When I protested the War in Iraq and tried to offer up the possibility of a world without war, the devil’s advocate would usually point out the grand results of World War II to rationalize the necessity for war now. Indeed, often when we are doing something for which we know we will feel shame in the future, we balance the rationalization by looking to the past. So it is no surprise to me that when I suggest the movement to a world without money, I am often met with a barrage of instances of how money has helped in the creation of a peaceful civilization.
The issue is not that I am against money. I am not against money any more than I am against paintbrushes, surfboards, or pizza ovens. Money is a tool, yet just as I would not use a paintbrush to drill a hole, a surfboard to paint a wall, or a pizza oven to make ice cubes, money is not an appropriate tool for getting me what I desire in life. And judging from the amount of misery, grief, and disharmony I see in the world around me, I’d say that it’s probably not an appropriate tool for a lot of other people either.
If I am building a house, chances are that I will wear a hammer on my belt and use it quite often. It is a necessary tool for the task. However, once the house it built, I do not need to carry the hammer or hit anything with it. I can live in the house, partake of its offering of comfort and shelter, but I no longer need the tool that assisted in its creation. As a matter of fact, if I continued to use the tool, swinging it around when it need not be swung, I would eventually destroy the house. Yet money is the tool we continue to use to build our society because it’s the one we’re continually told that we need by the people that manufacture it. It’s the best advertised product in the world. It literally sells itself. Unfortunately, overuse is destroying our home.
Money is a tool we used to develop a civilization whereby there is more than enough shelter for every human being on the planet and the means to grow food, get water, and connect in ways that were heretofore unimaginable. Money has been a fine tool in the creation of our civilization. However, because of its continued use beyond its point of service, it now keeps people out of homes, strips nutrients from our food, and redirects our energies from the abundance that is to the limitation that it represents. For the goals we as people truly seek – to connect with one another, to belong, to find meaning and purpose, to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men, money may not be the appropriate tool.
Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.