Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MINO (money is no object)


This blog is a sequel to an earlier one I wrote, entitled "The Economy Must Die". That blog exposed the false mythology of the monetary economy. This one will suggest a possible alternative. As I see it, the biggest flaw of a currency based economy is the presence of coercion. Currency use cannot survive without coercion. Any system that institutionalises coercion can never lead to universal prosperity, peace or equality. If we want these things, we need a new economic model.

I've named this economic style MINO (money is no object). It is a gift economy. I'll first outline the system in brief, then switch to Q&A format to fill in the details. Finally, I'll present some benefits of a MINO economy.

SUMMARY:
1. All currencies are abolished.
2. All work is 100% voluntary.
3. An interactive, world wide web based platform is created to allow people to connect with each other and locate opportunities for voluntary service. The platform would be designed so that you could suggest group projects and solicit help in making them happen. It would include a search feature capable of sorting requests by priority (how essential they are), popularity (as determined by a built-in voting system), region, and type of service (ie. infrastructure, innovation, education, hospitality, agriculture, etc.) Once you had decided which requests to respond to, you could schedule yourself into any vacancy.
4. Ownership is determined by use. For example, if you are living in a dwelling, it's yours. If you abandon it, it isn't.

Q&A:
Question- What would prevent some people from taking advantage by refusing to contribute?

Answer- First of all, this question is based on the assumption that there would be a labour shortage. In fact, adopting the MINO system would represent the largest lay-off in the history of the world. A short list of occupations that would disappear completely would include: banking and credit, stock market trading, billing, sales, insurance, cashiers, real estate, and taxation. MINO would also massively reduce the need for:
1. Health care. The number 1 cause of illness is stress. Other major factors are poor food quality and poverty. The MINO system would eventually eliminate these causes.
2. Policing. Most crime is undertaken solely for profit, ie. theft, fraud, extortion, prostitution, human trafficking, and environmental destruction. The purpose of police should be restricted to preventing coercive abuse of the vulnerable.
3. Advertising. Most of the energy presently devoted to advertising is aimed at manufacturing want for the sake of profit. MINO would reduce advertising to the promotion of group projects.
4. Manufacturing. Manufacturing for profit leads to poor quality goods, wasteful, destructive use of resources, and planned obsolescence. Also, many of the items are neither needed nor truly wanted.
5. War. Regardless of the reasons officially given, wars are almost always fought for profit.
This list is incomplete but substantial. There would be no labour shortage. There would be many things we'd want to change if money were no object, so we'd be busier in the beginning than later on. It's impossible to say what the average service contribution would be, but I would guess about five hours per week or less, and falling over time.

Question- What would motivate people to volunteer for the least pleasant jobs in the absence of money?

Answer- Gratitude would replace financial incentive. In the absence of money, generosity would become the main source of social status. Consider the person who picks up your garbage. Have you ever felt grateful to him/her for his/her service? You probably never have because he/she is receiving a pay cheque. What if he/she was doing it voluntarily? In that case, I expect you would feel very differently. The jobs that are least intrinsically fulfilling would carry the most honour in a MINO economy. I've mostly worked in the hospitality area (cooking, serving, bar tending). The main drawback of that type of work, aside from sore feet and exhaustion due to overwork, is disrespect and mistreatment from customers. If the people I was serving knew that my service was a gift, I doubt that would happen. If I were doing it for 10 hours per week or less, and voluntarily, it wouldn't even feel like work. It would be fun, like hosting a party. This is work I would definitely volunteer for. I'd also make a point of occasionally scheduling myself for one of the grottier jobs because I think it's only fair that I should.

Question- What about scarcity? If demand exceeds supply, and the difference can't be remedied, who gets access?

Answer- This should be determined by each community and case-by-case. For necessities, it would probably be best to ration and/or ask for help from other regions. For non-essentials, raffling might be preferable. In either case, it would be an improvement over the current system where the same people (those with the most money) always have priority access.

I'm sure there are plenty of other questions about MINO. If you think of any, please use the comments area and I, or whoever else wants to, can try to answer.

Benefits of a MINO economy:
1. Quality:
If money is no object, there is no reason to produce poor quality goods and services.
2. Sustainability:
Improvements in quality will reduce waste. Sustainability and quality are intimately connected and profit is the enemy of both. Take food for example. Small, organic farms produce better quality food and can more easily be made fully sustainable. A great number of people dream of such a pastoral lifestyle. The only barrier they now face is financial.
3. Education: This will be one of the main growth areas in a MINO economy. Everyone will have a lot more free time, and the opportunity to share and acquire knowledge and training will be available to all.
4. Social harmony and connection: The MINO system replaces competition with cooperation. MINO also inspires gratitude towards others. When all work is voluntary, it isn't taken for granted, and appreciation is intrinsically fulfilling.
5. Improved health and longevity: When people lead fulfilling lives, free of anxiety, and with strong positive connections to their communities, they are happier and more relaxed. This has huge physical and mental health benefits. Throw in better food and a healthier environment, and throw out the profit motive in medicine, and see what happens.
6. Research and innovation: Imagine if quality, sustainability and social benefit, instead of profit, determined which research and technology received support. Things like free, clean energy and consciousness technologies would advance very quickly. Weapons development would receive little or no public enthusiasm, and so would decline. In the absence of the profit motive, knowledge would be shared instead hoarded.
7. An end to animal cruelty: The only reason to mistreat animals is because it's cheaper that caring for them with compassion.


