Exchange, money and barter – what is money exactly? And why is it so awesome?

Lighten the load - part four

by Steve Cook

This is Essay Four in the series Lighten the Load, a re-think of government. What should a government be and do? What should it definitely NOT be and do? Is it even necessary at all? If so, how much and why? How do we decide, against what criteria?

Exchange

 The specialization of tasks, self-evidently, necessitates the exchange between individuals and groups of the goods and services they produce.

The ability and willingness of persons and groups to carry out exchange with one another is therefore a fundamental factor in the health of groups and the wider community of groups.

To the degree that this exchange can occur smoothly, survival is advanced, to the degree that it is impeded, survival is inhibited.

The wider the sphere of co-operation sought between individuals and groups, the wider must the exchange of goods and services produced be able to flow.

Inhibition of the breadth of that flow of exchange constricts the sphere of co-operation achievable and thereby suppresses the survival potential of all.

The ability to protect, facilitate, reward and nurture smooth exchange is a profoundly pro-survival attribute and a priority for all groups and group members.

 Money

Money is a very clever human invention and one takes one’s hat off to the chap that came up with the idea.

Money is a symbol that represents or stands proxy for goods and services and which people exchange back and forth, confident that it can at any time be exchanged for goods and services. It is a clever human invention that facilitates smooth exchange.

Money introduces a considerable flexibility and ease into the conduct of exchange and so facilitates the aforementioned broad co-action of groups.

True money, used correctly as a facilitator of EXCHANGE, is a profoundly pro-survival device.

Disruption of the function of money disrupts exchange, impedes thereby the smooth interaction of groups and individuals and introduces a massive inhibition of human survival potential.

Barter

Any effort to impede the function of money or to subvert money away from its true function, into the service of some other function, as with modern banking, currency speculation or counterfeiting, is a profoundly counter-survival operation.

 When a money system fails, human beings return to the basic of direct exchange of goods for goods upon which it is based. But that direct exchange (barter) lacks money’s versatility, flexibility and convenience.

It cannot sustain the same broad sphere of co-action or the same variety and sophistication of specialized tasks.

Therefore, when money malfunctions, the survival level constricts to smaller groups, smaller spheres of co-operation and a lower level of sophistication and variety of what can be produced and exchanged.

When the money system is tampered with and corrupted, its malfunction begins to hinder the effort of the human community to extend its sphere of co-operation.

Thus we witness our modern money system as it becomes one of the factors sabotaging the effort to create a global civilization and crippling the ability of groups to co-act.

An attack on the money system is an attack on civilization itself or indeed any tolerable level of human existence. Groups permit the subversion of money at their extreme peril.

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About Steve Cook 461 Articles
Director, UK Reloaded
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