Gee, Money Really Does Have a Strong Impact on People

While pitching our system during a hackathon, a key objection was from a Harvard grad who said that a system based on agreements will not work because money is the measure of value in trade.


Of course, I’ve heard this so many times that I had a ready reply. For one thing, Adam Smith mentioned that this phenomenon of people equating money with wealth is actually a sign of human shallowness:

Money..frequently signifies wealth, and this ambiguity of expression has rendered this popular notion so familiar to us that even they who are convinced of its absurdity are very apt to forget their own principles, take it for granted as (an)..undeniable truth. Some of the best English writers..set out with observing that the wealth of a country consists, not in its gold and silver only, but in its lands, houses, and consumable goods of all different kinds. In the course of their reasonings, however, the lands, houses, and consumable goods seem to slip out of their memory, and the strain of their argument frequently supposes that all wealth consists in gold and silver, and that to multiply those metals is the great object of national industry and commerce. (WN IV.i)


But this reply would be too long. So my most concise counter argument is that current money is fiat and not based on anything. This silenced his objection, and made him change his question.

If I had time to expound, then I would’ve added that  an agreement or microcontract-based trading system, which is inherently subjective, would force human minds to know the people they are trading with instead of staying immersed in the objects being traded, which are inherently objective. This would increase their cognition of others, which in turn would increase the chances of them building fellow-feeling, which then can reduce conflicts in the long run. This is part of the way we intend to reduce future wars through socio-economics, just like the European Union, which began as a regional free trade policy which was later used to unite Europe for better security and a more lasting peace.

This system works naturally among friends and family. When you treat your friends to a movie ticket worth $10.25, you do not demand that friend to give you a similar treat for  exactly $10.25, because your relationship is not commercial in nature. In reality, you might give him less or more, depending on how close your relationship is or on what the situation allows. However, academics and intellectuals seem to have enshrined objective nominal valuation as the supreme measure, which is unnatural and which tends to reduce people into objects and life itself into numbers.

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