Why should we not adopt such a system as MINO? All it would demand of us is maturity and trust in one another. If you need coercion in order to function in a socially responsible manner, you have no right to call yourself an adult. Surely being a mature adult means you don't need to be told what to do. If we adopted a MINO economy, or something like it, we could build a civilisation worthy of the name. The timing for this could not be better. In many countries, the average age of the population is rising. This is a problem in a monetary economy, but an advantage in a MINO system, since education and skills training will be some of the biggest growth areas. The monetary economy is likely to catastrophically collapse in the near future. If we start preparing to transition now, we could avoid a great deal of suffering. Every crisis is also an opportunity. We have only to rise to it. What if money were no object? Just imagine.....

19 comments:

  1. That was brilliant!

    Sign me up!

    It's so easy to see how the 'handlers' of our current (past 2 thousand years?) situation have geniously fabricated the perfect trap....

    Times WILL change,
    because they HAVE to... ;)

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  2. Transcend, thank you so much. Hooray! That makes two of us. I published this post on Evolver as well, and almost every response was some variation on, "it will never work". I'm convinced that it could work though, if enough of us thought it could, and acted as if it would. I can't see how it's any wackier than using money. I mean, if you were to describe the money system to an extraterrestrial from a planet that didn't use it, wouldn't he laugh his head off? Would he be able to believe that a population of 6 billion could be convinced to believe in it? Especially as it has not made good on it's promises in thousands of years.
    Thanks again,
    In Lak'ech.

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  3. Hehe, I only recently clued in that the Evolver blogs get so much more response than these Blogger sites.

    Your thoughts mirror my own very closely. I've been envisioning how this way of doing things would work. I feel ripe to start transitioning toward it myself, starting by giving away most of my possessions to those who would have use for them. A gift economy is inherently resistant to exploitation, once it's up and running and people "get it." We would do things because we wanted to, not because someone forced us.

    Having been essentially unemployed for months now, the absurdity of this money system really stands out to me. People want to contribute to society, to their community, it's a natural desire. We let the scarcity of imaginary "money" get in the way of that, and that's just sad.

    I fully believe something like MINO is in our future.

    word verification: wencents

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  4. Thank you, BCth. I so appreciate connecting with people like yourself, who are capable of thinking outside the box and seeing through the great stinking pile of lies.
    Other solutions, such as demerrage currency, have been advocated to replace the current system and most would be an improvement over what we've got. They don't addess the real root of the problem, but I'm not so stubborn that I would hold out for perfection. No system is perfect anyway. But, when it comes to actually making them happen... Well, I'm pretty sure TPTB would resist, and their cooperation would be needed, barring violent revolution. MINO, on the other hand, could be set up at very little cost as a precaution against economic collapse. Then, as soon as a sufficient majority agreed to it in principle, we just declare it on-line and start to use it. The money elite would be defenceless against it, since all their power comes from their control of money. Even though they claim to own the means of production, they don't know how to shut it down. They don't know how to build it and they don't know how to maintain it. Their employees do all that, and their employees are us.
    I wish I had the skills to set up the on-line resource myself. I was hoping that someone who did have those skills would get excited about it and volunteer.
    In Lak'ech

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  5. By the way, I'm curious about your screen name, BCth. What does it mean?

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  6. (The comment form here is really giving me a headache. Not sure what to make of these weird glitches. Hasn't happened anywhere else yet.)

    I've used nicknames starting with "BC" ever since I joined my first message board. (Originally meaning the province of British Columbia, my once and soon-to-be-again home area.) Suffixes come and go. "TH" is from the rune Thurisaz. Read as a hexadecimal, it would be "the 188th." I guess there are layers of meaning in everything, especially things we attract through synchronicity, like this cryptic little nick of mine.

    Anyway, I just engaged some friends in a conversation about this topic. They all seemed favourably inclined toward at least a partially gift/volunteer-based economy. Granted, this group were among my most highly "conscious" real-life friends, so I don't expect the idea to catch on widely just yet.

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  7. On the subject of the online resource, I know a couple of very talented and energetic web designers. I'll float the idea to them.

