Money as Wealth
In my last two posts, I gave some examples of how everyday technologies such as writing, agriculture, time-keeping, and money all have within them some "mirroring" or "reflecting" quality to them. I went further into a broad analysis of money, and how we have mistakenly been using money as a reflection of debt instead of as a reflection of wealth as we had previously thought.
My exploration of money may have brought up two questions for you. First question: Is this honky crazy for even thinking that our entire culture is going to go back to the drawing board to completely re-work how we create and use money?
This is a great question. And to be honest, no, I don’t think it is very likely that this is going to happen anytime soon.
However, I don’t think using money as a reflection of debt is likely to continue for very much longer without us walking our way into a horrible civilizational collapse. The viability of debt-based money goes hand in hand with a world awash with cheap energy, cheap food, and cheap timber. And since cheap food and cheap timber are themselves contingent upon cheap energy, cheap energy is truly the linchpin that allows debt-based money to continue to function.
In other words, if cheap energy goes, so does cheap food, cheap timber and debt-based money along with it. And it is becoming an increasingly safe bet to claim that we are experiencing the first stages of cheap energy’s departure from our lives.
So sure, we can hold on to our debt-based currency system if we’re scared of confronting the political and economic powers that keep it locked in place – if we’re OK with sacrificing any kind of viable and attractive future for ourselves and our children.
I’m a little sorry for stating such sweeping opinions without having laid the groundwork to fully explain and justify them. I hope you can forgive me in the moment, for laying such groundwork is one of the many aims of this series of posts, and we are only just beginning. For now, please just let me tie these sweeping opinions back into the story of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and say the following:
We are now at the point in the story where all of our accumulated miscast and ungrounded magical spells are beginning to completely spiral out of control. We can kick back and assume that the Sorcerer will soon return to cast the one overarching spell to put everything back aright. Or we can commit ourselves to returning the power back to the source by using our magical spells consciously with gratitude.
Does this mean that we have to wait for our central bank to re-create itself before we start using money with gratitude in our own individual lives? No. We can begin that anytime. But eventually, we will have to unite to address this deeper root – of not only how we use money as individuals, but how we all create money together as a culture. And honestly, the sooner we address it, the better.
The second question: Even if we were going to start over and begin to use money as a reflection of wealth instead of debt, then that begs the question, what is wealth?
This is another great question. I will always assert that wealth is an integrated ecology of: happiness, healthy communities, healthy ecosystems, fertile soil, clean air, clean water, knowledge of place, knowledge of one's past, healthy integration of generations so a culture can remember itself, exquisite adaptations to natural and cultural landscapes, the skills and disciplines of taking care of ourselves without poisoning or exploiting other people and places, and the time and space necessary to adequately gawk at the mystery of existence.
Of course, how we each define wealth and just how exactly our culture should go about spending new wealth into our country is open for debate. But this is exactly the debate that our country should be having right now. What technologies, using what methods, in which locations, at what scales? But right now isn't the time or place to go further into those debates. What I am saying here is that unless we get clear on the "money as debt" vs. "money as wealth" issue, our debates will never amount to any lasting solutions.
In other words, I am not saying that changing our money from a debt-based to a wealth-based system will solve all of our problems. Not at all. I am saying, however, that it is a prerequisite for solving any of our problems effectively on any kind of large and lasting scale. And since we all live on a small planet falling through space, we might want to give it a minute or two of our attention and thinking.
Right now, the important thing is, the next time you overhear a debate about economics, and there are a lot of them these days, listen to it anew. More than likely, both sides of the debate are assuming the continuation of our debt-based money system - where money is created as debt, for the benefit of a few. We had decades of a cold war and many real wars between communism and capitalism, yet neither side of this war between economic paradigms ever questioned the validity of debt-based currency. Yes, there may continue to be very differing “sides” to current economic “debates”, but they are all different paths that lead to the same black-hole. Think instead about the options for a money system where money is created as wealth, for the benefit of all.
If you’re interested in exploring more about this subject, I’d recommend an excellent documentary called The Secret of Oz, by Bill Still.
And also check out the American Monetary Act by the American Monetary Institute.
A bill similar to the American Monetary Act was introduced on Sept 21st, 2011 before the House of Representatives by Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. In that congress, it was HR2990, and was called the NEED Act.
Since then, long term Representative Dennis Kucinich was gerrymandered out of his congressional seat by his own Democratic Party.
Admittedly, I had only intended to mention money in my last post as yet another example of a magical spell that we don’t usually see in that light. And as another example of how magical spells often have some kind of mirroring or reflecting quality to them. And perhaps as another example of how “mirroring” and “reflecting” aren’t really quite the right words for what I’m talking about yet.
The issues surrounding debt vs. wealth-based currencies was a little like a tractor beam pulling me into the Death Star. I do want to go further into these issues eventually. But for now, I want to zoom back out again and remember that in order for any of our magical spells to work appropriately; they have to return the power back to the source. A magical spell has to be grounded.
I’ve stated before that I believe the “source” is the marriage of heaven and earth. Well, there is a funny thing that happens on the ground here at the marriage of heaven and earth – namely Life. And next week, I want to focus on a mostly overlooked aspect of life that can perhaps help us understand more about all of these magical mirrors.
Until then, take care, and happy new year.
Check out the next Clueless Honky Blog post for more.
Thanks for your time and attention