Relativisation of the Monetary Values and Demonetarisation

Relativisation of the Monetary Values and Demonetarisation:

The hackneyed old saying ‘time is money’ is emblematic of a society geared to the monetary principle of value. That commodities and services are ‘worth money’ is regarded as axiomatic, as a natural law of a so-called modern society. But, even worse, just as services have become commodities so that they can be transformed into exchangeable monetary values, ever more dimensions of everyday life and of both our natural and social environments have become, or are in the process of becoming, purchasable commodities, including water, the genome, health, information, education, social security, personal security, etc.

There are hardly any remaining domains to which people have free access without necessary or possible payment in money. Even though its quality, and thus its utility, is diminishing rapidly and it is only a matter of time before it is converted into a commodity (and hence into a monetary value), apart from sun light the air we breathe is for the moment one of the few remaining exceptions. Another exception is to some degree love and affection. The love and affection which a mother lavishes on her child, which one human being shows to another human or living being, has until now resisted commodification; love and affection cannot be purchased because they have not yet been monetarised, even though affection in the form of concern or care has already become a commodity, especially in so-called developed countries but not only (for instance, in the form of nannies, paid care for the elderly, or even paid sexual services and partnerships).

In a society in which the amount of money to which an individual has access determines the standard of living which he or she can achieve, or even, as in many parts of the world, decides over life and death, there will never be peace either at the local or the global level. There will always be those who have more money and those who have less, completely independently of the rationale for such a situation and of considerations of justice. Socio-economic imbalances and scarcity (in this instance, limited access to commodities and services as a function of access to money) are the breeding ground of human beings’ sense of injustice, but simultaneously also represent indispensable paradigms of a materialistically steered society predicated on continuous economic growth and competition.   

Our present global social and economic model turns on access to financial resources (money), while preserving the value of money (controlling inflation, maintaining purchasing power). Such being the case, what is the raison d’être of our society? Or, to put it differently, what could bring everything to a standstill? The answer: scarcity of money. Without money there is no investment, no job creation, no creation of purchasing power; without money no one can buy food, there is no education or health care, no more houses are built; without money no energy is produced, no computers, televisions, cars, subways, aeroplanes, telephones can run; without money everything grinds to a halt and in the end the light goes out and the heating goes cold. Without money there is no tax income, consequently also no public services for existential public infrastructure supply and no social protection. And what is mainly lacking especially during economic recession? Money. Governments, banks, insurance companies, enterprises are becoming insolvent, which can lead to unemployment and a drop in the standard of living, and even to social conflicts, poverty, criminality and violence.[1]

Yet anyone who claims that a high standard of living is not attainable today without financial means is an unconscious prisoner of rigid habits of thought, or is an irresponsible slave of personal interests or of elite interest groups. None of the commodities and services that exist in the world today is created by money but instead by the following factors of production: ideas, science, research, education and training, labour, raw materials and energy. Money per se is not a factor of production at all but, in the capitalist market economy, nothing other than an artificial, though necessary (and hence often limited and limiting) factor in the procurement of these very factors of production.   

Monetary valuation is entirely the result of the social indoctrination of human conduct by materialism and the associated need syndrome (real or induced demand, shortage and scarcity). The proposed system change does not postulate a return to a barter system (physical exchange and money are both based on the same logic of inequality between having/possessing more or less of something[2]), which would be absurd, but rather the creation of a high, universal standard of living (for all human beings) based on a new socioethical foundation. Guaranteeing this standard of living would become the main driving force and justification of human labour and would undermine the foundations of the money-based economy.

A globally renewed society would be compelled to break the taboo of a system of values founded chiefly on the monetary exchange of commodities and services. This will necessarily entail a redefinition of basic or human rights. A right, and all the more so a basic human right, must enjoy direct validity and be at the individual’s disposal, and thus must not be conditional on him or her having access to corresponding monetary resources.

In a Globally Renewed Society, all human beings have equal access to the social and economic sectors assigned to the commons, which as a result will automatically constitute basic rights whose translation into non-monetary values must thus be defined. None of the basic human rights, such as, among others, access to independent information, personal security, health, education and basic nutrition, should be measurable in terms of a monetary scale of values, or, as a consequence, be granted to individual human beings only conditionally on possessing money, but must be redefined without regard to taboos and in the interest of the primary goal of securing the commons and of safeguarding the inviolable dignity of the individual. In the context of demonetarization a major role will be played by a correspondingly revised conception of production and working conditions and of the (post-monetary) valuation of the factors of production (including labour) which are indispensable for securing the basic rights.

In a globally renewed society, monetary value gradually loses its importance in the sense that commodities and services assigned to the commons are to be uncoupled from the laws of the capitalist market. For these commodities and services are made available (and not sold) to human beings by their own society. During a transitional period, those goods and services which do not belong to the commons could be distinguished by monetary equivalents. It goes without saying, however, that these residual monetary systems could hold only to those goods or commodities and services that are not part of the commons. In the long term, all goods and services, whether they are part of the commons or not, would ultimately be utilised in the context of a non-monetary, collectively administered system of production and demand or need.

[1] In addition: Methods of treatment and remedies do exist to save millions of people from diseases or to cure them; There is enough food and supplies, cargo planes and qualified staff to preserve millions of people from misery, undernourishment and hunger; However due to either lack of financial resources (money) or the society not making it available – i.e. rather prioritizing other domains for investment – coupled with a weak political will (see refugees crisis, Sahel crisis, Horn of Africa etc.) these capacities are mostly not utilised.

[2] If I own a big pumpkin I may get twenty carrots for it. If you only have one apple you may get just two carrots for it. This is for example as if I had say twenty Euros and you just two Euros.