Can you imagine a life without money?
Yes, it is possible. Human beings have not always had money to transact business. Barter – of both tangible and intangible goods – was prevalent in societies all over the world before civilizations started to mint coins and use them as the medium of exchange. Is a return to such a life possible? Can we all go back to a moneyless society?
Such are the questions that Greta Taubert, a freelance journalist from Germany, asked herself. And she went the extra mile to prepare herself for a life in which money doesn’t mean anything to anybody. What are important in such a world, then? Physical ability to grow food, for instance, would be indispensable. The ability to work with tools would be crucial. Ingenuity and leadership – as in our society – would still be important, but will be paid for in services rather than cold hard cash.
So for a year Greta went ‘organic’, growing her own food, making her own shampoo, refusing to spend money for anything. Whenever she wanted something she could not make for herself, she either traded in or went without it.
‘Our economy is built on the false premise that infinite growth is possible,’ she says. ‘But our resources are limited. We live on a finite planet. So the mantra of more, more and more won’t take us anywhere. We must learn to be sustainable.’
This experiment asks deep questions about how much human beings need to be happy, and how greed is ruining the planet for future generations. If we have to free ourselves from the temptation of greed, one way, many believe, is to remove the object of greed: money.
Interesting idea. Now we just have to implement it and see if it works.