PARAMETERS OF SOCIETY BEYOND MONEY
Conjectures about how a society would evolve to change a single but extremely central condition, the manner by which economic process is done, are condemned to remain conjectures, good for sharpening the vision, but always bound to revision in the process of their actual realization.
The farthest goal of now reputedly obsolete communism is society beyond the usage of money, and the means to gain that attainment was socialism, the transitional and temporary disproportionate distribution of wealth in return for work combined with the necessity of the State, particularly for the countering of capitalist military strength. Although it is now less fashionable to offer respect for the thinking of Marx, it should be understood that much of the theory was developed within a framework that perceived labor principally as a finite source of energy related specifically to the number of human beings. The industrial revolution had only vaguely begun. Amplification of human labor allowed by the combustion of coal and more importantly petroleum has enabled a constantly increasing wealth, so as to ameliorate any conflicts that should have arisen in a static or worsening balance of wealth between the classical capitalist and the producing laborer. The conditions which were supposedly to bring about the class struggle have never to their expectable degree manifested, precisely because the energy which can replace laboring, and which is procured with much less laboring, has been utilized to so do with increasing efficiency and in increasing quantity, thereby increasing productivity sufficiently to encourage a greater distribution of wealth. When limitations of that capital account reverse this incrementation of wealth which is illusory in the measure that its unsustainable infrastructure must be replaced, when growth can no longer assuage latent discontent, we shall confront anew the choice for cultural evolution to be directed toward either capital or society.
It cannot be denied that a society beyond the usage of money would be the realization of communism in its idealistic content, but the means by which it might be developed are not those which have been employed, the imposition from above of a state mandated planning encompassing the population of a nation enforced through the manipulation and control of money. A movement that becomes through greater life fulfillment in terms of joy and human interrelation, that spreads through the joining of one with another in willful association, that endures an asceticism toward the superfluities of materialism, is far more cohesive and capable of liberating the strengths and inspirations that pertain exclusively to genuine cooperation, that which arises as Spirit. One thing it is to reach across a future generation toward idealism and another it is to live a limited but growing realization of the actually desired.
Myriad are the goods that human beings need to be able to use for their well-being, and most of those now are the possession of some one individual or entity. Were the use of these many goods enabled through their sharing, the quantity of necessary individual possessions could shrink to what one might immediately wear upon the body and carry over the shoulder. But we choose to define our society as one in which the profusion of possessions is more desired than an efficiency of the usage thereof, and each must be the owner of so many goods in order to participate in what we consider modern living. The concept of possession is inculcated early in life and resides within the structure of our language as a reflection of consciousness. So accustomed are we to the world of private properties, that an effort to imagine any substantial redefinition of reality yields confusion and vagueness. If we are not defined by that which we possess, if our individuality is not evoked through a difference of material expression, what are we left with as tangible self? The fact that we have so become a reflection of our individual possessions is expression of the mutability of human nature, evidence of the sway that capitalism through its ascending history has exerted upon us. We have no other way to think when reality is such that we share but the streets and the air we breathe, and what we do not possess, we cannot utilize. When we cannot base our life upon the quality of human interrelations, then we must find a substitute, something that supposedly is the fruit of our struggle to become and grow, the expression of our being before society, the measure of our self.
Governments exist, as defined by more than any other single aspect, through the currency of the nation, being equivalent in power roughly to the extension and desirability of that particular currency. It is within the domain of that currency that they are able to cause the taxes upon which their motions and existence depend. Clearly, the functions of present day governments would have to be performed by any far evolved system. It is not likely that present dedication to armament production would be replicated in any society dependant upon cooperation and sharing, as warring contradicts the direction of such an evolution whose focus would be inherently global. Thus, no such evolution could arise were it to retain the necessity for brute force of nationalistic militarism, but it could evolve within the protection of the existing government structures until its extent were great enough to obviate the superpower role; and by correlation, it is doubtful that the wasteful dependence upon national armaments shall be superceded by anything less than that reorganization which intends a global responsibility.
Any consideration of the entirety of humanity as our responsibility will not materialize if the sole incentive is an appeal to altruism. We will not address our efforts unto the wretchedness and ignorance of the masses, beyond the development of technological advances which only sometimes genuinely improve the lot of humankind, to the extent of attempting a social reorganization which includes their situation, if it be through a diminishment of our potential material wealth and those were the only considerations. But if we discover a greater interest in working and living together, founded upon transition toward the survival of civilization as an ecological whole, then this forgotten majority of humankind would necessarily exist as that portion to be gradually assimilated into the process of transformation.
