Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Post

Since this is the very first post on the Money No More blog, it probably stands to reason that I should try to layout, at least in high-level conception, what a new moneyless world should look like.

So right off the bat, let me provide a list of what I believe the top elements in the new paradigm would be. If it were not possible to achieve these, one could make a fairly good argument that nothing substantial would be obtained by the effort required to bring these changes about, and thus one could argue that the existing money system, as corrupt, evil, and harmful as it is, might be justified as continuing, albeit, under severe reform at a minimum (although I do not believe in reforming the current monetary system, and thus would consider reform measures as a special category of failure that does nothing substantial to actually correct the severe flaws inherent in the current model).

Thus, the new system

  • should prevent the accumulation of vast wealth and vast debt
  • should not allow for any means to produce profit, thus eliminating the profit motive entirely
  • should not be subject to erosion or perturbation via inflation, deflation, stagflation, etc. as currently exists under present-day monetary models.
  • should not produce or require taxes or tax revenue for the State, which has always been a burden on the citizen taxpayer
  • should be as fair and equitable as possible, resulting in the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens
  • should provide a means to care for those unable to work, such as the old or infirm, or other categories of people who require what today would be considered monetary assistance from the government
  • should be equal to the task of creating the equivalent of capital, but not subject to the associated negativities therein (e.g., venture capital presupposes wealth being invested in hopes of achieving even greater wealth)
  • should eliminate (or vastly curtail) corruption, bribery, influence peddling, theft, ponzi schemes, collusion, pyramid schemes, money laundering, embezzlement, fraud, insider trading, tax evasion, counterfeiting, and other means of perversion that are so very prevalent within the current monetary system. In fact, the ease with which the above examples can be achieved under our current system points very strongly toward the fact that the wealthy power-elite class do NOT want any change in the status quo for the very reason that it is so easy for them to corrupt the current monetary system and get away with it (either legally or otherwise).

So the above, at a very minimum, should be the goals set to create a more just and equitable means whereby goods and services are produced, while still retaining compensation for all those people who are productive and provide those necessities and luxuries enjoyed by modern societies. Such a new system would need to eliminate all parasitic elements from society and require that everyone labor in order to be compensated. This sounds strange, as one would expect that people do have to labor for their compensation. But that is NOT the case. In a capitalistic system, people do not necessarily have to labor. The system is designed to generate more wealth for the wealthy by creating more money from existing money (from interest, dividends, capital gains, etc), and this comes about by exploitation of resources, both human and natural. So the elimination of exploitation is a prime goal of the new system. Under the new system, the exploiting capitalist is out of a job -- he must go to work just like the rest of us.

In attempting to understand just how to achieve the new system, one must have a thorough understanding of how the existing system operates in favor of the wealthy class. Money is defined as a "medium of exchange". But what exactly does that mean? If one looks back thousands of years, prior to the invention of money, you will be faced with the most ancient system of cooperation between peoples -- the barter system. Barter is simply the trading of one good or service for another good or service. It works well provided both parties to the transaction have something the other party wants or needs. But what happens if this is not the case -- if party A has food and party B has tools? Party B might need food, but party A has no need of B's tools. The transaction is stuck under this barter system. But with money, a universally agreed upon medium of exchange for goods or services IN THE FUTURE, transactions can proceed unencumbered. Even if A has no need of B's tools, money allows A to purchase something else s/he DOES want or need at a future time. Money can be thought of then as a peculiar type of barter of sort. An exchange still happens as in barter, but the artificial medium of money allows for future useful transactions instead of only present-moment transactions that might break down in the barter system.

But the most basic of flaws with money is, in fact, its inherent exchange quality. For the exchange of money allows for its accumulation. With enough accumulation, one eventually enters the realm of wealth (and eventually even extreme wealth). This is only possible because of money's other key quality, that of its lack of expiration. Money has no end date at which time it ceases to exist. Because of this, money is capable of being handed down to generation upon generation. In theory, this can go on in perpetuity. So, one of the key characteristics of the new system must be that it does not require exchange or transfer in order to operate, and that the new medium does not allow for perpetuity as is the case with money today.

