The World and Money

28 May

What happened if money just disappeared? I don’t mean what if everybody was suddenly poor, but I mean what if money all of a sudden lost every importance it had originally. How would we manage? What would change?

Hypothetical situation. Let’s say a benevolent researcher develops an invention that is able to deconstitute inorganic mass and turn it into something else. It basically collects all of the independent molecules, tears them apart, and puts them together again into something new. Not only that, but because of this, they can be made cheaply and distributed to everyone across the world. All of a sudden, we can go back to all those garbage dumps and raze them to the ground. Slums, old and broken highways, decrepit buildings, everything destroyed and replaced in a matter of moments. Ignoring for the fact the science behind such an invention, what would happen to the world?

Commercial Value:

So much business is focused on the value of products and innovation. What happens if anything can be made from anything else? Paintings would become digital records and if you wanted to change the painting over your couch, it’s a few button presses and there you go. Buying a coffee is next to useless now, as you can zap a cup from your version of the Deconstitutor 2000. We could conceivably replace any old car with hybrids with a click of a button, and every environmental problem we’ve ever faced would be solved in an instant. Updates would be modifications to blueprints as opposed to buying a new unit, and every factory, publishing house, and manufacturer of any kind would be shut down. All of a sudden, commercialism grinds to a halt.


What would happen

to the jobs? Would we have to develop a communism-themed strategy of giving each person on the planet a certain allotment that matches what gets thrown out every year? Would rich people be permitted a greater allotment, or would it depend on deeds then? Would it depend on how kind or social a person you are? Services would still exist, naturally, but would our entire economy revolve around them or would it be a given duty, assuming you didn’t have to work to get that allotment?


Getting rid of the need for money gets rid of poverty altogether. How would the impoverished nations respond to this? How would they develop? There would be no third- or even second-world countries anymore, just different kinds of first-world nations. How would they be different? How would they be the same?

Intellectual Property:

Here’s the killer… it’s hard enough to enforce now with music, videos, and written works. What would happen if a blueprint for a device became public knowledge? Would the responsibility for creativity and invention pass from corporations employing intellectual individuals to the individuals themselves? Would we be placed knee deep in a quagmire of copyright law and ownership? What do these things gain us if there is no ‘value’ associated with the commercial products? What is the motivator?

If you look at all these points, it points to one thing. Everything would change. Emotion, motivation, lifestyle, world views, everything would fundamentally change from what it was. We’d have to figure out how to work with this new world and make it livable. Of course, this is all just conjecture, but it’s interesting to think how fundamentally our society hinges around simple pieces of paper and metal.


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