August 27, 2011

Time Dollars vs. Command Money (2 of 2)


This continues my description (part one here) of the ills of command money, how relocalization and time dollars (T$) can solve these problems and replace them with a humanly beneficial order, and how T$ can help foster relocalization itself.
4. Money is “egalitarian”, and not in a good way (though corporate liberals and conservatives often try to confound money’s freedom and human freedom, when the two are practically antitheses). This false egalitarianism of elites is summed up with the phrase, “one dollar, one vote”, and this is the election which acts so ruthlessly to diminish the quality of our lives every day. Cahn uses the example of how children have to compete with money-making for their parents’ attention, and lose. This negative egalitarianism manifests everywhere in every kind of race to the bottom. The chasing after money undermines family, community, democracy, as we simply lack time for them (at best), and at worst have our characters corroded by it as well, like with any other harmful addiction.
Money is also inherently anti-labor, since it necessarily privileges capital over labor. Everywhere it seeks its own aggrandizement. Financialization was not some exotic invention, but is inherent in the logic of money itself.
Perhaps nothing is more insulting to human dignity than the forms of freedom without the reality, rendering the forms a mockery. Unless we have equality and freedom in active reality, they don’t exist. C-P and T$ are truly egalitarian in reality. Even in their reformist manifestation they declare capital and labor to be equal. In principle they declare all hours of work to be equal, and reject the measure of the unequal dollars those hours can or cannot extract from the market. 
In their full practice, they’ll not only reject the marketplace but supersede it, and “co”-production shall become just plain production on a fully democratic basis.
We don’t need command money. T$ would make for a far more productive labor force, as there would no longer be ratholes, rents, parasite extractions. T$ would empower the democratic elitism of decency over the crackpot egalitarianism of money.
By stripping money of its power T$ also subvert globalism and assist relocalization.
5. The real goal of the “invisible hand” (really the easily visible hand of the corporatist command economy) of price is to generate scarcity out of plenty in order to extract extortionate rents from this scarcity. Price seeks to extend this artificial scarcity to everything it can. Food, water, clean air, shelter, farmland, education, even human values like community involvement and helping others – all have been corporatized or are targets for this corporatization.
Cahn repeats the lie, “Price brings supply into line with demand”. What really happens is that coercive power controls supply to manipulate price. (And “demand” is defined as merely being able and willing to pay the extortionate price.)
We don’t need or want pricing which emphasizes artificial scarcity. Our emphasis must be on abundance. With T$, value is measured by real benefit. T$ attack and subvert rationing by price (i.e. by money wealth). All hours are equal. Our compensation includes building a community which shall bring the greatest prosperity to all and the enrichment of our humanity.
6. Money is often called “efficient”, but it’s really efficient only from the point of view of criminal extraction. The price mechanism systematically omits negative externalities, the cost of a massively bloated support system which does nothing but uphold the system, all the costs of civil destruction and inequality. At the same time money price elides the accounting for these, it also systemically aggravates them.
This “efficiency” is inefficient in any true sense. It, like all other normative claims made for money, is “good” only from the criminal class war perspective. But we the people would be better off without money’s version of efficiency.
We want and need efficiency according to the true goods of freedom, equality, justice, friendship, family, community, democracy. What’s efficient toward maximizing these is truly efficient in every sense, since the society which values these will be the most productive society in every practical sense as well.
T$ are truly efficient in upholding these human values, as well as toward the more strict types of efficiency such as resiliency, robustness, system redundancy, self-sufficiency of nodes and decentralization amid those nodes. Relocalization = real efficiency, and T$ shall help render all things more humanly efficient.
7. The fact that money’s main action is to make more money is the driver of the finance tyranny. Thanks to command money, 80-90% of transactions have no actual value, but are purely financial. Every one of these financialized transactions is, however, a theft from human beings who produce real value. Money, and the parasites who manipulate it, is cancer.
We don’t need this worthless and destructive thing. Would anyone claim we need cancer? Or want it? We’d be better off without it.
We must value only real work. T$ will purge all the “secondary modes of exploitation” (Marx), which are the main ones we face today. They’ll allow no interest, no usury, no commodification rents, and can be used only for constructive purposes. They’re inflation and deflation proof. An hour remains always an hour, and anyone able and willing to work always has time to give. Recessions and depressions would be impossible with T$, since no artificial money barriers would stand between the workers and the work. All anyone would need to do is fill the time with work, and the work would be done.
Relocalization will of necessity value real work over parasitism and theft, since the true economy will be based upon this work and depend on it. Since T$ naturally drive toward this effect, T$ and relocalization shall act in mutually enhancing tandem.
8. The government, legal system, bureaucratic and professional structures, etc. have a pro-profiteering bias. Therefore the contractual enforceability touted for command money is also biased against the people.
Even prior to the full development of kleptocracy, the system generally had a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose functioning wherever corporations and concentrated money went up against individuals, small groups, or the public interest.
We don’t need this kind of “law” and “contract” which is applicable only to an anti-human (and Oil Age) system. It’s anachronistic and predatory. We’ll be better off without it.
C-P and T$ shall work toward rebuilding a community network of mutual obligation where your word is your bond, and what goes around truly does come around, for good or ill. T$ themselves are no legal contract. They constitute a moral obligation in an environment where morality and one’s word matter. This is an environment radically different from that of the system, where nothing but money matters, and one can violate every precept of morality and break one’s word at risk of nothing more than a nominal money penalty (and often not even that).
If you want a human community, which would you rather rely on, top-down law or bottom-up community morality? In a human community, community-enforced obligations are part of the social bonding. “Debt” itself exists as a social bond, not as the class war meat-grinder it’s become.
Relocalization must emphasize social obligation and morality over formalized law, as the former are the glue of community, while the latter necessarily tends toward bigger, artificial, synthetic groupings, and seeks to dissolve community mores themselves.
We need to dissolve system structures and replace them with new mores.
9. Where money is the measure of value, the real economy is enslaved by a fake one of dollars, stocks, financial “products”, useless wealth hoards, parasitic and predatory power.
This measure of “value” doesn’t measure value. We don’t need it. We’re better off without it.
Only real assets have value. To distill it further, only people have value. The Kantian morality, that people must always be only ends in themselves, never means toward an end, is mutually exclusive with money, under which people can never be anything but means.
(And yet, as Cahn says, “money would have no meaning in a world denuded of people”. So what does it mean that people, i.e. their labor, their community, their very humanity, are being liquidated? We see how this subhuman force cannibalizes itself.)
Where we organize our economies according to cooperation and social credit, it becomes impossible for nonexistent or worthless and destructive things to be valued. T$ will organize the true economy on a true value basis.
Under money, “work” is defined as having a paying job. This work is subject to the most viciously imposed scarcity of all. The result is tremendous suffering, pain, stress, unhappiness, waste, inefficiency, lost productivity, neglect, destruction, nihilism.
With T$, all are workers at will, all are employed, all have jobs, all contribute equally and benefit equally. The result shall be the greatest good for all working people and all democratic citizens.
We’ll revitalize our families, friendships, communities, societies, democracies. Productive, fulfilling work and citizenship shall be the true centers of our human being, and all human values and institutions shall fruitfully ramify from them.
Co-production and time banking shall be tools of our progress toward this great democratic goal. They’ll negatively help us break free of the pathologies of command money, and affirmatively help us build new networks of mutual obligation and benefit. This is part of the practice, how we’ll actually do all this.