But how can these two key qualities of money be eliminated in the new system? There are a variety of substitutes for money that have been proposed. At this time, my current favorite for consideration is the Labor Voucher, Labor-time credit, or simply time-credit (which I like to call "tic" for short). The most basic aspect of the Labor Voucher is that it is a compensation for labor, as money is, except that it is based upon actual time worked (rather than currency) as compensation. Thus if someone works for one hour the laborer is compensated one "tic". If someone works a typical 40-hour week, they will earn 40 tics. By linking compensation to time worked instead of currency, it becomes impossible to accumulate vast wealth because although it is possible to accumulate billions of dollars, it is IMPOSSIBLE to accumulate billions of tics because people do not live for billions of hours. Additionally, compensation based on time rather than currency is not subject to inflation, deflation, etc. because it is impossible to inflate or deflate time. An hour is an hour is an hour. This sets a permanent standard in place instead of a fluctuating dollar based upon subjective interpretations of value established by the so-called "free market" and supply and demand.

But it would still be possible to accumulate tics (and thus vast wealth) from others under exchange or transfer, so the second aspect of the Labor Voucher or "tic" is that it expires the moment it is used to purchase a good or service. If something costs 10 tics, and someone pays 10 tics for it, those 10 tics instantaneously disappear forever. Labor Vouchers are NOT transferred. Thus they cannot be accumulated. They have a built-in means of expiration. No one can get rich with them. It is impossible under such a system. Labor Vouchers can be accumulated by the individual in strict accordance with the amount of time s/he works. Thus, if someone wishes to work themselves to death by working 80 hours per week, there is nothing that prevents that, and thus nothing that would preclude the stockpiling of extra tics above and beyond what one might need to survive. But nothing beyond the individual's own labor can be acquired. Vast stockpiles of tics, unlike vast stockpiles of money, cannot occur under the new system.

But this also brings up the practicality of implementing such a system. After all, if the Labor Voucher is destroyed after each initial transaction, that would be a lot of paper to clean up, since by design none of it can circulate (unlike our current monetary system which depends on circulation for its very basis of operation). This is where modern technology comes into play. Under this new paradigm, the most practical way of implementing Labor Vouchers nationwide (or even worldwide) would be via centralized computer(s). Under such a system, the computer is responsible for tracking hours worked and issuing electronic time-credits (tics) to an individual's time-credit account. When someone wishes to actually purchase a real-world item (good or service) they can use something similar to current-day card swipe (or possibly even bio-scan station) to debit/credit the account. Thus, all income and use of time-credits is purely digital. No one ever touches a time-credit ever. And it is of fundamental importance to realize that ALL compensation under this new proposal comes from labor. So a purchaser at a store has worked for his/her Labor Voucher to make the purchase, and the store worker providing the item for purchase is also being compensated with Labor Vouchers for the labor s/he is putting in at the store. S/he is NOT compensated via transfer of Labor Voucher from purchaser to the store. There is NO profit. Everyone works to earn Labor Vouchers from the central computer(s), regardless of where they work and what good or service they are providing.

The greatest objection to such a system is, obviously, that computer systems can fail and, thus, so could the system. The response to such concerns is that these computers, operating completely independent of both the Public and Private sectors, would have to be engineered to failsafe specifications (and housed in super-secure installations such as a Ft. Knox type of facility). There are computers running today on this planet that have been engineered under the most stringent standards possible, using triple and/or quadruple redundancy (including power supplies) due to the ultra-critical nature of their mission. Such systems as employed by certain areas of the Defense Department and the Financial Sector simply cannot fail. For them to do so would be catastrophic to the nation. So it is reasonable to conclude that such a system could be implemented with a high degree of failover capability that would ensure that millions of daily transactions could occur with a very high degree of reliability. 

