Money

Happiness

I have hated money all my life. And I’ve shown it no respect at all. Not that this attitude has done me any favours. I declared personally bankrupt in 2000 after attempting to live as a professional punter and struggled from thereon until my precious mother died and left me a decent inheritance. It’s nothing I’m proud of, rather ashamed. I have always been an idealist, a dreamer, and I tried to escape a reality I couldn’t respect. I remember a lady once asking me if I thought money was “evil”. I said “yes”. She didn’t hang around for any explanation, but I’d like to express here why I think that way.

All wrongdoing can be traced to an excessive attachment to material wealth. This saying comes from the writings of the Apostle Paul. It is sometimes shortened to “Money is the root of all evil.” And it’s worth thinking about. Inequality, hunger, starvation, war, crime, corruption, environmental destruction and stress in general, all have money as their base. Like religion, it is divisive rather than cohesive. It has become something that pits us against each other in competition rather than co-operation. The general belief has become that our “status” in society can be expressed in terms of wealth. But it is not wealth that defines us, it is character. Money makes us insulated and distrustful. Money contributes to a lack of empathy, a sense of exclusion, and poor health outcomes. It encourages greed and the exploitation by our well-off of our most disadvantaged such that we now have the situation where the rich are getting richer and the poor bare left behind to struggle against a system that regards them as a burden.

Money, or the inequity associated with it, also has a detrimental affect on the health of our society. So many doctors, specialists and phjarmacists have told me that a great proportion of people go without the care and medication they need beccause they simply can't afford it. Imagine someone living on Newstart having to find money to support their health. To me, it's immopral.

A recent Oxfam report noted that just eight billionaires have as much net worth as "half the human race". The wealthiest 1% of the world own the half. And this has only increased during COVID. If you think that’s sustainable you are wrong. The poor will eventually gather the political resources to rise up and a bottom-up revolution is inevitable.

Money, or the inequality associated with it, also has as detrimental effect on the health of our society. So many doctorrs, specialists and chemists have told me that there are so many people who go without the care or medication they need because they can't afford it. To me, this is immoral.

My aversion to money, and my idealism, also contributed to a poor “career”, which mainly consisted of just a whole lot of jobs, none of which I really enjoyed. My parents tried to ram home the idea that work was exhilarating and mentally rewarding – something to live for. Well, my first full-time job was working for the Department of Army i9n Sydney as a clerk, and it was such a disappointment. All my fellow clerks hated the place and the work, and many of them would spend most of the day just pretending to be productive. It was debilitating. And, of course, surveys have always shown that given the option of working or not, the vast majority of workers choose the latter. I have always wondered if humanity could have come up with an alternative. To spend so much of our lives not doing what we want doesn’t make sense given that life is so fleeting. And why is it generally a five day working week? And, increasingly, for so many it has become a six-day week. Iceland have just proven that productivity actually incrteases if you mandate a four-day working week. I propose that we in Australia introduce a three day experiment. It would certainly be a vote winner.

My daughter, Kate, has often asked me to articulate alternatives, and I have to admit that I don’t have any. But surely, I say, there are highly intelligent thinkers who can. It has been proffered that mutual credit is a form of alternative currency, and thus any form of lending that does not go through the banking system can be considered a form of alternative currency. Barters are another type of alternative currency. But it is difficult to see how this would work in the real world. I see, as a general concept, a world without money where the entire industries of banking and finance will become redundant. The jobs that will remain, and will be reinforced, would be ones that hold social utility the things that are necessary for survival and that make life worth living.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. The answers lay with those dreamers much smarter than I. Just wanted to give you something to think about.

Geoff Mooney