There are many possibilities when it comes to a society and its economy. In our society we have a strong focus on money and the possibilities it can open for us. But imagine a world without it. Do you think it is even possible? Maybe it could be if money never came into existence? But could there still be any chance of converting to a world without it, or is it too late? These are just a few of the questions I have found I am asking myself while inquiring about this topic. The issues at hand for this topic are: Is a world without money a realistic possibility in today’s society? If there were no money, would we have an alternative type of currency? Or would be simply use a trade system? And if there were no money, could that potentially limit the advancement of technology today?
In Jacques Maritain’s, A Society Without Money, he talks about a theoretical society being converted from one based on money in its transition to a world where trade is used and money is seized by the government. He says, “Trade with other countries, who live under the regime of money, requires that our State possess a supply of money kept in a special fund to which it alone will have access.” To me the frame and focus through which he is speaking is almost communistic. He is speaking about total government control of money and having the people run on a trade system. A society where any money used in trade with other countries would be taken by the government and they would have total control over it. I believe this relates to my inquiry because it shows one way of a society being run without money. This could have a very negative impact on the people of such a society. The compliance of citizens to the government is really at stake in a situation like this. One question I have for this theoretical situation is how would one anticipate people going along with government being in complete control of money and the economy? Would members of such a society trust the government to keep the peace and develop a trade system? Or how might people stay motivated to work if they aren’t getting paid?
Another source I found on this topic was on the article “No More Money” this author claims that without money, “There would be no rich or poor. People don’t need to work hard because they don’t need to have lots of money to spend for their daily needs. They just need to hunt for their food. There will be no war. No racists, too, because there’s no supreme race or blood. Without money, there’s equality.” I believe the issue at hand with this statement is people working hard. Who is to say whether or not people would have to work hard? There may be people who are used to never having to work who suddenly are forced to work. Or for others, those who work excessively will no longer have to work so hard because their world won’t be based off of solely how much money they have to make. The focus or frame this writer has is on a society being more equal if money were eliminated. They are trying to explain how life would be more simplistic and reasonable if money didn’t exist. Theoretically, there would be more peace in the world without money. I feel like this relates to my inquiry because it is a different view on how a society without money would affect the people. This person believes that without money, people would have a better work ethic, but a more reasonable level of how hard they have to work. One question I have for this writer would be, if money weren’t the determining factor in class or status, would something else not just take its place creating different classes? Would there really be equality or are we as a society doomed to inequality no matter the object, money or something else?
One very interesting article I found was on the Venus Project. This is a theoretical society developed by a man who truly believes in a thriving society without money. He claims that “It appears that the real wealth of any nation is in its natural resources and its people who are working toward a more humane life-style through the elimination of scarcity. All social systems, regardless of the political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social mores, ultimately depend upon natural resources…” This is yet another view on how and what or society really depends upon. This writer’s focus and frame is on the fact that we don’t actually rely on money, we rely on our own natural resources to which most of which don’t even have a price. I believe this relates to my inquiry because he believes that a society without money could work due to the fact that we are already provided with the materials we need to survive. And that these necessary things are already provided to us at no cost. One question I have for this writer is, what would happen to the society if people became greedy with these natural resources? What and who would mediate between who gets what and how much of it they get? Would a trade system have to be brought into existence in order to sustain equality?
One last source I found was by Paul Piff. He wrote an article and conducted a seminar called “Does Money Make You Mean?” I this article it states, “through surveys and studies, Piff and his colleagues have found that wealthier individuals are more likely to moralize greed and self-interest as favorable, less likely to be prosocial, and more likely to cheat and break laws if it behooves them.” The issue at hand here is, could money be poisoning our minds? Has our society conformed to a more selfish and immoral way of life because of the prevalence of money in the importance of our every day lives? I believe the Piff’s focus and frame in this article is to explain that as much as we as a society love and appreciate everything money does for us, is it morally justifiable? He tries to explain how psychologically money has a negative affect on the mind and it drives us to do things we wouldn’t be as likely to do without the influence of money. This article applies to my inquiry because it addresses the psychology behind money’s affects on our society and a person in general, through poles and statistics. One question I have for Piff would be, how would you suggest dealing with these psychological affects? Do you think they are inevitable whether or not money is the object of selfishness or if anything could take its place? Also, do you think people would be more generous and law biding if money weren’t so influential in society, or even nonexistent?
What is at stake with all of these findings is the potential for a society without money. There are many people who truly don’t believe in this idea and find it completely unrealistic. However, there are people who have hope in bettering society and hope to stray away from a society based so heavily on money. I hope that in further researching this topic, I will find better ways to expand the possibilities of a society such as this.