Frequently Asked Questions
So long as there are these magic tokens that people can use to acquire whatever they want if they have enough of them, there will always be incentives to engage in antisocial behaviours to get hold of more of them.
Behaviours such as theft and fraud, corruption and bribery, concealment and cover-ups, hoarding and greed. None of these exist without money.
Consider the game of Monopoly. Whilst obviously an oversimplification, it demonstrates very clearly that in a game where players compete with each other for wealth, one person always ends up with all of the money and all of the property.
It is inevitable.
Our monetary system is no different. Widespread poverty contrasted with tiny concentrations of obscene wealth is the inevitable outcome.
Money is also a very poor metric for expressing value. It can tell you how much the wood from a forest is worth today, but is hopelessly incapable of expressing the long term costs of the dead forest. This creates overwhelming incentives to extract and destroy rather than to conserve and protect.
Last point to make here is that money makes us ask the wrong kinds of questions. Few would argue that alleviating hunger, poverty and homelessness would be good for everyone and not just the poor, the hungry and the homeless. Could we do it? Sure – the manpower, technology and resources absolutely exist to do so. So why don’t we? Because it is too expensive. No short term monetary profit.
The only important questions are “can we do it?” and “should we do it?” The question “can we afford it?” should be a meaningless one, and yet in a monetary system it is the only one that really matters.
In short, money is a very blunt tool. We need to devise better ones.
In very simple terms, our money/market economy works by extracting resources from the Earth and labour from the people, adding “value” in the form of profit and then spewing out externalities such as pollution and poverty at the other end.
Overriding principle = Make Money/Extract profit
This is an example of an “open loop” economy and the impact on the “Commons” is disastrous. On the one hand unsustainable extraction of resources depletes the Commons while at the same time, on the other side, externalities are dumped into the Commons that debase it.
This, in a nutshell, is the “Tragedy of the Commons” we are experiencing as a direct consequence of our systems of money and markets. There is lots of money to be made by externalising costs to the Commons and it is standard practice for many, if not most, businesses to do so.
Commons is not just air, water and soil, It is also the trust, the creativity, the labour and the goodwill of the people. Pollution debases the natural environment while poverty, inequality and injustice debase the society.
RBE recognises that in order for humanity to thrive, the natural world must also thrive. That for humanity as a whole to thrive, each and every individual must have the opportunity to thrive.
The first truth that RBE acknowledges is that resources are finite. Therefore, careful management and stewardship of them is crucial to the long term viability of a society. All resources are really just on loan from the Commons and so the preservation, nurturing and when necessary rejuvenation of the Commons is the guiding principle at the heart of RBE.
A more detailed explanation of the principles of RBE can be found here
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were just evil people committing evil deeds
and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy
But gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good from evil passes
not through states, nor between classes nor between political parties either…. but
right through every human heart” – Alexandr Solzhenitzyn
It is not enough to advocate that people of high moral character be elected into office; this
would do little to advance civilization. Every single one of us is susceptible to bias,
deception, corruption, emotional hijacking, social pressure. This is why the whole concept
of a single, central ruling authority can never work:
Power corrupts and money buys power.
Every regulatory body eventually gets captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate.
Every piece of information gets distorted by those seeking advantage over others.
And the people who are able to exert these influences are those with money, exerting
influence to create the conditions in which they can make even more money and thus exert
even more influence, and so on.
Even with the election of men and women of impeccable character into government, the
ability of money to exert influence will ensure that war, poverty, and corruption will prevail
no matter how many new laws are passed or treaties signed.
This is a very big question and a difficult one to answer in a few sentences, but broadly speaking
we would like to usher in a society in which Government is replaced by Governance and
Stewardship and where the Criminal Justice and Legal systems are replaced by a Conflict
See the Law & Crime section on our POLICIES PAGE for more on this.
Where a Government would pass a law to make a particular behaviour a crime, good Governance
would simply remove the incentives that drive that unwanted behaviour. If we don’t want cars on
roads to ever exceed 70MPH then why make laws about it? Speed limits, fines, cameras, police
patrols… – all completely unnecessary – just make cars that are speed limited.
In RBE, social responsibility would not be a function of artificial laws or force. Where people come
into conflict, as they most certainly will, mechanisms of effective and constructive resolution are
infinitely preferable to merely dispensing punishment.
See the Social Therapy Section for more on this.
The Money Free Party is about personal autonomy and distributed governance. So the answer to the question is kind of you . . . . . and me . . . . and no one and everyone. We believe that we are more than capable of working things out together cooperatively for the benefit of all once we evolve beyond the coercive and competitive relationships that characterise our current systems.
This is an understandable question considering that our current frame of reference is individuals being in positions of authority to make certain decisions for groups of people. So as a result, we assume that decisions have to be made by “someone else”, and the resultant political debate centres around who.
This approach to group decision making is archaic, unfit for purpose and can be bought off through the legal bribery industry known as lobbying. A better approach doesn’t ask the question of “who makes the decisions?” but instead asks “how do we arrive at decisions?”
The answer of who makes the decisions in an RBE is paradoxical. It is both no-one, and everyone at the same time. Instead of a parliament, or congress, or any small group of people making decision, the entire population has access and a voice. This means that ideas, problems, questions, etc. are tackled collaboratively, and through honest and open exchange, we apply sound process to arrive at the right decisions.
More detail on this in the Introduction, Law & Crime, Transport and Social Therapy sections of the POLICIES PAGE
One of the lessons of the Covid lockdowns has been that many of the “essential” jobs are also among those with the lowest pay and social status. Farmers, truck drivers, nurses, warehouse workers, cleaners…. these were the people that worked on through lockdown.