Private vehicles increasingly provide the sole access to private property. It is only by the augment of their numbers that the model of the United States can be pursued; and it is only through possibility of a reorganization of the entire infrastructure of human society that a novel and categorically different system of transportation might become. Only a compulsion of inexorable force could bring about the total abandonment of that which has been so laboriously built, private property in the form of the private dwelling, which represents the measure of wealth to so many, and the dreams of so many others. It is only if the inefficiency of society in the combination of private dwellings with excess of repetitive possessions and private automobiles becomes so intolerable that society has with its continuation no hope for progress but only continual decline of potential, that such a transformation might globally prevail; to some, society is presently the fabled rush of lemmings to the precipice in the attitude that the future beyond one's own well-being does not merit concern. Any nature of society, which is incompatible with the continuation of humanity into the future, compels demise of that nature.
We cannot imagine having as our home a shared space that extends to wherever we may journey, we know it only as a place to which we retreat after the labors of a day where we are surrounded by what we know as our possessions, sheltered from the disagreeable reality of the human situation, consumed with the inefficiency of individually extracting from the money economy the necessities of our private lives. When the world is hostile to our presence, then we need our private domains; but were we welcomed where we went and provided with our needs, would we still want to know our dimension of reality as a permanent box somewhere, where we entertain the long hours by looking at radiant images projected from another box about imaginary life situations. Surely our hunger for the image is an unuttered starvation for the reality of greater experience of human being, but in a manner unobtainable to us, except in those fleeting remembrances of childhood when we stood together, distanced from and against, that strange world of unhappy adults without true friends.
Inadequate reason is there for the transformation of society to one without money were there not prospect of a quantum increment in overall system efficiency. Multitudes with their mind and soul each preoccupied with the means for their separate existence, always fearing loss of the flow of sustenance, competing constantly against one another for the representative symbols of capital, with cooperation achieved only under those large assemblies of capital for the common purpose of augmenting that assembly, those multitudes who are we have a far lesser potential than a people consciously and genuinely united in the gaining of their common well-being. Sickening is the visible portion of modern production that manifests superfluous only because it acquires profit, and beyond that, are the entanglements of effort involved in the manipulation and handling of monetary capital, essentially non productive but well remunerative. Crime, graft, and corruption at all levels of business and enterprise take their toll from the potential of humanity. Some of the rationale for the usage of money stems from the conviction that humans are inherently slothful, and that only the forcefulness of certain material want will induce their reluctant laboring, but it remains curious how much endeavor there is to obtain beyond these minimum requirements; the correlation to this manner of thinking is that no voluntary cooperation could be productive in a full scale endeavor, principally for reason of the fault of incentive. This rationale has been approximately disproved in the examples of the kibbutz of Israel to the limited degree that their experiment encompasses, basically agricultural communities of a size in which the others can know the majority of the members and peer pressure has formidable measure. It is impressive that such an experiment was able to evolve in the agricultural sector, which is at once the base of society and traditionally the most oppressed. Although the Israeli efforts were not explicitly designed to surpass the usage of money, they are in practicality not far from the achievement thereof as far as concerns their internal workings. Human nature is commonly thought of as immutable, as if its present manifestations in capitalist society had little dependence upon the circumambience of culture, as if the pressures of capitalism were not a molding influence upon the people, but rather, that the structures of capitalism are the evolved accommodation of economic reality to that essential human nature. That this assumption is false is amply proved in the anthropological studies of non-modernized cultures, where behavior is inescapably tied to the structure and expectations of the insular culture. We shall not know if there is an incentive inherent to the possible creation of a society beyond money, which can become sufficient in force of motivation to propel that society more effectively than the capitalist threat of homelessness and starvation for lack of money or the reward of material surfeit with the abundance of money, until such society exists in a diminutive incipient form. But, we can sense the possibility of a far more efficient production of the needs of human beings, if only we can discover a way to redefine those needs in a manner different from that required for the functioning of capitalism.
It is certain that the mix of social production would utterly change, slowly at first and then becoming unrecognizably different. If the productions of human kind were determined by what they desired to create as a collective body focusing upon the combination of labor-displacement-potential and human energy as well as the appraised concatenation of individual desires, rather than for the profit rendered, what the difference would be. Capital equipment would be made for longevity, facility of repair, standardization, and not for planned obsolescence. A continuation of present levels of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs would with difficulty prevail, for they exist more for the profit than for the satisfaction of their production. And so it is with many of the present works of human beings, which would either be transformed to a more pure expression of their utility or would cease to be performed. We can sense that the transformation should eventually be immense, but we cannot well forecast the difference. Only time would thresh out the spawn of profit and replace it with the socially useful.
Theoretically, that which comes into existence under capitalism is determined by the choosing of the consumer through expenditure of money. Such concept was truer before capital became so highly concentrated in few hands and before advertising a mass media event. Still, a society without money would compel a marked difference in the distribution of goods. How are we to obtain our individual wants if we have no way of commanding the outcome with the required quantity of money? We are considering a diminishment of individualism as far as material possessions go, in exchange for a social fulfillment utterly unknown within capitalism. We are taught to believe we are expressing our individuality when we surround ourselves with material trappings, which are different from every other, and were our possessions to be virtually identical to those of the other, our individuality would be thereby constrained. But our differences are now observed at the superficial levels, leaving the subtle and the deep to be passed over. Were we forced away from the superficial by an absence of differentiation, would we not easier perceive the essential?
