The Anonymity of Money
"For money expresses all qualitative differences of things in terms of 'how much?' Money, with all its colorlessness and indifference, becomes the common denominator of all values; irreparably it hollows out the core of things, their individuality, their specific value, and their incomparability." Georg Simmel
Having a lot of money may indicate that someone is
worthy of respect for having rendered a great service to
However, it may also indicate precisely the opposite.
For example, it may be a result of anti-social activity
such as rent-seeking or arms dealing.
A major problem with the current
money system is that it
provides no way of knowing.
Money has no inherent auditing. This anonymity has been compounded by legislation
that permits vast amounts to move around the world without restriction,
making the laundering and tracing of money into 'profitable' activities in themselves.
In most countries, money was a tool of individuals only a few generations ago.
It existed as material objects that formed part of a much richer social
interplay between people who knew and cared for one another personally.
These days, most money exists as digital data.
It has become an anonymous tool for coordination of large organisations,
whose self-serving relationships are
solely economic and uncaring.
technology has spawned huge and complex multi-national organisations, whose
coherent coordination requires a tremendous amounts of information.
The money system, however, still presents its end users with a singular paucity of information.
If you buy a product from a multi-national, all you know about it is the
price you have to pay.
You have no idea how much of that price goes to those who made it,
what their working conditions were like or how much of the
environment was consumed to produce it.
This information gap is exploited by firms who ruthlessly pursue low prices,
in the process treating both people and planet with utter contempt.
We are developing a more humane, less faceless system of accounting -
one that connects people with directly the consequences of their actions.
Altruistic Economics never abstracts value from the
transactions that go on to create it.
It allows everyone to register their feelings about interactions that concern them.
Your contribution to the altruistic economy is measured by voluntary statements
from people or groups who have been affected by your actions.
Individuals weave a tapestry of interconnections between one another, expressing their
feelings about what is goes on to create a
network of care. Personal relationships are all important,
so the result is that those who are genuinely out to help others will establish a good name,
while those with a Machiavellian attitude will effectively exclude themselves.