During Zeitgeist Day 2015, Jen Wilding presented “Money: What is it good for?”
This presentation highlights a rather important topic and some very important premises about the movement towards a post-scarcity society. Simply, the topic discussed is why do we rely on money in society today (or, in the future). It’s evident that in times of scarcity money has been a tool used to decide who has more value or who deserves a valued good/service. However, today we have advanced technology at our disposal and can start to think about a post-scarcity society were everyone could be housed, fed, and cared for properly.
Money proponents often talk about how money is required to keep people motivated. In this lecture, Jen Wilding provides some examples and studies that seem to prove them wrong.
She starts by asking people what they would do if money was not a problem. Ask yourself this question and think about it for a moment. My guess is that very few people would say that they would be lazy couch-potatoes all day. Personally, I would continue my studies of mathematics and the sciences to someday help humanity on a further path. To realize this shows that money is not the only motivating factor. Furthermore, she makes a clever statement:
“I consider the laziness that people might fear, which is a behavior we definitely see in our current market system, is actually a behavioral response to not having the freedom to choose work that would be quite satisfying to that person and still having their basic needs me.”
In the beginning of the lecture she highlights some important premises on why money is not actually in coherence with the market system vision that is often taught.
- It presumes consumers have equal voting power.
- It presumes consumers are omniscient.
- It presumes business owners and advertisers would never mislead customers.
- It presumes the best possible quality is always a factor in a purchase decision instead of quality relative to a limit of choices fitting budget restrictions.
- It presumes that the people with the most money in society have rightfully earned it through the public purchase consent relating to their high quality goods and that they serve our best interest.
Point 1 is clearly false. There exists an extremely large gap between the wealthy and the poor. In a capitalist system, how much money you have dictates your voting power.
Point 2 is proven false by one simple example. The next time you go to the grocery store look around at all the various competing items. Do you know anything about these items? Do you know the difference between the various companies producing the items? Of course not, you’d have to grocery shop for an endless amount of time before you could actually make informed decisions based on what you buy (what you vote for).
Point 3 should be viewed through the scope of the profit motive. Business owners have a high profit motive to mislead consumers into buying their product. Considering their product the freshest or the healthiest product available places the product in good graces with potential consumers, even if it false advertisement.
Point 4 regards the idea that you vote with your dollar. Unfortunately, not all of us are wealthy and often have to make sacrifices that we don’t want to make such as buying a low quality item compared to a higher quality one. By doing this, we inadvertently “vote” for the cheaper, less durable item. This has disastrous effects on the environment (think of the trash build up from low quality items).
Point 5 claims that people who have gained wealth have done so properly and based off the public’s feedback and desire for the individuals goods or services and thus, are ideal representatives of the public. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell do not want the wealthy having that much voting power.
All in all, this is a short version of the interactive presentation that Jen Wilding gave during Z-day 2015. For more lectures on similar topics, checkout TZM’s official YouTube channel.
“We talk about civilization as though it’s a static state. There are no civilized people yet, it’s a process that’s constantly going on… As long as you have war, police, prisons, crime, you are in the early stages of civilization.”
“At the beginning of World War II the U.S. had a mere 600 or so first-class fighting aircraft. We rapidly overcame this short supply by turning out more than 90,000 planes a year. The question at the start of World War II was: Do we have enough funds to produce the required implements of war? The answer was No, we did not have enough money, nor did we have enough gold; but we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources that enabled the US to achieve the high production and efficiency required to win the war. Unfortunately this is only considered in times of war.”
During the thousands of years of monetary system, most workers have been paid just enough to make it necessary that they return to work, even when higher wages have been possible. How else can the wage-payer keep the workers coming back?
“You know that you can’t go out there and change the world tomorrow morning. It just takes time, and the realization of that does not produce frustration. What produces frustration, is when you expect the world to join with your cause it’s so reasonable. It is not reasonable to unreasonable people.”
Having essentially grown up through the internet, I’ve taking part in all sorts of discussions. Serious discussions and not so serious discussions… all through various means of communication. When I analyze social change and how to best obtain results, the topic of communication remains forefront. How do we communicate most effectively? Do I get my point across properly? It has become clear to me that with the infinite pile of garbage information that exists, communicating in an effective way is of utmost importance towards creating a better future. However, we live in a society that has evolved from dead, inefficient language systems that perpetuate throughout our communication.
I want to be clear. What matters is the full idea and reasoning behind the idea being communicated in an effective and efficient way. This does not imply that both parties uphold perfect grammar or spelling, however, key words must be well-defined and accepted upon in the discussion. It is important to understand that everyone you communicate with has a different background then you. Words, key definitions, slang, and memes that may mean something to you, may mean nothing to them.
“Very few people can communicate with one another. The only language that’s not subject to interpretation is mathematics, chemistry, basic science, engineering principles, and applied agriculture. But other than that, many systems today are subject to interpretation.” ~ Jacque Fresco, TVP teamspeak seminar, January 15 2012
As Jacques Fresco states, the best language to communicate with is the language of science as it is well-defined.
With that being said, the ambition of this infographic is to create an atmosphere of rational communication between two opposing viewpoints where an honest, evidence-based decision can be made on the topic of choice. Only when we can communicate properly and be willing to alter our viewpoints, can we make the change that will create a more evolved civilization.