Money is not the goal

Money Stuff

Money is coins and notes. They only exist because we all believe they have value. We all believe that other people will accept coins and notes in exchange for other things that we think have benefits, and this is what makes money important to us. If money can’t fulfil its functions, it’s no longer valuable. During the pandemic, where every shop refused to accept your cash, money became worthless.

This is not the first time in history that money has had little to no value. In the Weimar Republic, out of control inflation (rising prices) lead to historic photos like this:

Image of children cutting money for crafts in the Weimar Republic taken from here.

The pandemic won’t be the last time money has no value, according to Crypto/DeFi communities.

Especially because most of what we think of as money is actually credit. The ‘money’ in your bank account is credit - it’s a promise from the bank that, if you go to an ATM to withdraw everything you have, they will give you 100% of your money in the form of notes and coins. When you buy something with your card, you are transferring your promises to someone else.

Our economy depends on everyone continuing to make these credit promises to each other.

Often people with high net worth's have significant amounts of their ‘money’ in financial assets. Financial assets are promises that rely on the underlying promises between banks and people and companies and the government. Promises on promises, or meta-promises.

If this is all feeling rather abstract, that’s the point. Money is abstract. It’s a social construct. It’s value depends on the collective intentions of society - of you and I, our friends and family, and the world at large. It’s important, yes, because we’ve designed it this way. And it’s only important insofar as we can derive benefit from it. Sometimes it’s worthless, like during the pandemic. Most of the time it has value, in the form of benefits (measured in money).

We get to choose what the value of money is. We get to choose what benefits are considered worthwhile. We get to determine how much money we need, and how we spend it, and how much we give away.

These things - the bigger picture which speaks to what it means to live a good life, that's the goal.