No system is perfect. Communism collapses because people like being in power and refuse to give it up for the finishing steps. Capitalism as we know it is about to collapse because people in power etc. etc., and we are genetically geared to want all the marbles and only share with our personal genes.
We seriously need a new system before it all falls over into barbarism, a new dark age, war, pestilence, dogs and cats living together and all that end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it malarkey.
We need a system that works with our primitive little my-marbles monkey brains, because no system that tries to ignore that is going to last for as long as we’d like it to (eg. “forever”).
Gene Rodenberry, bless his soul, envisioned a future in which, “there is no hunger, there is no greed, and all the children know how to read”. I admit, it’s a sweet dream. In a future where you can gather material things at the push of a button(or a verbal command at a replicator) for free, he reasoned, material wealth becomes worthless.
Um. Not quite. Sorry.
People like to have things. Sure, we could all own a replicated copy of the Mona Lisa (just for example) but the original is still inherently valuable because of the history and work behind it. An artist creates from themselves, taking time and making an effort to make something. Not because it earns them money. Fuck, no. They create - more or less - because they are inwardly compelled to.
I admit, Leonardo DaVinci is a bit of a bad example. Most of his surviving works were created because someone paid him to do it. Though his sketchbooks do kinda speak of a kind of OCD/ADD/ASD aspect, because the man left no blank space unoccupied and no idea undoodled.
Think about it, though. Everyone creates. Even if it’s little doodles on your notepad in that endless office meeting from Hell. Some people are doodlers, some people carve by chipping bits out of styrofoam cups - or styrofoam anything. We, as a species, like to do stuff with our hands.
Me, I’m a doodler and a scribbler. Look at any notebook from my scholastic term and the margins are full to the brim with little sketches. The backs of them are worse. Guaranteed. I got worse in University, where I was never without a palm-sized notebook and every spare minute I could glean, I was writing something.
Just look at all the things we would rather be doing. The things we occupy ourselves with in our spare time. Not the fantasy activities, where we run through varying simulations via a game screen. The things we do by and of ourselves.
Some people cook. Some love to clean (If you live in the area of Burpengary, send me a message, maybe we can make a deal…). Some doodle, some scribble, some do both. Some carve - and yes, I include whittling in the classification of “carving”. If you’re making something new by taking material away, you’re carving. Some “weld” by putting existing objects together in new ways.
Pretty much all of us have been trained to throw those idle creations out. Even if we keep them, if another notices, we’re all, “Aw, that’s nothing, just some junk” or sentiments similar. It’s not worth anything because nobody paid us to do it.
What if that became different?
What if, instead of a system based on debt (another topic for another time), we had a system based on time.
Think about it. Time is precious to us. We can feel our lives slipping away when we’re stuck in any variety of queue. We increase our fury as the time for our appointment grows increasingly into the past.
I, personally, will never set foot in a Telstra shop for the rest of my life because they made me wait twenty minutes to see a guy just to tell me the thing I wanted wasn’t in stock. And the half-dozen co-staffers chatting away in the break room only compounded their felony in my mind.
We talk about it as a commodity. I need some me time. Let’s share some face time. I want my (insert time period) back. It’s precious because it is a limited resource. Once we’ve spent it, we can’t reclaim it. We only have so much before it’s gone forever, and so forth.
What if time is currency? We’re paid for the time we spend on a work, and the work we create is worth that much Time.
Sweatshops would be obliterated, because suddenly, quality is worth more than quantity. Personally speaking, I’d love to spend some Time for a garment or five that suits me, fits, and won’t fall apart the instant I wash it or go to pick up a coin on the ground.
Obviously, the time you spend on study must be worth a bit. That’s an investment, definitely. In my pretend system in the Amalgam Universe [Those three stories I shared to date are all set in it] study time is repaid in Perks. The corporate entity paying you for your time offsets your value by supplying things like: food, shelter, furniture, gadgets, uniforms, etc., depending on your prior investments.
In my imaginary future, you pay a Second for the kick, but ten Minutes for the knowledge of where to kick it.
It’s a universe where people follow their talents and their passions, instead of reserving them for “one day, when I’m rich”. Where art and creativity flourish and learning is sought instead of forced.
And I think it would work. More would be done because people doing the work would want to do it. And they’d be happy in their work and, say, not slagging off to play Farmville whilst pretending to fill in a TPS Report.
Plus, pharmaceutical and medical companies would be interested in extending your life and curing your ills because your time is worth something. Hell, every life would be worth something, because of what the person living it can do.
Artists would be paid in micro-transactions. Time spent appreciating the work. Perhaps also in Time inspiring someone. And they could possibly afford to sponsor companies that make the things they need/like/etc.
And nobody would have to do without.
Sure, it’s a system that automatically prevents acquisition of all the marbles, but isn’t infinite marble acquisition what’s going wrong with the system we have now?