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  8. Thanks BCth. When I first saw your screen name, I though you might be from here. If you're ever visiting Vancouver, I hope you'll let GodIAm and I know. We'd both love to meet you. I looked up the meaning of hexadecimal (never heard that word before) so now I'm wondering, what is the significance of base 16 counting?
    My hopes for MINO or something like it have waned considerably since I posted it to Evolver. It seems I greatly underestimated other people's fear of freedom. If it's too scary for that milieu, what chance could it have in the mainstream? Now I don't think I could ask anyone to spend their valuable time and energy on this plan. I guess I'm just too idealistic and naive for my own good.

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  9. Still, the idea has genuine merit, even if it is too far ahead of its time to work on anything like a large scale very soon. "One step at a time," eh? (grin) I think of resources like Craigslist and I think how easily something like that could be adopted for use in a MINO economy. No need to reinvent the wheel. Why not use what's already there?

    More important than gathering converts, I think, would be to "become the change" oneself. Small acts of generosity can have a ripple effect and self-propagate. You just never know. I prefer to have faith and not worry my head too much about whether I'm making anything happen beyond my own personal sphere.

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  10. (chuckle) I've felt drawn to meet you and GodIAm ever since I got acquainted with your blogs. I imagine I'll be settling somewhere around Vancouver (not too close, but within a reasonable distance) before the year is out. Gotta roam Europe first, though, and maybe detour through Alaska and see the grizzlies. (wink)

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  11. A question: what makes you think the Internet is the right tool for achieving this noble aim?

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  12. Hi Speedbird. As far as I can tell, the internet is the most advanced tool we now possess for rapid communication/organisation. Small scale communities could do without it, but I don't think large cities could. A telepathic "internet" would be better, but we haven't developed it yet. Can you think of another tool that might work as well or better?

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  13. >> ... the internet is the most advanced tool we now possess for rapid communication/organisation.

    Quite possibly. My own fear is that the Internet is just as corruptible as the Economy we are stuck with. I see too many parallels. This:

    >> The platform would be designed ...

    worries me. We have to do better than just to employ a designer. When the bankers lose their jobs they will be gunning for roles as web-enablers. I feel there must be some level of participation engineered into the system of exchange, which allows transparency. [Does that sentence mean anything?] And I suspect this will not be easy. Historically, design on this level is an art, not a science.

    But then the Internet is young, so maybe we have a chance. Who knows?

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  14. Hi Speedbird. I had envisioned the internet based platform as being user created and maintained. I can't imagine how it could be corrupted (since participation would be wholly voluntary) or what that would gain for anyone.

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  15. Hi Amanda, you're great!
    Excellent post, some very good points in there I'd missed...
    I think we could put together such a huge list of benefits for the gift-economy model it would convince even David Rockefeller. Well, maybe not him. ;)
    This goes hand in hand with the true law: Love all creation.
    Imagination is the first step, dissemination the next. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Veritopia.
      Thanks very much! Convince David Rockefleller; LOL, good one. I think a true gift economy is one of the most suppressed ideas out there, even among those who are allegedly awake to the nature of the control system. I do frequent internet searches on the topic, and while I know that people like yourself are out there, finding them is like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. The alt-media gate-keepers won't touch it, or if they do, they carefully refrain from pressing the case with other members of the clique. It's funny, and also sad, that it's easier to convince people that the moon is a spaceship full of aliens, than to even question the desirability of using money.
      I found your blog through the comment you posted on Zen Garner's site. Thanks for leaving it there. I think it's a good strategy to "drop bread crumbs" on sites that get a lot of traffic, like that one. Most of the time, you just get ignored or savaged by trolls, but the occasional exceptions are worth it! :-)

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    2. Great post. I'm in bc and I live the gift economy lifestyle already, as much as one can with money still being around. Don't give up. A gift economy is unstoppable and inevitable.

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    3. Hi Tony.
      Are you in Vancouver, by any chance? I live the gift economy too, as much as I can. If I see something that needs doing, and feel called to do it, I will, because I choose to. I'm mostly spared the necessity of selling myself for money. My gratitude for that good fortune is immense. Through no fault of their own, most people are genuinely enslaved by the money system to some degree. I'm happy for this guy:
      http://www.trueactivist.com/the-man-who-lives-without-money/
      but that life-style is literally not possible for, say, anyone with a child; the government would kidnap her/him. And there is no land, at least not in Canada, that is not already owned, either by individuals or by "the crown".I think that's why people don't want to know the truth about money; because to know it is to know that we are truly slaves. The fact is, we are not allowed to decide for ourselves how best to use OUR LIVES. That, in my opinion, is the ultimate litmus test of whether you are, or are not, owned.
      Thanks for the encouragement. :-) I won't give up on the idea because I really have looked at the problem in every way I can think of, and carefully considered every counter-argument I've ever heard, and I know that gift economy is the only sane and human(e) economic model. Arguing and advocating for that is one of the "jobs" I've chosen for myself, strictly free of charge.
      Blessed be.

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  16. Understand your divinity and the government can not do anything to you, especially not take your children. The creator controls, so it is only through ignorance that the government exerts any control over any one.

    I am in Quesnel, bc.

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