Scarcity Money

by Flemming Funch, 3 December 1994.

Currently money is based largely on the existence of lack or scarcity.

For that matter, in any country I know of, the currency is actually defined by debt. In the U.S. dollars are defined as something that is owed to the Federal Reserve Bank. So, what we are passing around is actually DEBT. If all debts in the United States were paid in full, there would be NO dollars in existence, per definition.

Personally I regard the money system as a big fraud. The mechanics of how it actually works are hidden away by making it look really complicated. But, in its simplicity, money is created out of thin air, mainly by national banks, and loaned out. And then people circulate around the paper and the symbols that were 'loaned out'. The banks don't really need anything to secure the money that is created, except for some other money, created in the same way, or debt certificates saying that one will pay something back later.

Well, that wasn't the main thing I wanted to talk about here. I am bringing it up mainly as a lead-in to discussing how we might move towards an economy based on different paradigms.

I would LIKE the economy, and our whole society, to be based more on abundance, on the idea that there is plenty of everything for everybody. If there isn't enough, I would like to have systems in place that promote that an abundance is created. And I would like this to happen naturally and voluntarily, without a need for an oppressive system that forces people to do it like that.

That is somewhat utopian at this point, but I do see trends leading in that direction, and in part that is what might get to materialize more through groups like this.

The current system is that one makes more money by making one's services more scarce. Like, if I have something, a skill or a product, and I get people to really want it, and then I play hard to get, and only reluctantly provide it, for a sizable fee. That adds up to financial success.

>From a whole system perspective, I would consider that both wasteful, inefficient and unethical. You drum up some excitement (advertisement) for something that might not at all be what is really needed. You spend lots of resources on making it appear more attractive than it really is so that people will want it. You will also most likely spend resources on making sure that it is not available any other way than through you, for the fee you ask for. You will protect your copyrights, you will keep secret how exactly you make the product, you will lock it up in warehouses, and so forth.

Part of the market mechanics is to get something into people's hands that they want, which is a good thing. But a large percentage of the effort is spent, not on actually filling the needs that are actually there, but on creating artificial needs, trying to out-maneuver others who provide similar products, trying to keep people from getting the product too easily, etc. The main focus is usually not the needs that need to be filled, or the actual results and benefits, but rather a need for profit, in terms of dollar amounts in the bank.

I was thinking of this while I was staying at a hotel in Munich airport last week. It was a fancy and rather expensive hotel. But what really turns me off is that on top of that, everything that I might desire costs a chunk extra. If I want a glass of water, yes sure, there is a bottle of water in the minibar, costing $4, and a system for me to record what I buy. If I want to watch a movie, sure I can do that, but it costs $10. As in most hotels, a system has been designed and added to the function of the TV to keep me from watching movies unless my credit card gets charged.

Now, I enjoy SO much more if I am staying somewhere and I find that there are free extras. Even if the room was expensive, it is such a nice thing to find a bowl of fruit and a bottle of water on the table. I then notice that the focus was on making my stay comfortable, rather than on ripping me off as thoroughly as possible. It is not a matter of the total cost, but of the intention of somebody to provide service.

In part the trouble is that what we all use and appear to need are those pieces of paper that have been defined by the national banks to be the currency of exchange. And those pieces of paper are inherently tied in with the idea that something is always OWED. Somehow the system is rigged so that we never quite seem to have enough of them, they are something to guard, and something one is forced to get more of in order to survive.

We could say that, metaphysically speaking, our currencies embody and radiate concepts and feelings of greed, lack, debt, work, effort and materiality.

I don't think that money will ultimately make any sense in a global society based on abundance and cooperation. However, in the meantime it might make sense to look for means for exchange of energy that embody different ideas.

I would like to use a currency that radiates freedom, joy, abundance, play, contribution and spiritual values.

- Flemming