Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Money Musing

Great Barrington, MA, has joined a handful of other communities in producing their own currency. I remember hearing about a community that even went so far as to produce "barter bucks" as a way to avoid the use of cash. Let people pay for their coffee with a few homegrown eggs by using barter bucks as the intermediary.

In one respect, I like the idea. It reminds me of a passage in Walden which transformed my relationship with money when I was a teenager. The exact quote eludes me now and I'm not going to take the time to look for it (if any of you recognize it, give me a shout!) The gist was: the value of money is a measure of the amount of life you have invested.

It's once thing to think about the pleasures of a new purchase. It's quite another to translate that purchase into the life you expended earning it.

How productive is taking the time and trouble to create and account with "barter bucks" (alongside good ole greenbacks) when the concept is already built into money? Perhaps that continual and blatant reminder is value enough. Perhaps the value lies in a fresh paradigm around a subject that has become so loaded and often misunderstood.

More critically, where is the line between community pride and elitism or outright secession?

I just read the article, and am not going to take the time to think about it more right now. It raises some interesting questions, which balloon as you dig deeper.


1 comment:

  1. Witht he continuing advances in automation, certain fundamental services can be deliverred at almost free levels of cost.. if you take the necessity to make profits and earnings growth each quarter.

    Power distibution, for example, could be turned into a one-time expense for the drop, while recurring power generation, once more robust technology is in place, can be driven entirely without human intervention.... and human pay. How many telephone lines must be strung? Long distance is already free on your cell. Take the profit out of that equation...

    As society move towards more automation, the necessity for basic expenses is growing, however, as more and more aspects of modern life become 'mandatory'. Cars, for example, to get to work. Cell phones... with mandatory handsfree which costs... insurance... cost.. regulations..cost.

    The free market economy is running amok amok amok with expenses backed by government regulations, virtually, in many cases, totally eliminating free spending money for which people who make 5$/hr work harder than those of us in the 30's...

    The paradigm shift needs to be made where transportation is no longer an issue, basic goods and services are free, and the free tiem of people is enhanced so they can pursue more 'noble' pursuits in education, philosphy, and art.

    Sure, it's totally pollyanna, but you have to start somewhere.