There’s a couple of parts to this. Firstly, as many as 80% of the jobs eople do are what David Graeber calls “bullshit”, jobs; jobs that don’t actually need to be done at all and exist for the sole purpose of distributing money to people so that they can perform their primary social function, that of “consumer”. Once we realise this, there are suddenly a whole bunch more people to distribute the remaining tasks between, so everyone does less.
Secondly, most of these “crappy” jobs are readily automated anyway. By fully harnessing the potential of technology and automation there would be little need for anyone to do boring, repetitive work. This would free up yet more capacity to do whatever mundane tasks remain.
The only reason this hasn’t already been done is the monetary system – we have to keep feeding people money for their labour so that they can spend it back into the system of cyclical consumption to keep the whole thing going.
In a society full of people who are having their needs met by the systems that now serve them, do we REALLY think it would be so hard to find volunteers to do these few remaining essential things?
At an individual level, we need to educate ourselves and each other. The structural flaws, perverse
incentives and the ability to bring out the worst in us that the money/market system embodies, as
well as the many alternative ideas that exist.
You can begin on the ABOUT PAGE and the TIME IS NOW pages of this website and there is an ever expanding library of material in the Further Information Area
At a community level, we propose the creation of access and sharing centres, co-operatives,
distributed governance and conflict resolution structures, community farms and even energy
generation systems. Local support for local producers and businesses.
You can find out more on the POLICIES PAGE.
Self-reliance at a local level builds societal resilience at all levels and the gradual move away from
isolated, individual ownership towards distributed ownership, sharing and the community-building
that ensues is right at the heart of RBE.
RBE is NOT a Utopian concept.
The survival of any social system ultimately depends upon its ability to allow for appropriate,
positive change. Utopia, being perfect, does not allow for positive change – any change must, by
definition, be a negative one.
Therefore, we do not believe in the erroneous notion of a Utopian society. There is no such thing.
Societies are always in a state of transition. What we are proposing is an alternative direction,
which addresses the root causes of many of our current problems.
But we should always remember that there are no final frontiers, no such thing as the perfect
society, that nothing is permanent and that improvements are always possible
A wise man once said that it is human nature not to be overly constrained by its nature. We are unbelievably flexible and adaptable and our behaviours are in very large part learned and reinforced by what we see around us, our environment and circumstances.
Any given individual is capable of being both greedy AND generous, kind AND cruel, thoughtful AND selfish. If greedy and selfish behaviours are rewarded and incentivised by the environment in which we live, then it is no surprise that these behaviours become the norm.
In short, it is human nature to develop strategies and behaviours best suited to the environment in which we find ourselves. Change the landscape and “human nature” changes right along with it.
There are many, many studies which show very clearly that financial inducements are only effective at incentivising people to do dull, repetitive work. For creative or collaborative endeavours it has the opposite effect. Money actually diminishes the quality of creative output. Furthermore, when doing a job just for the money, the tendency is to do just enough work to just a high enough standard to get the paycheck and not get fired.
Money is an EXTRINSIC motivator. The things we do simply because we like to do them we do for reasons of INTRINSIC motivation. Intrinsic motivators are far more powerful and enduring and lead to much better quality work being done.
Minimising the amount of dull labour that needs to be performed by humans through the use of automation and distributing the remainder, the need for extrinsic motivators would disappear.
In a moneyless society we are no longer competing with each other to amass magic tokens and have access to the things we need. As such, the incentives that drive the overwhelming majority of the criminal and antisocial behaviours we see today would be gone. Crimes of acquisition, corruption and deception all but disappear right along with them.
That’s not to say that people won’t still lose their tempers and get violent, or that things like sexual assaults or crimes of passion will disappear, but as the general background levels of stress and dissatisfaction reduce it is not unreasonable to suppose that even these types of crime would reduce too.
Where conflicts still arise or wrongs are done by one person to another we advocate the use of methodologies such as Restorative Justice and Non Violent Communication in the context of community based arbitration. These aim at understanding and mutually satisfactory resolution rather than assignment of blame and meting out of punishment. We believe this is a far more constructive approach that has the potential to enrich rather than diminish the society.
More on this in the Law & Crime section of the POLICIES PAGE.
No, everybody doesn’t get to have a Ferrari, this is just not possible and there are constraints that simply are what they are and must be accepted. Abundance is simply not achievable in some domains. That said, one of the most important concepts in RBE is that of private sufficiency, public luxury.
So, rather than a tiny few very rich people getting to own Ferraris and drive them about to show the world how rich they are, nobody owns a Ferrari but everyone can, if they wish to, get access to one and take it for a spin.
This is actually much better when you think about it. Those people who have a genuine passion for cars get to tinker with and play with and drive them, not because they are rich but because they love it. Let’s face it – most people who have flash cars are not really enthusiasts. They have them as status symbols.
By letting the people who actually know about and care about things take charge of organising societal access to them, equitable solutions to these kinds of problems should be found without too much difficulty.
Karl Marx contributed much to understanding the limitations of free market capitalism and the principle tenet of “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” is an admirable one with which few would disagree.
However, The Communist Manifesto called for forcible overthrow and revolution by the working class (proletariat). We do not advocate this divisive approach to social change. Rather, we prefer to see social change as a process of guided evolution.
It is also important to understand that any “-ism” is an ideology, and ideologies are top-down, centrally controlled mechanisms of organisation which always require the use of coercion and/or exploitation to function.
Resource Based Economics (RBE), by starting from the principles of common ownership of all resources, long-term sustainability and distributed governance, is unlike anything that has come before.