of utopian, moneyless society, how am I going to get BTB; more importantly, how is someone going to allocate BTB to me? We’re starting to look at a logistical nightmare, one that the free market has an interesting way of sorting out. Our system works; we should not fix that which is not broken.

    You wrote this blog post as a University of Michigan student. You’re probably one of the smartest people in the world right now. You are a have, not a have not. Given that you’re rationally self interested, why would you ever want to give up something that only serves to benefit you? I know this sounds very dark and seems to suggest that we should not help other people, particularly those who are less fortunate; that’s not the intention. I am merely pointing out that luck has favored you and has granted you an amazing opportunity to use the system to your advantage. It would not be logical for you to oppose capitalism because that’s what is going to provide you with a steady income and (hopefully) a happy life as a result of the spending power of your money.

  4. Austin Telling Says:

    This idea sounds nice, but this type of society would be impossible to achieve. There would no longer be any incentives to better oneself, other than for just personal pride. The original poster may feel that they would still do whatever they love as a profession, but without a monetary incentive, many people would not. Why would anyone want to go through the many years of schooling in order to become a doctor when they could just sit around and do nothing? I’m sure some people would still want to become doctors, but not as many as today. This would lead to a shortage of doctors, which doesn’t benefit anyone in society.

    This relates to any profession on which our society relies. When given a choice between the easy and the hard, it’s human nature to take the easy. Speaking for myself, I love law and politics, but if given a choice between going to law school and becoming a lawyer, or being able to sit around for the rest of my life and do nothing with no consequences, I’m going to do whats easier for myself.

    It’s the potential for monetary gain or an improvement in status that drives humans to succeed. Sure, if everyone in the world existed only to better the lives of others, the society the original poster created would work. However, humans are selfish creatures by nature, and the majority of people would have no incentive to try to better others, and thus this society would become stagnant.

  5. jsimon99 Says:

    Yes it would be great to live in a society where everyone is equal and money was not a factor in the world, but it can never happen. I feel there would be no point in life of doing anything. Many people would be lazy and not do anything. They would wait for others to step up and be the leaders. But then what would that leader’s purpose be? It would be to have a reputation so people know who that leader is in the future. Having no money is where society started out at the beginning of life. Money is needed in society for a society to function properly. Before there was money, people would trade with one another for goods that they believe have more value than other goods. This how the economic world began and this is why there is no way that the world can function without an economy. People would not feel a need to contribute to society because some would feel there is no point if they do not get a reward. And if some jobs are harder than others, people who are working on the harder jobs would feel that it is unfair for them when they could be working on an easier job since the easier jobs get the same equality. Society today lives for reputation, power, and rewards. There is no possible solution for a society to survive today if money did not exist or if an economy did not exist.

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