A Modest Proposal

After half a decade, the challenges and problems arising from the financial collapse of 2007-8 are still dragging on and on. With the economies of entire countries seemingly brought to their knees, and no apparent end in sight to any of that pain, what can we do about the banks, the financial industry, the money-system as a whole?

Well, actually, there is something that we can do. In the spirit of Joseph Schumpeter – or perhaps even more of Jonathan Swift – here’s a modest proposalscrap it.

Yes: get rid of the lot – get rid of the entire edifice and artifice of the money-system.

The banks, the financial-industry, the hedge-funds, the stockbrokers, Wall Street and the rest; monetary taxation; monetary fines; monetary everything. Get rid of the lot: it doesn’t add any real value to anything. Money doesn’t make the world go round at all: mostly it makes things stop, waiting and waiting for the money. So why not stop money instead, and get things moving again?

Let’s be honest about this: that whole money-system is a mess. It’s inefficient, it’s unreliable, it’s stunningly wasteful: a few brief back-of-the-napkin calculations suggests that just trying to maintain that whole mess at present accounts for something like a third of all ‘economic activity’, and still steeply rising.

As a method for resolving social needs, and as a method for managing global resources, it’s a complete failure. All it can do is guarantee that resources most often end up wherever and whenever they least need to be.

It doesn’t work. it’s never worked. Once we start properly facing the facts about this, it shouldn’t take anyone more than a few moments’-worth of thought to understand that it can’t be made to work: there are fatal flaws that go right down to the fundamental roots of the entire idea.

So no matter how much we might want the money-system to work, it can’t be done – and the notion that it somehow can be made to work is a delusion, a fraud, a joke.

There’s no point in trying to substitute some other form of ‘alternative currency’, either: that’ll only make things worse than they already are. It’s not just one type of currency that’s failed: it’s the entire concept of currency itself that doesn’t work.

And once we realise that we could replace every single monetary transaction with just one simple phrase – “what do you need?” – it should be clear that the whole money-mess is entirely unnecessary anyway.

So why not just scrap it?

Or, perhaps more to the point, can anyone come up with any genuine, solid, properly-thought-through reasons why we shouldn’t scrap it?

A modest proposal, indeed: but one that might actually work? 🙂

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One comment on “A Modest Proposal
  1. Hello Tom,

    I still read with pleasure your researches and your thoughts.

    Everybody, especially working people, by now is questionning about money system which seems to be a good culprit for crisis we undergo.

    We even have reached a point where system perfers to give payoff to money ownership than to work. Nothing changed yet despite crisis.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think that all would be put down to money system. It provides advantages when you look for resource for a valuable project or when you are buying on the internet overseas or…etc…

    Money system itself is not good nor bad, it is as people are running it. Unfortunately worldwide economy is not working has an open market optimising exchanges with agents, it is a chessboard for controlling trunks of activities or resources, using sometimes war instead of economy.

    Money system is just a smoke curtain on drawbacks of our functionning world… This is its values and its organisation which needed to be changed.

    Best regards

    Jerome

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