What is money and what makes it valuable?
The usual definitions of money are the economist’s:
- A means of exchange
- A measure of value and
- A store of value
While it is beyond doubt that money can be recognised in these things I prefer to give it a wider definition which explains both the ingenuity of its invention and also the mechanics of how it actually works.
Namely, money is:
- An empty medium, for example paper, metal or “thin air” on to which one projects an idea and through which this idea becomes concretised. Thus, through projecting “means of exchange”, “measure of value” and “store of value” on to this medium, money becomes these things. But it can be, and is, used as a medium for many other things and therein lies its value.
The particular role I have focussed on is its use as a tool for individual and collective evolution using a specific methodology referring back to this definition, a methodology that helps people advance their consciousness and moves them in the direction of realising their deepest aspirations. The application of this methodology is down to earth and practical - even if it's description here in writing sounds somewhat abstract.
Is money the key to happiness?
No, money is not the key to happiness. Indeed one might go further to say that the belief that “money is the key to happiness” is a good recipe for frustration and unhappiness. This is not to deny the thrill of a pay raise or a win on the pools. But the thrill is something that passes and is not to be compared with the deep and longlasting state of satisfaction that we refer to when we talk of happiness.
At the same time there is no reason why one should not be happy with money. You haven’t asked this, but how do we create happiness in dealing with (our) money? I’d like to suggest that if we’re successful in seeing that energy flows into our values when we give to or receive money from another person or organization, then we’ll be happy. This sounds simple but is something like an art form which requires practice..
Could we design a society without money?
Yes we could. Looking backwards one can see that for most of evolutionary history there was no money. It is an extremely young invention. And looking forwards into the evolutionary future there may come a time when we shall also consider it redundant. Looking at the present as well, most of the economic exchanges in life, i.e. where economic goods and services pass between people, happen without money. (For example housewife’s, or more commonly today houseman’s, work). The monetary part of the economy, that which we decide to measure and count, is only the tiny tip of the economic exchange iceberg.
"But would we be better off without money" is maybe a question beneath your question? Money’s redundancy only has relevance in a world where it no longer makes sense and we no longer have a desire to own, earn, measure or count. This though seems to be quite a long way off into the future. In the meantime we can give our attention to what is certainly a necessary preliminary to this state and a doable step, creating a happier society with money!