18
Jul
09

Revaluating Money

The purpose of Capitalism is, of course, capital (money). Any transaction- buying, selling, trading- has the single goal of profit. Our lives rotate around money- we need it to live, our governments are dependent on it, industry is fueled by it, and often enough we are willing to kill each other for it.

Is money really worth it?

Let’s look at what money is. The dollar bill is made up primarily of cotton, dyes, and a handful of other items kept secret in order to prevent counterfeiting. We attach to this slip of green paper a “value”. “Value” is a tricky word, as what might be worth one amount to one person might not apply to another person. For example, the value of a goat was once represented by a handful of cowry shells. As time changes, so does the value we attach to our currencies and material goods. Today, we consider an energy drink to be worth roughly two dollars, or (depending on how you look at it) two dollars to be worth an energy drink.

So far, so good? Here’s where it gets tricky.

I am, Comrades, a fan of apocalyptic literature, movies, and TV shows. Nothing like reading a book about humanity in a world after a pandemic or nuclear war puts life in perspective and forces one to question our place in the universe. Now a common issue raised in such books as Alas Babylon or The Girl Who Owned a City (an excellent book, despite its Ayn Rand-esque Capitalist message) is that money, gold, jewelry- the things people have spent their lives trying to accumulate- suddenly lose all value. It’s a good reminder that, despite all the value attached to money, in the end, money is simply wads of paper and small discs of metal. The things we work for- the things Capitalism would have us believe are the end-goal of life- are at best good for lighting fires. Perhaps one of my favorite pictures is an old 1930s photo of two German children playing with stacks of money in the street (at the time, the German mark was so devaluated that it took literally a basket of money to buy a loaf of bread). These children probably saw money for what it actually was: paper- nothing more or less- hardly something worth living for and definitely not worth dying for.

In short, money in and of itself is almost completely worthless, and when we do attach value to money it opens a Pandora’s box. A single slip of green paper with “1,000 dollars” printed on it can buy a person a microwave- until, for whatever reason, our values change and “1,000 dollars” becomes a fraction of the cost. The microwave hasn’t changed, the paper hasn’t changed- only our perception has (and for a species that brutally persecuted a man for claiming the earth revolved around the sun, I wouldn’t put too much faith in our perception). We measure a person’s success based purely on how much money they do and do not have. There are those of us who would (and have) killed our own families for money. We will work ourselves to death in the quest for green paper.

I submit that money isn’t worth the pain, effort, misery, and death it creates.

Of course this view isn’t typical of all schools of Marxism. Many Communists believe that once private property is abolished, currency will be used to allow the public to function- since everyone would be paid the same wages, no inequality would arise. This is, however, not the view of my faction, which believes that money in any form will ultimately result in the resurrection of private property. To us it would seem the most logical way to keep Capitalism in its golden coffin will be to abolish money altogether.

No more capital, no more Capitalism. The buck literally does stop here.

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