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Human Nature and Money

Mostly we think that the problems we deal with in the world are the result of human nature, bad or evil actors, greed and egotism.  However, the premise of Just Abundance is that the debt-based monetary system of the world, as designed and implemented by country's central banks, distorts human nature so that our survival depends on being egotistical and greedy.  If money were not scarce and hard to come by, the vast majority of us would be altruistically motivated to solve all the problems.

Before we examine the extent to which this must be true we need to take a cursory look at human nature and money.  Social scientific research has shown that human nature is such that we are primarily motivated by our desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world, to make the world a better place.  Just about everyone wants to dedicate their lives to the transcendent purpose they feel called to serve, autonomously (the way they want to do it) with the opportunity to develop their capacity to do it increasingly well.  Money is not motivating, unless there is a perception that the amount of money they have is, in some significant way, not just.  As long as the amount of money available to live is sufficient and supports the transcendent purpose they feel called to serve, money is not motivating.  But, of course, if the amount of money is not adequate to live according to ones expectations then money is motivating, and people tend to give up on the transcendent purpose they feel is their destiny to fulfill and they seek other ways to acquire the requisite amount of money.  There is a very good study - sponsored by the Federal Reserve System, that demonstrates that money is not motivating, and a very good animated description of this study is available here:  RSA Animate "Drive" by Dan Pink

When we ask ourselves how the world should be organized we generally agree that there should be social justice and environmental sustainability.  Whatever ideas we may have for how to implement a socially just and environmentally sustainable society we run into the problem of how to fund it.  There is nothing available to us in the popular culture that indicates that there is a problem with the monetary system - money just is, and we know what we need to do to earn it, how to spend it, borrow it, save it, invest it, get grants or donations, or investment to implement our ideas, and create the world we want to live in.  This understanding keeps us from realizing something very simple, namely that if we, the people, issued the money - as money, not as debt - for what we agree would be good, then the question would not be:  Where can I get the money for this good idea?  It would simply be:  Is it a good idea?  Because if it is then we can issue or allocate the money to fund it. 

Take, for example, the American ideal of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The foundational document on which our government is based, the Declaration of Independence, says that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are unalienable rights and that we institute government to secure our life and liberty so that we can pursue happiness. 

If we ask ourselves what do we need to secure our Life, it is obvious that we need an equitable (socially just) dividend from the overall productivity of the economy so that we are in a position to buy all the things that we need to live, at the standard of living a socially just and environmentally sustainable economy can support.  This check at the beginning of the month that we need to live would give us the Liberty to Pursue Happiness. 

This is just obvious.  If we want to secure our unalienable right to life, so we are at liberty to pursue happiness, we need the money to live as a matter of right.  If we were to institute a government that would secure our right to life then it would have as its first priority to assure that everyone has sufficient money to live so that they are at liberty to pursue happiness.  And there is really only one thing that makes us truly happy and that is being able to pursue the transcendent purpose we dedicate our life to with the opportunity to develop our capacities to do it increasingly well.  Only when we are at liberty to pursue happiness because the money we have to live is just, will we be able to act out of our true nature and make the world a better place as a result of our effort.  Along with the right to life (an equitable share of the economy) we also have an unalienable right to the capital our capacities warrant, so that we can create the conditions we need to realize our transcendent purpose. 

There are huge objections that arise at this thought.  It doesn't matter how obvious it is, the popular culture supplies all kinds of objections to the thought that we have a right to an equitable share of the economy in which we participate!  Most of these objections are about what other people would do if they were not compelled to work by the need to earn money to live.  However, if you examine your own sense of yourself you will find that you would not turn into a lazy bum, rather what you would be able to do would generate a big increase in your enthusiasm for life.  In thinking about the objections from the popular culture please remember that we are legitimately egoists when it comes to taking care of ourselves but that we are pure altruists when it comes to doing something that we see needs doing, that serves our community, and that accords with our particular interests and abilities.

The question is: Does the debt-based monetary system distort human nature?  In order to answer this question it is necessary to take a look at a characteristic of human nature in relation to money.  Every transaction that takes place in the economy facilitated by money takes place because both parties to the exchange are better off as a result of the transaction.  This may be obvious, but it is of paramount importance to fully grasp the magnificence of this aspect of human nature.  We engage with each other and create an economy because it benefits us.  The transaction facilitated by money makes both the buyer and the seller better off.  If each honest and transparent exchange between a buyer and a seller make both of them better off - AS A RESULT OF HUMAN NATURE - is it not obvious that with all the exchanges facilitated by money that take place every day, week, month, year, lifetime, we should all be increasingly better off?  Why is this not the case?  Why are we not all increasingly better off?  Where is the surplus from exchange going?  We do know where it is going, it is going to pay the interest on all the money that is facilitating those exchanges because all of the money in circulation is issued by banks as interest bearing debt.  The monetary system of the world is transferring the wealth we all create together to the owners of and beneficiaries of the banking system.  When you understand the way the system works this becomes increasingly obvious.  If banks did not issue the money they lend, but rather could only lend money they earned like any other company or person, then this systemic transfer of wealth would not be possible. 

Did you know that banks issue all of our money as interest bearing debt to themselves?  If not, then you may be willing to recognize that the popular culture, the media, and our educational system are all designed and controlled so that you do not know that crucial piece of information!  If you do know this, and just accept it as the way it is, would you consider that changing it so that the people issue the money as money - not as debt - would profoundly change the way the world works?

This is just an introduction to the work of Just Abundance.  Everything else on this website, in the essays and on the blog are all in aid of increasing our understanding that the sovereign issues the currency to create the conditions in which the people live and that only when we the people are issuing the money for what we agree would be good will we the people be the true sovereign and create the society that benefits everyone!

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