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     It goes without saying that it has been said that money is a means of exchange. It has been that for a long time. It has at least that purpose in every country of every political coloration and to every reasonably rational individual including those who have none and those who have renounced it.

     Until recently money was arguably as good as any other conceivable means of exchange and so it remained the predominant currency; and in fact is defined almost universally as currency. And currency is defined as a means of exchange. Now, unlike before, there is the computer. It is a far better, and much cheaper, means of exchange.

     Even now money and the computer perform the same function: they direct the movement of things. Money directs wheat into flour, tomatoes into bottles, olives into oil and pizza into ovens; cars into showrooms and thence up driveways; bodies into bikinis and onto operating tables; cable into TVs; phone calls along wires; gas into tanks; presidents into white houses. Money directs much of what gets done all day and all night everywhere. It just does a terrible job of it.

     The computer directs planes onto flight decks; missiles into targets, ink to printers. And it directs many of the things that money too directs: cars into showrooms, calls along wires, even grain into flour. The computer does, except for one glitch, a great job. Poetically, replacing money with the computer as currency repairs the glitch.

     The glitch is a programming error, immediately correctable, which arises from the assignment of value to money in computations. Money has no value, and assigning it value, or the inclusion of it at all in any computation skews the result. The computer will always produce a wrong answer, just as man in his pre- computer wisdom has, when money of any assigned value other than zero is entered into his computations. Remove money from any computation, and, all other data being reasonably accurate, the answer will be reasonably right.

     There are meter maids and men who drive around our city streets in little gas vehicles chalking the tires of larger gas vehicles parked in these streets for no other reason than to make money. The men and maids grow nothing, feed no one, heal not a wound. Nor do they even bend over to pick up one scrap of the national tonnage of trash they drive by and wade through on their daily rounds. Their products are chalk dust, deadly gases, sebaceous glutei, wasted paper, wasted fuel and wasted lives.

     Every day, using computers, a few men and women who have never missed a meal, buy zillions of tons of corn, beans and chickens, for no other reason than to make money. The same few sell the same commodities for the same reason - to make money. The commodities didn't move from their warehouses and the brokers didn't move from their glutei. While millions of men, women and children, who spend a lifetime missing meals, can't buy an ear of corn, a handful of beans or a chicken because they have no money.

     Every day countless millions of people drive to work and spend untold unhappy hours doing it for what is completely valueless - to make money. We clog our highways, pollute our planet, squander our resources, lie, cheat and steal for the same valueless purpose. We say we need jobs to make money to buy corn and chickens lest we starve. But all the money in the world, no matter how well watered and fertilized, can't grow a stalk of corn, and chickens won't eat the stuff. God grows all life and makes all things. Man can direct where some of the life forms and things go; the computer can be a better currency in that task.

     Take doctors for example. They know that having more money thrust at them to perform better operations is stupid. They'd have to take off their gloves, lift their gown, pocket the cash, or even a check, wash their hands of lucre's filth, and call for a new pair of gloves. The patient expires. The doctor has to get more money to pay his escalating malpractice insurance. Money's only function in medicine is to slow productivity, and guarantee malpractice.

     Eliminate money as currency and with it go malpractice awards and any need for an insurance industry. Doctors would still regulate their industry, and in a kinder, gentler fashion than its present governance. But the operations that got done would be those that are needed. And stupidities in the name of insurance would be not only not de rigueur but absurd.

     There is the undeniable risk that perhaps unhappily for some the elimination of money might annihilate the advertising industry. After all, who would advertise if there wasn't money to be made in it? It is true that sectors of the ad industry would disappear. Who in his right mind, for example, would run an ad to sell a table, even his second one, when he could just give it to somebody who didn't have one? And would somebody who had just one table, if he were in his right mind, advertise to sell it because he didn't have enough money?

     Truly, however, the ad industry can become the education industry; Madison Avenue populated by ed men. "The best message wins." (R) They can have real clients for a change, doing "real things for real reasons." (R) " Each word can be memorable in its own right." (R) And the ed men can stay at home more, lie less, live longer, love a lot, and stop sucking up to Philip Morris.

     Law is a worthy subject. Right now there are lawsuits being filed for no other reason than they make "economic sense." Good people are not defended because they can't pay, and bad people are because they can. Remove money from judgments and legal consideration and American jurisprudence becomes rational and fair. Include money in justice's deliberations and its decisions will always be skewed and therefore unjust.

     There is the question, of course, if people don't take money in payment, who will do the work. The immediate answer is, the same person who has been doing it. Bankers, brokers, insurance blokes and bookies obviously wouldn't have to show up. They can get real jobs of any kind they want and have all the time in the world to learn a useful trade. There will be lots of people to take care of all the needed work. Bridges still need painting, but they don't need toll booths or people to occupy them.

     Anyone can figure out what jobs really need to be covered and what ones should be eliminated. For the most part, people will be able to do ergonomically what they want to do; which is a bunch better than the way it is now with most people doing what they don't want to do because they need money, and unable to do what they're called to do or love to do because no one will pay them to do it.

     The general rule regarding priorities is that they don't matter. Rules are always qualified by safety, courtesy and wisdom. Stupidity has no effect so it's silly to engage in it. Time is here as far as the eye can see; so don't be concerned about losing it. Except in matters of safety, courtesy and wisdom, where there's no time to be lost.


© Gerry Armstrong 1992, 2000, 2002


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