A world without money

Is a world without money possible?

According to some sources money is of all evils the worst of this modern world. According to others, it is the key to some form of happiness. According to the latest, it is a medium that meets a need, the need to exchange that characterizes human societies. Whatever we think, money is everywhere, making us believe that it is essential. But is it really? There was however a time when money was not even in thought. Two beautiful rabbits against a brand new jar, a handshake and the deal was in the bag. Therefore in this case the currency is imposed? Would it not because it helped build empires? And tomorrow, will they be still looking for tickets or ATM cash machines when all money is finally replaced by plastic and virtual cash?

The island of Utopia by Thomas More is a interesting reference in this regard, early science fiction. The word utopia was coined in 1516 by the Englishman Thomas More. It means, in Greek, "which is not in any place." This humanist and diplomat, chancellor of the Kingdom of England, described a wonderful island which he named Utopia, where reigned a society without taxes, without misery, without thieves.

With Utopia, the English philosopher conceived at the same time a place and a non-place of happiness free from tyranny. He thought that the first quality of a utopian society was to be a free society. He described his ideal society: 100 000 inhabitants living on an island. Citizens were grouped by families, 50 families forming a group that elects its leader. These leaders themselves form a council electing a prince from a list of four candidates. The prince is elected for life but can be dismissed if he becomes a tyrant. For war, the island of Utopia uses mercenaries. These soldiers are supposed to be massacred with their enemies in battle. There is no money, everyone uses the market according to their needs. All the houses are the same. There is no lock and everyone is forced to move every ten years not to root somewhere. Idleness is prohibited. No housewives, no priests, no nobility, no servants, no beggars. This allows to reduce the working day at 6 PM. Everyone must perform agricultural service for two years. In cases of adultery or attempted escape from utopia, the citizen loses his humanity and becomes a free slave. He must then work much harder and obey.

More created a new genre on a familiar topic from the Greeks, the ideal city. The question then was how to achieve an egalitarian society on earth, fair and happy, and the political fiction novel discussed that. The very word Utopia was designed by More himself from the Greek: ou, privative prefix, and topos, place. In other words, non-place, nowhere. Moreover, the full title is it to read as follows: "The new form of political community and the new island of Utopia."

What an irony compared to today. In a world turning more and more capitalist, China now finds itself at the top in a poll plebisciting market economy and capitalism, while the United States seem to be increasingly wary of it. But not everything is so simple: because if this survey shows how the world changes, it also shows that even considering that capitalism is not a good system, the majority of our fellow does not seem ready to change, apparently for lack of better alternative. Capitalism interests are too important and contradictory to allow an agreement that would suit both emerging and old rich. And it is precisely by trying to save capitalism that our rulers prepare, perhaps unwittingly, the coming of a new world order.

One might think that the crisis only concerns the so-called developed countries, but there is the reality that the rescue of capitalism is also needed by emerging countries wishing to enjoy the benefits of the system. And unless there is something else better to offer (which is not currently the case), it would be better for all to come to an agreement that satisfies all parties ... Except that the capitalistic system prohibits in essence the satisfaction of all interests: the old rich do not want to see their living standards fall, and the old poor are desperate to see them grow. So, it appears that unless an agreement can happen, the two blocks are faced with a situation where the links between them are so narrow, so obscure and so strong that they have passed a point of non-return that prevents them to move both forward and backward. This explains the discrete currency war currently being waged by countries worldwide. Unable to agree within the entities they represent (capitalism is "every man for himself"), how could they all across the country?

It is without doubt that they do not wish to, but simply they are prohibited by the system: the rationality of economic actors, the free and undistorted competition, all this only works when men follow the theory, which is not the case, which founded the primordial error of the capitalist economy. Men are not rational and do not act according to transparent rules which only allow the trust necessary for its proper functioning. As if capitalism carried its own demise, it can in reality lead to corruption and war. Because once corruption has led to the social disasters such as we know them today, doing something like this or doing nothing is the same. The collapse of one can quickly lead to a general collapse: if China stops buying U.S. debt and Americans stop buying Chinese products, with a ripple effect on all the other countries of the world; this is the cost of globalization.

Meanwhile with the chaos that will surely happen, our leaders will prepare for battle, and will be like children who race without actually saying it. Well this is where lies the paradox of the situation as long as capitalism exists and competitors vie for power and profit (and the money that provides the power). The New World Order can not exist. But as it is precisely this competition (so distorted by the general corruption) that will eventually be fatal to capitalism, followed or not by armed conflict which will only determine the place of the winner: the post-capitalism. A new capitalism cannot arise from the ashes of the old one without a global general approval. Which brings us to the inevitability of the creation of a new world order.


Essay © 1982 David Brin. All rights reserved.