One great wish: A world with no money
If I were “miss universe” standing in my bikini before the world and were asked “what’s your greatest wish for the world?” my answer would be:
A world that has outgrown money
I use the word “outgrown” very intentionally. There are some folks out there who have genuinely outgrown money; not that they don’t still need it (we all need money, because the world hasn’t outgrown it yet) but that money itself no longer provides a powerful motivating force in their lives.
Money is necessary in our current world
What exactly is money?
Well, when you crack down on it, money is nothing more or less than a a lot of metal coins and paper notes, along with electronic signals in computer systems. That’s all money really is. The concept of “value” is merely something we humans have invented; yes, money has “value”, but only because we have all agreed that it should have value. It is nothing more or less than a social convention.
Money is the great motivator of mankind. People are driven to acquire wealth– and so they go get educated, go get jobs, etc. I’m sure we’d all agree that if we removed money from the equation hardly anyone would get educated and would work the way we do. Money, in this sense, solves the great problem of human laziness.
But aside from that, what is money — if not a way to motivate people to act and work who might otherwise not be motivated?
Nothing of course.
But … Money, and folks like me
Susan Cain, in her book “Quiet” reports that introverts tend to be less reward driven, and as a result are less affected by the standard drivers of human life (The accumulation of wealth, power, prominence, etc.) — I am such a person.
I reckon there are more people out there like me than we may think. I wish for the day that money goes the way of the dinosaurs. It may never happen.
In this really cool scene of Star Trek First Contact, Jean Luc Picard explains the economics of the 24th century Star Trek universe:
“The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives, we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity”
In a totally different clip the same concept is explored, some humans somehow land up in the future and wonder what the challenge is without money:
“A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy…”
“[but] there’s no trace of my money, my office is gone, what will I do? How will I live?”
“This is the 24th century. Material needs no longer exist.”
“Then what’s the challenge?”
“The challenge is to improve yourself, to enrich yourself, enjoy it!”
I look forward to that day, if it ever comes. It certainly won’t come in my lifetime I doubt. But hopefully humans will create, propagate and maintain the vision that there could be a world entirely without money, and it could be glorious.