Third world poverty, the banking system, multinational companies, Wall Street, the Occupy Movement, power, debt, capitalism, and environmental destruction, etc. are all interrelated, complex and stem from how human beings and societies interact with money. Sometimes it all seems so hopeless. Or is there a way forward where money is less about disconnecting and being selfish and more about helping others for the benefit of society?
I was introduced to the writing of Charles Eisenstein by some people I met who were protesting in the Occupy movement a year ago. I was intrigued and read his essays on money and found them absolutely fascinating.
Here’s an exerpt:
An irremediable structural flaw lies at the base of our civilization. I call it Separation, and it has generated all the converging crises — economic, health, ecological, and political — of our day. It manifests as separation from each other in the dissolution of community, separation from nature in the destruction of the environment, separation within our selves in the deterioration of health. Science is its deep ideology, technology is its accomplice, and money is its agent.
Money as we know it today is intimately related to our identity as discrete and separate selves, as well as to the destruction that our separation has wrought. A saying goes, “Money is the root of all evil.” But why should it be? After all, the purpose of money is, at its most basic, simply to facilitate exchange; in other words, to connect human gifts with human needs. What power, what monstrous perversion, has turned money into the opposite: an agent of scarcity?
For indeed, we live in a world of fundamental abundance, a world where vast quantities of food, energy, and materials go to waste. Half the world starves while the other half wastes enough to feed the first half. In the Third World and our own ghettos, people lack food, shelter, and other basic necessities, but cannot afford to buy them. Other people would love to supply these necessities and do other meaningful work, but cannot because there is no money in it.