  1. Excellent. Congratulations on 501 posts.

    Comment by Ross — August 27, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    • Thanks, Ross.

      Comment by Russ — August 27, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  2. Russ,

    Much will the tales of your deeds be told around the campfire of my people. Trying to explain these honest interpretations to indoctrinated folk (who also happen to be friends and family) has become tantamount to repeatedly ramming thine head into a brick wall. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve tried the “letting them down easy” approach which seems to have no better effect than standard, sorry to offend your intuition type language, which mostly demonstrates a half-hearted commitment. It doesn’t seem to matter how much evidence you present to the court, the jury has been permanently tainted, and cognitive dissonance rules the day. How to bust people out of the mental prison camps seems to be the battle at hand. The disturbing part is that you know they are good people but somehow have been completely blind-folded. Most people round’ here get it…. how to break the news to the others is the trick. Or perhaps they just need 2 or 3 more bailouts for the creditor class to slap them in their faces, but that seems like a grim form of education considering the implications.

    Comment by Pete — August 27, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    • I’m not sure what the answer is, Pete. I don’t bother trying to talk about it with willfully closed minds. There’s much better uses of one’s energy.

      If you have the stamina for it, then I guess you just keep telling the truth wherever it’s called for.

      But I think in many cases the hard truth Jesus spoke, about how he was going to separate families, is the truth of the situation. I know I feel that my people are by definition those who care about these things, regardless of the accidents of biological relationships. But that’s me and my temperament. Others are bound to feel differently.

      One thing’s for sure – the evidence for all such things is way beyond the point where it would have convinced anyone who cared about evidence and was capable of being rationally convinced. By now, when people change their minds it’s basically accidental, capricious. For example, almost every day I see someone say that Obama’s latest “did it for me”, and I can only shake my head while saying to myself, that’s what did it, after all his much bigger crimes for all this time?

      Looking at it from that point of view, since you’re dealing with willfully ignorant and irrational people, you’d probably drive them further into cognitive dissonance by being an assertive gadfly. Best is probably to make sparing mention on your own, but otherwise don’t say much more than an offer to answer questions anyone has any time they have them.

      Comment by Russ — August 28, 2011 @ 2:11 am

      • My suggestion is that you pick a specific topic like Peak Oil and work from there. A seemingly mainstream documentary (thinking Blind Spot instead of Michael Ruppert’s Collapse). Or food, recommend Food Inc. or Omnivore’s Dilemma. None of these are perfect but if you are trying to pry open a mind then it’s best to come at them using media that is “socially acceptable” and “culturally approved” and won’t cause them to actively shield from the message.

        I have been hammering my parents for about 8 years. No fucking joke. They just agreed this weekend to let me design a real garden space in their new (downsized) house. They see that things I have told them WILL happen, are happening. It is a real process to change minds. Sometimes we forget how much energy is invested and diverted towards subscribing to the status quo. The good news is that the energy is fungible and you can modify its direction.

        Comment by Ross — August 28, 2011 @ 8:41 am

      • That’s a good idea. Heck, even my parents might be momentarily interested in a food movie (not a Peak Oil or finance tyranny one).

        I haven’t seen “Food Inc”, but I know “Fresh” is good.


        Comment by Russ — August 28, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  3. Right, thanks. A quick vent. Back to the work bench. Keep the good stuff coming.

    Comment by Pete — August 28, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  4. Is there software for tracking a system like this?

    Comment by Ellen Anderson — September 16, 2011 @ 10:03 am

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