30 April 2015

Money: A Useless Commodity Or A Necessity For Human Happiness?

We live in a society where money is absolute power. Without it, you cannot survive. But why is this and should this be the case? Before I continue, I want to stress that this isn't me going all hippie and left-wing again. This is me, shedding light on something not really questioned.

We all think that money is extremely valuable. We’d never purposely destroy it because, well that would be insane. But, money itself holds no real value or technically speaking, ‘intrinsic value’. It sounds strange to suggest but it’s completely true. It’s called ‘fiat money’. It’s only considered valuable because it can buy things. Imagine that you’re Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Now imagine that you have £1,000 with you. (Along with dozens of FedEx boxes of cause) How valuable is that money now? 

Believing money has value is called the ‘Tinkerbell Effect’. If enough people believe something to exists, it does exist. Now Tom Hanks believes his money is worthless, he’d probably burn it because it now is worthless. In the past, most societies didn't used commodity money. Meaning, the currency was in the form of items that had real value such as food, weapons and transportation (horses, donkeys and camels mainly.) So, in the past money did have real value. But these days almost every society uses fiat money.

So, does having a lot of money make you happy? Yes. Stupid question. At least, when it’s put in the context of western capitalism. But, and this is where I stray from the facts and go to left-wing ideals, if money was abolished, wouldn't life be far more fun? If we didn't have to slave away to earn money to live and instead we could live by our own means. Annoyingly, most people would agree but the right-wing narrative of the west has enslaved us to believe that money has value.

The frustrating thing is, one person can’t change the fact that we are slaves to currency. I’m not going to lie, I’d love to win the jackpot and have a never-ending pot of wealth. I’m not going to suddenly stop working and burn £10 notes because I live in a society that demands the usage of fiat money. One person’s actions would only be detrimental to that person’s self being. It wouldn't effect the system in the slightest.

When a left-wing person suggest the ideals of anarchism and communism, most crush them by saying it’s stupid and that you need to work. However, 99% of the population dream of winning the Lotto or Euromillions and to never have to work again… All that dream is, is individual communism. Money would become so irrelevant to you that you forget how much it’s worth. You’d think that you could have what you wanted without working. Sounds like communism to me. These people just don’t want to admit it.

So, back to the question at hand. Is money a useless commodity or a necessity for human happiness? Well, technically, it’s not a commodity. Simply pieces of paper. (or cotton) But, in our society, money isn't useless. It can certainly buy you a lot of things. And, yes, a lot of it would make you extremely happy. Do I think it’s essential? Again, in our society, yes I do. If you have all the money, you’re not going to struggle to sleep at night. But, if you have to slave away for your entire life, just above the minimum wage, for men that don’t know your name, for it to only go towards your mortgage repayments or your car finance, until the day you die; no. That’s no life. Is that making you happy? Because it’s money that forces you to do it. 

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