What is money?

Jeesh. You’d think we’d know by now. There’s a Your Money or Your Life answer that returns to us the power we’ve vested in money as the gatekeeper for all value in our lives. To wit: Money is Life Energy. It’s the time we invest of our lives to put money in our wallets or to pay in the future for our purchases now. That unasks the question of what the culture thinks money is. Phooey on them. But the more I understand about the monetary system and the more I participate in my local currency, the more my personal relationship with money transforms.

A friend sent me this link today, a philosophers take on money as “fiat” currency, which means it’s backed only by the faith we have that it has value and will in the future. After all, without that faith, who’d take money? Who’d save money?  If you read through the responses you get more perspectives on what money is, does and means. I liked what one post said:

If people understood money constituted a form of public commons, than they would be far more reluctant to drain value out of their social networks and environment to put in a bank in the first place. We all like having roads, but there is little inclination to pave more than we need. In this situation, the same would apply to monetizing our lives. Other avenues of trust and reciprocation would have the space to develop, which would strengthen communities and their relationship to the environment. Money is a powerful tool of society, but it cannot be allowed to define every relationship, or those who manage it will control all of society.

This starts to get at the heart of what interests me now: knowing that currency isn’t just “money” – it’s networks of mutuality and love, it’s generosity, it’s willingness to help one another without calculus.

In these changing times, when national currency is harder to get for some and when our faith in it is flagging and will ultimately fail as another poster says…

All FIAT currencies are faith based. And all fiat currencies collapse. There is not a single fiat currency in the history of the world that has lasted over 100 years without reversion to a gold-based system. The US dollar and the international currencies will all collapse eventually. History says they will.

reenergizing our faith in one another is important.

And it’s a good time to remember that. Burning Man is happening, an annual attempt by tens of thousands to live in a gift economy.

There’s more to say about this topic of course. More is better when it comes to questioning assumptions and getting clear about money. After my teleclass on Discover Your Enough Point I’ll be doing a longer one on this fascinating subject – not so we can abstract boring conversations but so we can get behind the Wizard of Oz  curtain and really have enough for life now and  in the future.


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