Why invent a new exchange system when money seems to do the job?
Because our conventional money-based exchange system is at the root of most of the misery, suffering and problems faced by humanity. It is also the prime factor behind the environmental crises we face.
The money systems we use are not neutral, non-partisan, services provided by our governments. They are a ‘service’ provided by private financial institutions (banks) specifically for their own benefit rather than those who use them. Our conventional money systems only work for those who already have money and marginalise the rest. They are also the fuel that powers the growth imperative of our economies, forcing us all to compete and having disastrous consequences for the health of our planet.
The main problem with conventional money is that it ‘exists’, or at least we are encouraged by the commercial banks to believe that it exists so that they can continue to ‘lend’ it to us at a price! As such it has to be created, distributed and the amount of it restricted and controlled. As money comes into existence when commercial banks grant loans, every unit in existence is based on a unit of debt. This determines the quantity of money, which has nothing to do with the amount of money people require to live decent lives. Such money is also based on speculation, because it is loaned into existence on the premise that it will be paid back in the future with interest.
Despite its modern electronic trappings, our conventional money systems are a relic of history. They are the latter day equivalent of cattle or gold. The debt-based money system was developed for the industrial revolution to provide a rapidly expanding money supply that could not be provided by a money system based on the quantity of precious metals. This introduced intangible money that did not exist in the same way as earlier ‘hard’ monies, but people continued treating it as a tradable commodity. Money that ‘exists’ can thus be accumulated like any other commodity. It can also be stolen, traded, collected, destroyed and lost. Its distribution is not based on the delivery of value to others but on the ability of people to ‘make money’. Conventional money has no restraints and always flows away from where it is created and needed, towards the ‘money centres’.
The CES breaks out of this paradigm by recognising that the electronics revolution has eliminated the need for an exchange medium. Never before in the history of humankind has it been possible to record accurately who delivers value to whom. Now that this is possible there is no longer a need for an ‘existential’ money; money can at last truly measure the delivery of value and be based on nothing other than the expenditure of effort by people for others. Money is information – a unit of measure – not a thing.
If money does not need to exist as a thing it does not have to be created and distributed. People will earn money solely on the basis of their delivery of value to others, not through charging interest, trading it in money markets and a multitude of other ways without delivering anything of real value.
Money that does not exist can never be in short supply, but no one can have more of it than the value they can deliver. No one will be able to take more of the social product than they contribute to it, as they do under our current money system. Wealth will remain where it is created and needed, and not leak away to the ‘money centres’.