In the realm of economics, the word exchange hardly ever appears. This is strange because the economy, surely, is about exchanging what we contribute to it for the things we need, even if this exchange is through the medium of money. Money itself is defined as a medium of exchange, yet the notion of exchange is hardly ever discussed. All we have is buying and selling, consumers and producers, demand and supply. The economy itself, is presented as having two sides: the production or supply side and the consumption or demand side.
It is almost as if “exchange” is a dirty word in conventional economics, outside of monetary exchange rates. Seeing demand and supply as two sides of the same coin is forbidden. Employees see their jobs solely in terms of their way to earn money, not as their contribution to the economy that they exchange for what they want and need. Businesses are set in motion to make a profit, by supplying what people need and what they are made to believe they want, not to exchange anything.
From an early age we learn that if we can ‘get’ money then we can ‘get’ stuff. All through our school lives we are encouraged to study hard to get good grades so that we can get good certificates that will open the way to the good jobs that will allow us to get the goods to live the good life. Getting is good!
Never are we taught that the economy is a place of giving and receiving and that in order to receive we must give, which means we have to exchange what we can provide for what we need and want. Everyone is focussed on the ‘getting’ side only: getting a job to get money to get stuff; starting a business to get good profits to get rich by selling stuff.
That is the problem with money: the focus is always on getting more of it, not on what is really needed and on what harm is being done in its pursuit. The objective of every single business in the money economy is to produce the maximum amount of money. The products and services that are provided are incidental to this goal. Likewise, every participant in this economy is focussed on maximising the amount of money that the system can provide them, not on the welfare of the whole or the health of our planet.
In this blind pursuit of money we are destroying our world. So long as we are all focussed on getting money, nothing will change.
The Community Exchange System seeks to reinstate exchange as the primary concept in economics. In order to obtain what we can’t provide for ourselves, we need to exchange what we have and can do for what we need and want. There is no need to pursue or even have money to achieve this natural objective. Money is a curtain that conceals from us the true nature of economics, which is exchange.
Money is an anachronism that has always been more a tool of control than a tool of exchange. The CES provides us with the tools we need to create a natural economy, where we provide for ourselves and exchange what we have and can do for what we need. If we don’t need money we don’t need to sell our planet. Give what we can and have what we need.