Jenny Matusova
Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems Jenny Matusova


“Money makes the world go ‘round” is a notable phrase we hear all too often. In fact, it is a phrase that we have blindly come to see as the truth through our consumer-driven capitalistic views, planted like seeds in our brains that flower into what we think is “human nature.” There is nothing natural about money, except for the fact that it is printed on paper. No style of government is to blame (as this is not an issue of ideologies like communism or capitalism), but all have one pressing similarity: the monetary system, which can be defined now as the basic medium of exchange- the set of institutions by which a government provides money to a country’s economy; and this system is applicable to nearly every nation around the globe. Diminishing the need for money is obviously an unheard topic for many people, and to most it may even sound absurd and foreign, which would bring up the questions of “Why should we get rid of a system that has been in place for over a century? What other possibilities do we even have?” The best solution, which oddly enough is also the simplest, is a resource based economy, as outlined by The Venus Project. “The term and meaning of a Resource Based Economy was originated by Jacque Fresco. It is a holistic socio-economic system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude,” (Fresco et all, “What is a resource based economy?”) which completely destroys the concept of rationing resources through methods run by the motivations of a damaging monetary system or relying on fragile notes that whisper sweet nothings- all of which is anything but relevant or helpful to our survival as humans.

With this said, the survival our human race is directly dependent on the survival of our sacred planet Earth. It is in our nature to be “one” with nature. Rather, we live in a symbiosis — “an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” In simpler terms, planet Earth relies on the sun for all of its inhabitants’ life and energy sources. Sunlight produces energy, energy produces plants, plants produce oxygen, and oxygen gives us the air we need to breathe. Therefore without oxygen, we cannot survive, which means we also cannot survive without plants, sunlight, or even other organisms that also thrive on these natural energy sources because they become a source of food for us…. See the chain reaction? This is what we can call the natural, neverending cycle of life. Yet coupled with the monstrosity of the monetary cycle we’ve perpetuated throughout the years, the harmless process of human nature is becoming unsustainable- and by unsustainable, what’s really meant is “unprofitable.” In reality, “when we look beyond the propaganda and self-serving solutions put forth by the energy companies, we find an endless stream of clean, abundant, and renewable energy for generating power,” (Zeitgeist: Addendum). There is enough solar energy alone to power the entire planet for ages! If it weren’t for the need to compete with the market-share for established energy structures, we could have all of the technology we need to capture not only solar energy, but wind and tidal energy as well, generating an abundance for everyone to use in equal share — without the use of preliminary energy to harness these limitless, renewable energy sources- since no one person or corporation owns Earth itself.

If neither one single person or corporation can physically own our planet, how can we live in harmony with our Earth if we set up constructs like money, race, or class to only bog us down? The United States of America was founded upon the principles of equality, justice, and freedom for all men, as stated in our highly respected Declaration of Independence. Ironically, this document, which was written to set us free from external oppressors and burdens, seemingly included a fineprint that made exceptions to women, people of color, and people of lower social class ranking- further oppressing its rightful citizens through internalized, governmental forces. Because other than the top 1% of highest income receivers in the United States, (which a majority are caucasian), the nation’s wealth distribution is at a steady decline. With the data we have available on the bottom 99% , it becomes evident that “a wide range of social problems are worse in societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor,” (Wilkinson, “Why inequality is bad for you — and everyone else”). These social problems range from quality of education and access to resources to more drug abuse and higher crime rates. What’s more disturbing is the parallel between social class and race. Although we are long past the endless days of our nation’s most shameful crimes against humanity- the 245 years that encompassed slavery- the monetary system allows for discrimination to prevail and remain institutionalized through a series of biased and outdated laws. “In 2010, the average white household had almost 20 times as much total wealth as the average African-American household, and more than 70 times as much wealth as the average Latino household,” (Domhoff, “Wealth, Income, and Power”), further proving the harsh complexity that this monetary system implements in our society. Money allows for us to create this intangible yet perfectly visible gap between the rich and the poor in the first place, for without the heavy reliance on money there would be no unequal wealth distribution to begin with. A resource based economy, which proposes the abandonment of all unequal distribution of wealth and promotes fair share in resources completely abolishes this hideous construct of “material wealth,” and would finally set us free from the burdens we face due to this concept.