So, in conclusion, we can see that such a system is based entirely on EVERYONE contributing labor in order to be compensated. Time-credits (tics) cannot be used to generate more tics unlike todays money system whereby money can be used to generate more money via interest, dividends, and other capital gains. This would effectively eliminate capitalistic parasitic elements by design. If you want tics, you HAVE to work for them.

Future posts will discuss deeper aspects of such a system, such as secondary markets, how capital would be replaced under such a system, how the government would not require taxation in order to function, and other concerns.


  1. Glad that you started this blog " Undie". This is a very interesting topic and a few years ago I pondered the same questions and examined most every facet of our ' civilized' lives. Eliminating money from our economy would be like removing the score-board at a football game. I don't think too many people would know how to live in a society where they are not judged by how much they are worth. We have been so conditioned to measure ourselves against someone or something else. How else would we know how well are performing and besides that, the wealthy leadership would not have a means to motivate us to perform as well or better for them. I think our personal character has been degraded to such a grave degree that it would be unrealistic to expect the majority of people to live with benevolence toward their neighbor and fellow in such a utopian civilization. I'm not disagreeing with your ideas though. I like them. Keep sharing. Gillian

    1. Thanks. My purpose for starting it was to gain specific input from people about things I have overlooked. It is very hard to try to think through all of the downsides to something as complex as this. Please spread the word about this blog if you can so I can gather data from naysayers. I have started an outline for a book about this subject. It will take a very long time to put all of this together on a subject this complex and controversial. Much research and referencing must be done. Don't know if I'll ever finish it or not, but it will keep me busy for a very long time.

  2. Dan...By way of an intro(Some repeated from GK Forum topic on OWS)...I have found myself here, much as I found myself on an Occupy Camp in Europe over a year ago. I am less than an avid computer user having spent much of my last 8 years in rural Costa Rica, although once was a banker. I have been fortunate to travel some and spent lengths of time with various indigenous groups. I am not a protestor...but observed the organic nature of the Occupy movement and so camped. Having lived and worked in many small communities, I have been able to spot some failings that are difficult to identify in a modern crazed existence. (Can't see the wood for the trees syndrome) I saw the same at Occupy camps.

    I have lived relatively without money for the last 10 years

    Although once I felt money to be the route to freedom, then later a major societal problem, I have since observed a more encompassing force which money just portrays one part. Ownership. Maybe more accurately, perceived ownership. It rears it head and causes much destruction where ever I have been. Money seems a tool for teaching it. When I speak of ownership I do not refer to whether someone has a title to a car or house or is rather how the person views that object. The action of the person shows their degree of ownership by their ability share...or not as the case may be.
    This is not to say they are negligent of the object...part of the root word for possession is to take responsibility for...I don't think this is what Bush and Thatcher meant when they referred to Ownership Society. I can talk much on this subject...I have never been much a writer but have wished for contact to hone some thoughts.
    I am happiest as a doer...pontification and procrastination are my enemy...however my youthful impatience has given way to a gratitude of acceptance of when the Time has come. I have been in a dull state since Occupy.
    In the past I have had spurts of activity and actions...and have worked on some ideas as to actions (that rely not on political or intellectual discourse) that may weaken the potent grip monetary systems have on so many individuals. I chuckled at Occupy Camp stating the 99% when 98.99 were busy shopping for a hardcore capitalist xmas. With that in mind I believe that rather than fight against in a more traditional vain...find alternative routes that more and more people adopt...of the 99% and 1% to make invalid the systems presently in place. ie Ghandhi making salt (not sure about the selling part though), ridesharing forums to limit car ownership, Couchsurfing, Rolling Jubilee ...etc.
    There are some ideas that I have come across that I would like to discuss to hone them...but more interestingly make a reality. Billy