Without the determining factor of the marketplace, some other system of decision making would have to come into effect to achieve a supposed greater order in the production process. The replacement of distribution of goods according to individual wants for a system more socially determined will present strong challenge to any transition. We are accustomed to view the liberty of choosing goods in accordance to our means as an essential measure of freedom, without a consideration for the consequence of a society based upon the competition of the marketplace. To surpass this affinity for materialistic variety, a superficiality that is variety only to persuade the reality of individual differentiation, we shall have to know the greater interest of participation in the living process, rather than agglomeration of objects.
The idealized construction of romantic love which has been produced through great coalition of social effort in the arts and mass media, and which has come to represent fulfillment of human being, both emotive and sexual, may well encounter demise of necessity for existence. Society has had to foster this adhesion factor to correspond with the consequences of immersion into the exchanging of money. The myth of romantic love that every young person seeks to realize through capacity to project upon another and to idealize reality, serves to enhance composition of the economic units of the nuclear family, the basic building block within monetarized economic systems. It is the economic structure that forces us to view this conception as being the highest good, without a conceivable alternative. As society in large cares not whether we exist or perish, we must carve out refuge from this alienation, refuge which is as much as anything economic codependency, private isolated little worlds of supposed fulfillment, separated in spirit from any remainder of humankind. There is no logical reason why the definition of love should extend exclusively toward one person, and in truth, it is more contrary to what love in its truest form is, and that is toward the otherness of human being beyond the self. Threats to the mutually agreed possessiveness of one being toward another, in the terms of sexual expression unto a third person, are more in reality perceived as such because of the threat to the purity of progeny as property, to the imaginative construction of life as romantic journey, or to the established sustenance routine of the nuclear family. A society beyond money would contain means of supporting the individuals beyond solely their own efforts, giving them a security of continuable existence, and would provide for the upbringing of children beyond any assumed prerogatives of parenting.
Women have an unrecognized importance in the actuality of social relations, determining how society shall interrelate from the more powerful position of passive acquiescence. Were woman suddenly free from the limitations of her overly emphasized realization as mother, were she freed from an insecurity of existence which is now resolved primarily through possession of and by a husband, she might initiate within society a more ample concept of loving, a social evolution beyond the identification of sexual pair bonding with love, the expression of economic necessity translated into romanticism. The social isolation of the nuclear family may prove not to be the desired ideal, were the forces that compel such repetitive inculcation of the ideal, no longer manifest.
Transformation of the manner by which we idealize the realization of life from that of the nuclear family and child rearing unto a more social expression of love may furthermore be indispensable for the adequate diminishment of birth rate, that tendency to seek life's meaning in the propagation of offspring which will ever threaten humankind's endeavor to construct a sustainable economic reality. Because we are isolated from any other realm of loving, that which we might procreate stands as the most obtainable eradication of our solitude. The fact that the consequence of money separation compels us toward this solution in life makes the usage of money questionable as tolerable force. Imperative that we find a way to extend our domain of the beloved so that we do not have to depend upon the isolated economic unit of the nuclear family for our fullest life realization. This is the kernel of our social starvation, unrecognized.
Ability to enhance one's gain from transaction with another through the usage of the lie, has converted business into that in which only the naively innocent assume the workings to be based upon truth. The lie is used to varying degrees within different economic realities and to varying consequent limitations of cooperation due to the constant necessity to suspect the lie, and has its primary impulse as preservation or enhancement of circumstance of self. To the degree that it exists openly within business affects the remaining permeation into society; its usage can even become considered the social norm, supposedly to smooth the blunt edges of a more brutal truth. What is little appreciated about the truth is that the pursuit thereof cannot be realized with a tendency toward lying which, like the pursuit of truth, is learned only through diligent practice; and, there are realms of human potential which can only be accessed by reverence for the truth, realms of highest worth and capacity. Redefinition of society to that in which there were no personal gain to be gotten from the lie, but instead only disintegration of cooperating potential, would put into ascendance a tendency toward truth and the greater capacities of realization dependant upon such truth.
Human potential is greatly delineated by the evolutionary attainment
of the circumambient environment. Only with great effort and lonely searching
can the individual amply exceed the examples of living consciousness which
other beings present, for where there are no guides and no known ways, the
journey can only be one composed of knowledge struggled for amidst equivocation.
The higher realms of human potential cannot evolve in a system of economic
interrelation that demands supremacy of the ego as the human expression of
economic relation. We cannot ascend when we cannot sustain an existence with
the projection of love toward the otherness of human being. The chains that
we wear are for the evolution of the tools of existence, through the bearing
of the yoke of capitalism. These chains will remain with us until we are seers
enough to identify their heaviness, and wise enough to cast them from us.