Why doing away with money is the last thing we want to do!
Download PDF: humansphere.org/currencycapitalevolution
Motorized vehicles and the roads they travel on, agriculture and food distribution, refrigeration, telephones, televisions, computers, and the internet, mining, refining and manufacturing, modern medicine from drugs to surgery to intensive care – these are only a handful of the myriad things that make up the technosphere, those co-evolutions of ideas and things that society enjoys.
These inventions and discoveries, among others, have not only accelerated the evolutionary process to an unprecedented degree but have brought about a new era in human evolution, shifting its foci, that which is being evolved, from the human body (including of course, the brain) and the natural environment, to the human body and the manufactured environment, i.e. technology.
Some of the lines of invention that have been responsible for this evolution are the invention of writing, morphed into the printing press, the typewriter, the photocopier, the computer screen etc., the invention of numbers morphed into mathematics and measurement, the discovery and use of radio waves, the discovery and use of electricity, the invention and application of the scientific method, and of course, the emerging theory of evolution itself – but the list is endless.
One of these lines of invention, one that facilitated and enabled the development of almost every other one, was the invention of money or currency, which led to banking, bookkeeping, transfer of funds, capitalism, and all sorts of financial transactions.
Currency is the common denominator of value that makes these derivative things possible. Before its invention, one could only accumulate wealth in specific forms, like cattle or land or grain, and you could only use it by bartering, for instance, exchanging your chickens for another person’s grain. But this system was extremely limited. The bartering parties had to live close to one another, and they had to need what each other was offering. With the development of currency these limitations were lifted and many possibilities presented themselves. After its development one could sell what one produced for currency, whether in the form of beads, shells, silver or gold, and then exchange it for any other goods or services that were for sale. This, along with its offshoot, banking, permitted the accumulation of wealth in the form of that readily transferable and universally applicable form called Capital.
The invention of money, with all that it led to, is the primary engine that has been driving the evolution of the technosphere, the partnership or co-evolution of the human brain and human technology. It is survival consciousness that motivates people to conceive and develop technical solutions to their own problems, but it’s the profit motive that motivates them to develop technological solutions to humanity’s problems – and it is money and capital that supports them while they are doing it.
It is clear that currency and capital are not evil. On the contrary, they are great inventions, great evolutionary advances, as essential to the evolution of technology as are the invention of the wheel, language, writing, numbers, and the scientific method. The evils which they are heir to are not intrinsic to their nature; they are evils, not of use, but of abuse. This is a characteristic which they share with most evolutionary advances, both biological and technological.
Bipedalism brought about back problems. Agriculture brought about nutrition- related diseases as well as private ownership of land. The development of language brought about the ability to live in the mind, the mental representation of reality, rather than in reality itself. The development of the automobile brought about air pollution, traffic jams, strip malls, suburbs, and the paving over of large sections of the Earth. Yet to give these things up is unthinkable.
Almost all evolutionary advances have disadvantages and bring about potentials for abuse. It is almost impossible to foresee them and possibly even disadvantageous to do so. However, as they appear, it is possible to rectify them. Of course, going back to a time before the evolutionary advance is always tempting, but it is rarely either desirable or feasible. Almost always the solution lies in going forward to greater consciousness and newer, cleaner, more humane technology.
The age of technology in human terms has been relatively brief, whereas in evolutionary terms it has been less than an instant. From the first glimmerings of global warming to the present has taken less than 20 years, and yet the topic is on everyone’s minds. We are seeing both despair about it and the increase of popular pressures against it, and the need to reverse the process is fast gaining universal acceptance. The popular pressures are, of course, desirable and necessary, but the accompanying despair is exaggerated and misplaced. Despite the resistance of entrenched interests, things will inevitably change and change for the better. Change always happens and will continue to do so. Some of these changes will, in turn, create new problems, but those too will be solved. And the solutions will largely be going forward not backwards, and they also be amalgams of emerging consciousness and emerging technology.
This being said, because of the increasing pace of change and increasing rate of environmental destruction, we are clearly in a crisis. Can we arrest, reverse and above all redirect destructive and out-of-control technologies quickly enough to forestall a cascade of ecological and economic collapse. I don’t know. But what I do know is that while an increase of demonstrations and demands for systemic revolution raise our awareness, they are not going to be enough unless accompanied by a program for change – one that is progressive rather than regressive, one rooted in history as well as systems theory, one that blends hindsight with foresight, one that is profoundly thought through, one that is a win-win for all concerned parties, and above all – one that is doable.
There is a famous experiment in psychology, where a dog is placed on one side of the chain-link fence and a plate of meat on the other. When a dog is only moderately hungry, he readily finds his way around the fence and to the food, but when he is starving, he can’t even see the solution that is obvious, even the solution that he knows, and he just claws at the fence and howls. The economic situation is even more desperate. There is no obvious solution and the way forward is unknown. This said, it is even more important to keep calm and try to find a solution, rather than just clawing at the fence and howling. The Omnius Manifesto is just a start, but it is a start in the right direction.
Think about it!