Dignity Dialogue, October 2014

peace of mind

Illusion of Money

Even though money would be hailed by many as the greatest invention after fire, M G Warrier  has reservations about its alleviative power. Rather, he propounds a radical theory where money rests in peace and human beings resurrect the barter world in new Avatar.


I love ants more than honey bees. I have reasons. Like Japanese people, ants continuously work. Almost a kind of Nishkamakarma about which Krishna talks in Bhagavadgita. They share their food with their fellow-ants, actually they use their excellent communication system to invite their friends and relatives once they locate some food. They do not store food. Whereas, honey bees, like the rich and the powerful countries, accumulate food. They have a class system which almost borders the caste system practiced by zamindars. Just as the greedy rich who are willing to die along with their wealth and arsenal, honey bees die along with the food they store. Ants do not attack you unless you disturb them. Honey bees use their stings flying and reaching out away from their territory.


Same lines, I have my likes and dislikes on money matters. Values were respected more, before prices came into being. Price, which is a by-product of money, has turned the world upside down. Now there is a price for everything. Or, reversely, you can get anything for a price. From play school admission to doctorates from universities, from selection for competitions in schools to coveted prizes or medals or awards, or wins in cricket matches or getting an award, for all your needs, someone is there to fix a price and sell or arrange it for you.


Money has brought imbalances in pricing. The cost of construction of one square foot of residential area is in the neighbourhood of eight hundred rupees. But the selling price varies between Rs 1500 to a few lakhs of rupees depending on where the residential building is located. Can you distinguish between bribe and incentive or commission and margin or interest and profit-sharing? 


See the problems faced by governments in managing GDP growth and inflation.  Inflation is only one of the indicators that tell governments and regulators the results of various fiscal and monetary policy measures they initiate. Depending on the direction they look, they are always able to either an optimistic prediction or tell us where either of them need correct the next step. Problem is more about various categories of inflation, the methods of calculation of inflation and how the inflation (CPI or WPI inflation, for instance) affect different sectors of economy and different income-groups. There is no clarity or uniformity in perspective on such things among those who are responsible to prescribe corrective measures. The ‘Inflation elephant’ is perceived as different monsters by scholars from different schools of economics. You can trace all these problems to the money monster which was unwittingly let loose by someone who did not bargain for such inauspicious consequences.


All these problems would not have existed, if money was not invented. Absence of money will reduce the chances of corruption, inequitable distribution of wealth and rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer, as the advertisers say, by 99.9 per cent.


The thought of a world without money has fascinated me since my childhood days. Of course the reason for hating money those days was that I didn’t have money and my friends and neighbors enjoyed making me jealous by showing off the money power they possessed before me and others in my position. 


Take my own case, now. I have completed a somewhat successful career in a bank, have a bank account and have last year gained the status of a senior citizen. Still, I feel, the fellow who invented money and his followers who made it currency have done more harm than that unlucky wise man who invented atom bomb. Of course, now the reasons for my hatred towards money are more mature than jealousy.


For a moment, imagine, man gets out of the clutches of money, or there is no money in the world. All symbols from $ to the one recently figured out for Rupee vanishes, everything else remaining the same. Yes, science and technology, all results of research so far, literature, agriculture, industry, art and whatever you can imagine remain and continue to perform and help the world to move forward, but money is conspicuous by its absence! This will bring drastic changes.


It will take considerable time to rehabilitate people like those working in the financial sector, as the nature of their jobs will change. They will have to re-skill themselves to manage a world entirely dependent on a new barter system which will result in revolutionary changes in the power-balance internationally.


Having been there for millions of years without money, world will adjust itself to a money-less environment where peace prosperity and happiness will not be dependent on bank balances but on the value addition to life and environment each one makes.

Let us follow ants and live life day by day. Let ants, like a tsunami, march to wherever honey bees have stored honey and have a sumptuous meal and thereafter, let ants and honey bees live together ever after finding their food when they are hungry and not accumulating food as honey bees did in the past.

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