Lord Kubera (God of Wealth) was reading an article published on the failed demonetization in India. He was amused to learn that Mr Modi, the Prime Minister shook India’s economy by cancelling 500 Rs currency notes, overnight.
Quite a bold step. Lord Kubera said.
But when he spoke about the demonetization to Lord Mahadeva (The supreme God of destruction), Lord Mahadeva smiled.
“Well the real bold step could have been to scrap money all over the world. Imagine the world with no money. But that’s not easy for the humans. Even if Modi, Putin and Trump were to agree and work together, they wont be able to make money vanish from this world. But I can simply make the money disappear by opening my third eye”
[Lord Mahadeva is usually known for His third eye. The eye which emits flames and burns things to ashes. Shiva’s third eye is also sometimes known as the eye of wisdom. The right and left eye represent His activities in the physical world while the third eye symbolises His spiritual wisdom and power].
Kubera pleaded Lord Mahadeva that this bold step be taken only as a pilot. The world may be restored with money once again if the pilot was found to be unsustainable. Lord Mahadeva agreed and opened his third eye. And money across the world disappeared!
I walked to a coffee shop. The girl at the counter gave a warm smile while offering me a hot cup of cappuccino. But when I pulled out my wallet, she said that I did not have to pay any money as concept of money did not exist now. She gave me two options.
One – I could work as a waiter every day for 1 hour in the café and enjoy two cups of free coffee. Option two was to help in the kitchen for three hours on a Saturday when there was a peak of customers. I agreed for the second option.
When I finished my coffee, the girl said “have a nice day Sir. But don’t forget to come to the kitchen this Saturday. There will be three more “volunteers” like you. Coffee lovers in our neighborhood are very kind and helpful to us”. I was convinced that going to the coffee shop on the Saturday was going to be fun in my otherwise dull life.
For a long time, I wanted to buy a bigger house. So I called my estate agent to check if there was any good deal. “Oh Dr Modak” he said, “there are no financial deals now as the money has disappeared. But why don’t you try your luck at the heritage bungalow of Mr Fernandes in Bandra? Its free to live as Mr and Mrs Fernandes want that in exchange they get a decent tenant to take care of them and make their life warm and lovely. That’s not too much to ask isn’t it? Their son John left them some 20 years ago by migrating to the United States and they terribly miss his company. The old couple is taking interviews and if they like you, which they most probably would, they will let you stay in the bungalow with no rent to pay!”
Oh if the money vanishes and if we remain nice to people, then the homelessness in this world will end. I mused to myself.
My wife told me that now there will be no theft crimes. You won’t have to lock your house as no one may be interested to steal your stuff. You can have as many or as few of the things you want. You will consume only when you need – and perhaps just the everyday things of your life. You will live a sustainable life – good for this planet – I thought.
The wife continued while pouring a wine in my glass.
You won’t need money to travel, eat or acquire things. Just go and get them. They aren’t only for the rich or elite anymore. We’re all rich now.
I saw that she was wearing an expensive top from Dior that she picked up for free from a mall down south Mumbai. She always wanted to get this top but couldn’t decide whether to spend money. I didn’t want to ask her what she agreed to do in the bargain.
In the world with no money, I realized that if you run out what you have, then all will gladly share what everyone has. Essentially, we all will help each other. Today, the idea of sharing is fast disappearing – everybody wants to “own” and perhaps that’s the reason of our stressed life!
I could see that in the absence of money, people would have to barter. Bartering is a method to obtain goods or services with the exchange of other goods or services. Today currency (or money) is the physical representation of the concept “Value”. As population increased and the trade grew more complicated, money was “invented” to become a proxy to assign the value to the products and services. But money often failed to arrive at the just or fair value. We all know that money does not reflect the true value.
Bartering brings in waste exchange, extends useful life of the products and connects people. I remember my mother used to barter utensils in the exchange of old clothes from a lady who hailed from Rajasthan. Both used to argue on the “value” of the goods to be exchanged. But all this “fight” used to end happily with my mother enquiring about Lady’s grandchildren after closing the “deal” and giving two Cadbury chocolates. Bartering had that touch of “friendly” conversations. World with no money may have more of such conversations and promote collaborative consumption. Essentially we will have a shared economy.
Indeed, in the world with no money you will now be valued by the resources you hold in quantity and quality and the services you can offer. But every resource or service may not be measurable. We may value a person by the richness in kindness and love or value the time the person will give sitting next to the bed of an ailing patient in the hospital. We don’t do that today. Shouldn’t we?
This was the vision of Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek.) He envisioned a future where everybody worked cooperatively, and the core drive of society was not to accumulate wealth or material objects, but to accumulate knowledge. This was also the future envisioned by such pioneers as Karl Marx, Buckminster Fuller, Albert Einstein, Jaque Fresco, John Lennon, and Carl Sagan. This research continues amongst hundreds of thousands of Zeitgeist Movement Members & Resource Based Economy Advocates worldwide.
The big questions however are: Is human society operating in a manner that benefits all of the humans? Is human society operating in a manner that is ultimately sustainable for both humans and all other life? There are no easy answers as we live today just for money. I realized that we will have to virtually rewrite all of human interactions in the world with no money.
When I went to see Professor, he lit his cigar.
He was rather negative and pessimistic. He cautioned that such a system will remain in theory and will be impossible to implement. He wasn’t sure about my wife’s argument on “no money – less consumption” as humans are so competitive in nature and will hoard the resources. Currency and money are very nuanced concepts that are remarkably hard to divorce from the human spirit.
He expressed his concern about the hoarding of resources. Controlling hoarding could certainly be a challenge. There will emergence of “strong” and “weak” communities depending on the resources they hold to bargain. There will be water wars and land grabbing. Nothing will be fair and only the mighty will win. And what about the unemployment we are creating across the financial sector? What will the bankers and investors do? He extinguished his cigar and looked outside the window.
I thought Professor made valid points.
I started to come out of my dream of a “sustainable world with dignity and security”
Lord Mahadeva smiled as if he heard our conversation. On the request of Kubera, he restored the world back to where it was.
I walked to a shop to buy some coffee. The girl at the counter gave me a warm smile while offering me a hot cup of cappuccino. When I pulled out my wallet, she gave me two options. Option one was to pay in cash and option two was to pay using credit card.
When I chose the option of credit card, she asked “Do you have American Express Sir? You will get Rs 10 off”
I felt familiar. I was back to the world with money.
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Cover image sourced from http://talkback.hivetv.com.au/articles/news/world-doesnt-work/imagine-a-world-without-money/