A world where humans solely rely on their planet as a means of energy and sustenance has been ruled out by this aforementioned concept of “the monetary system.” Unsurprisingly, the majority of Americans are not aware of how the U.S. monetary system works. “In the United States, neither paper currency nor deposits have value as commodities. Intrinsically, a dollar bill is just a piece of paper, deposits merely book entries,” (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 2). Money is given value by the Federal Reserve Bank, the central banking system in the United States. They also create the money itself, from which our government, which interestingly enough is completely unaffiliated with the Federal Reserve Bank, borrows the money when necessary. And like any other banking system, money that is lent out is considered as “debt.” Since the government never owns this money, we are therefore in a constant circulation of debt, which is also tacked by interest; “the interest amount would depend on the lending rate of the bank at the time,” (Christodoulou, “Have you ever questioned where money comes from?”). What determines the lending rate on the money that the government is continuously borrowing from these central banks? Absolutely nothing. “97% of the world’s currency is now in digital form. It’s just numbers on a screen! Yet we give it so much power…. ” (Christodoulou, “Have you ever questioned where money comes from?”). The Federal Reserve Bank operates outside of Congress’s control and is able to manipulate the credit of the United States in any which way it feels need be, allowing for the notion of the “Holy Dollar” to be abstract and meaningless. With this idea in mind, the exploration of the economic class system becomes truly fascinating. How can we live in harmony with our Earth if we set up constructs like money to only bog us down? “The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it’s profits or so dependant on it’s favors, that there will be no opposition from that class,” (Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863).

Knowing how the monetary system works fully explains the incessant need for the profit-gaining idea of scarcity, something our world knows too well. Commodities like oil, helium and even water are growing at a rapid pace in scarcity, which increases their value, and thus their ultimate appeal to corporations, on the market. “The CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. says alternative fuels will grow but that oil will remain the world’s leading source of energy for another quarter century,” (Koenig, “Exxon CEO: Oil will be top energy source for years,”); yet as we continue to drill for oil, we are not only depleting its reserves but using harmful tactics that result in hideous consequences to obtain it, such as the 2010 BP oil spill. According to an article in The Guardian, titled “It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up,” George Monbiot, an environmental and political activist writes about the importance of our money-driven economy on energy use and the environment. As our population grows and as we attempt to provide more and more sources of energy, like oil, for this growth, we commit harmful crimes against our environment and deplete the potential for natural energy sources. “As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious, will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble,” (Monbiot, “It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up”). We begin to ransack the hidden corners of the world for energy sources so we can keep up with the demand for profit. The collapse of the Antarctic sheet in the west has been announced as inevitable in only a matter of time. A few days after this announcement, the Ecuadorian government decided to allow Petroamazonas, a company known for its oil spillage and forest destruction, to drill into the Yasuni national park, after being pressured by other governments with copious amounts of monetary compensation. Events like these- fueled by the constant, aggressive greed that the monetary system produces- only ensure that humanity will continue to regress as we destroy these rare, biodiverse places on the planet rather than live harmoniously with the beautiful nature we are lucky to be surrounded with. Scarcity works in both ways — we take what is already sparse and insufficient and force our planet to suffer the consequences through scarcity of its own natural byproducts. If we rid the Earth of its natural byproducts, we are only further ridding ourselves of any opportunity to run a fully-functioning resource based economy– which is truly our only way out of this disastrous mess.

According to the theories of postmodernism, we live in a world of many cultures, values, and social identities, all of which are multi-faceted and differ greatly from one another; yet we all share something in common — something that “dominates the lives, the values, the motives of everyone more exclusively than any language or any religion in history, in whose light all other faiths pale — and that is money, the Holy Dollar,” (Blunden, “Couldn’t we live perfectly without money?”). With the elimination of the debt that money entails by merely existing in our pockets, people would not have to fear losing their jobs and would work towards the same goal: sustenance and survival. If we simply embrace our symbiotic relationship with nature, we become self-sufficient and rid ourselves of this dire need for the worthless “Holy Dollar.” Forget the notion that money is what makes the world go ‘round. The world spins on its own. It is our job as humans to free ourselves from the rusty chains that bound us to the prison-like symptoms of this all-consuming monetary system; and thus propel our world forward.

2015



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